While it’s true that our perceptions create our reality, we need to look a bit deeper. There can be many things that help mold and shape an individual person’s perception. I’d like to use our recent rain storm to help demonstrate how this happens.
For many of us here in Santa Barbara, yesterday’s rain was a wonderful blessing. Our reality was that it was a great day! When I looked out my front door yesterday morning, I was filled with happiness. We have been having such a terrible drought, and have been waiting so long for the sights and sounds of a “good” rain.
Many people, though, weren’t necessarily so happy to see the rain! There might have been a lot of different reasons for this.
Here are just a few:
- Emotional Issues — For people who are dealing with heavy depression, a rainy day can create an increase in their dark, gloomy mood. I had a client tell me yesterday that the rain just added to her sadness, and she couldn’t wait until it stopped. For others who tend toward anxiety, there could be all kinds of possible problems brought on by the rain, which would probably weigh heavily on their minds.
- Environmental Needs — Can you imagine what it’s like for anyone who is homeless? When you don’t have a warm and cozy haven to go to, it can create a lot of negative thoughts and emotions, not to mention physical discomfort. Or what about the people who live in landslide areas, or have loved ones who do?
- Jobs — For those who work outside, their day becomes much harder when they’re dealing with pouring down rain, strong winds, and thunder and lightning. For some, their work day becomes much longer, and can even expose them to dangers.
- Transportation — What about the people who need to get from Point A to Point B, and the roads are flooded, or flights are canceled? What about the missed appointments, the loved ones who can’t come together, the work days missed?
- In addition to our current life situations, all of our past experiences also come into play. What if bad weather has at one time caused someone to suffer serious property damage, or be injured, or lose a loved one? Past traumas can create conscious, or even unconscious, reactions to current events.
- What I’m hoping to help you see with these examples, is that there are many reasons that our perceptions can vary drastically. If we remember that, we can hopefully be more understanding, patient, and compassionate when others’ realities don’t match our own. I’m also hoping that if you’re struggling with something and tending toward negative self-judgement, you might gain new insights leading to increased self-compassion. It can be the beginning of a new, gentler, kinder world for you, and those around you.
Until next time,