The Funhouse Mirror
If you’ve ever been to the fair, you’ve probably seen a funhouse mirror. You know the ones; they fully distort your image. Your face and arms look much longer than they are, your eyes are huge and your legs are super short.
Imagine your own perceptions as being viewed through the image of a funhouse mirror. From time to time, someone may say or do something, and then we create a perception or interpretation of what they meant. We may even create our own erroneous interpretation or perception of what they’ve said because of our own projections and prejudices. This can happen almost instantaneously without our awareness of it.
Recently, I was in a conversation with someone who was absolutely certain of his perceptions about something in my life. Instead of listening and allowing him room to express his views, as incorrect as I thought they were, I was triggered to defend myself. In an instant, what was supposed to be a lovely visit together, turned into me being hooked and agitated by what was said.
I wasn’t able to see that what he was saying was really just his perception of something about me and that it might not be true or relevant to me per se.
This works both ways, right?
When this happens, we need to step away from the funhouse mirror to be able to receive reality as it is.
If something is said or done that triggers us, it’s best to remain still. Don’t say anything. Just breathe in and out until you feel yourself calming. Then maybe ask your friend to repeat what they have said. If I had done this in that very moment of agitation, it would have certainly prevented a lot of the damage that followed.
Stillness is the foundation of understanding and insight.
This week, practice noticing those moments when perhaps one of your beliefs or perceptions is being challenged or triggered by an event or a conversation.
See if you can catch yourself in that instant between what is said or done and your reaction to what is said or done. In that moment, breathe in and out, insert a pause into that split second. Allow your body to come back to a level of stillness.
It is in this moment when we may notice a very subtle shift from reaction to response. It’s a subtle but very profound difference.
Not everything we perceive is actually reality. It’s like the Funhouse Mirror at the fair, a little distorted and off-center. Can we take a few moments over this week to see if we can recognize when we are operating from our own perceptions and limiting beliefs?
Stop, breathe and question your perceptions.
Train yourself to “insert the pause” in between action and reaction. Doing so may make the difference in many of your relationships.
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