Ever feel misunderstood? Or, that ______(insert a friend or family member name here) just doesn’t understand why or how upset you are? Or, that no one could possibly feel as hurt as you feel?
You’ve heard that saying that perception is in the eye of the beholder. It’s so true. We all perceive things differently. Though, the phrase doesn’t say that the perception is 100% accurate. Everyone sees and interprets life through special lens unique to that person.
I’ve certainly looked back on circumstances or situations and realized my interpretation, at the time, was misguided. Sometimes that misconception comes from just being a kid; however, other times it’s because of the hurt filled lens that I was using to see through. I had several circumstances that colored my lens:
- Daddy issues – My dad was in and out of my life growing up. I didn’t realize it at the time, but he suffered from his own trauma and PTSD from serving as a Marine in Vietnam. I add the information about him respectfully, but his story and trauma does not change the negative impact on my life.
- Sexual abuse – I suffered abuse starting at a young age by someone I trusted, and the impact has rippled through a variety of areas.
- Girls can be mean – I moved around quite a bit growing up (can you say 5 different high schools). I was always the new kid, and I got made fun of and teased. As the movie implies Mean Girls do exist.
- Moving – Speaking of moving around, this led to it’s own coloration on my lens. My thinking was short term because long term wasn’t applicable.
I could keep listing; however, I am sure you get the picture. The aftermath of these factors contributed to my perceptions. Therefore, I would interpret situations without understanding how my past was impacting my perception.
It’s not all bad, in fact, there are times I’ve been able to sense things about situations that I otherwise might not be aware of…which is part of healing…finding the positive. Yes, of course, there are a million negatives to all the above. Yet, I can still find a positive. Grab onto the gems, those positive elements, and figure out a way to deal and move on from the negative. A first step and an essential part of the healing process is recognizing and identifying how you are being influenced. This requires you to look at the big and small events that still trigger emotional responses or a sense of numbness. Write down some specific examples. If you have an aversion to journaling, why? Maybe that’s the first thing to jot down. You might also try praying about it. I’ve found that praying for insight into what may be holding me back or influencing me is helpful. You might be surprised at what pops up as you work through this step.