November 2, 2009

Time for a Reality Check?

reality2When I found out one of my favorite ex-fiances was moving out of his ex-fiance’s house last weekend, I offered to help out however I could.
(He’d done the same for me ten years ago when my last engagement came to an abrupt end, so I was happy to return the favor.  Plus he’s a great guy, so it was a good excuse to hang out again.)
Yesterday as we spent several hours washing walls and sanding cupboards in his new place, it led to conversations we haven’t had before.
One of those conversations was how he answers other people’s question about why we aren’t together.
Apparently he’s been telling people (because he genuinely believes) that the reason we didn’t marry is because I chose cats over him.
(He’s allergic and I didn’t give up my two cats when we moved in together.)
I could hardly believe that’s the story he not only tells, but also believes.  ?!
“Boy, that’s not how I remember it,” I said.
He asked what my version was, which went something like:

The day he spent the last of my savings on lunch with his secretary, I told him that although I would buy the lunch he shared with his mom the day before, but I would not buy his secretary’s lunch.  He could pay me that money back.
That’s when he opened his wallet and started flipping bills in the air saying,  “Is this what you want?”

It would be an understatement to say this scene was a turning point in our relationship.  In that moment I marveled at how he suddenly had money, while at the same time launching a swing at him.
Several hours and broken items later, most of my belongings were strewn across the front lawn.  Of the house I was paying for.
That’s how I remember the end of our engagement.
But he really thought it was the cats.  In fact, he doesn’t even remember a conversation about lunches with secretaries.
Wow, huh?
(Although we both remember the knock-down drag-out fight I started.)
The reason I share this somewhat entertaining story is that it proved to me once again how malleable “reality” is.
What is the truth? And how could we ever claim to know it when perspectives vary so dramatically?
Last year I wrote about the power of purposely choosing better feeling perspectives after being inspired by Wicked.
This ability we have of telling our own version of what went down can actually be leveraged into more powerful manifesting.
As we learn to consciously adopt a perspective that lines us up with what we want and how we want to feel, we deliberately manage the energy that leads to what happens next.
On the way home a big truck cut me off in traffic, and I thought, “Well, if you can go faster than me, more power to you.”  And he did (go faster than me) and I gave him a thumbs up.  I’m fine with that.
That’s a very different perspective than when I used to think something like, “Who do you think you are?” and feeling indignant that he thinks he’s more important or in a bigger hurry than the rest of us.
So, I like my ex’s version of our breakup more than mine.  Yep, I’m a woman whose true love and devotion to animals wouldn’t be trumped by some fleeting romance.  hee hee  I know that story wouldn’t work for everyone, but it makes me giggle.

(And giggling is a sign of downstream movement, you know.)

In fact, I almost like the part where my ex-fiance “reminded” me (as if it happened – which I doubt) of the time he showed up to give me a ride home and found me making out with some guy in the parking lot.
Now that’s incredibly unlikey to have happened for at least a dozen different reasons (I think he’s getting me mixed up with a different girlfriend), but still … I kind of like the thought that I wasn’t a hapless girl sitting at home while he wined and dined co-workers at Subway on my dime.  Rather, I was out having my share of fun, too.
The discrepancies in our recalled histories are hilarious, considering it was a shared history.  To whatever extent I can find room for improvement on the version I tell, that leads to better vibrations which brings in more good stuff in the present day.
Because you know there are some situations where our version of the story is keeping us from vibrational alignment to what we want.
So if you’ve got a story that isn’t serving you, my suggestion is to switch it up.
I mean, look how easy it is!  Stand in someone else’s shoes, and give it a try from their perspective.  If you don’t like that angle, find another one.
Because we each decide what’s true and real based on what we attend to.  Let’s use that power for good, huh?

  • It is, huh, Mitch? I had actually typed my favorite ex-fiance, but then I thought might be forgetting someone and that wouldn’t be fair, so I better couch it just in case. lol

  • Mitch says:

    I love the fact that you started this post with “one of my favorite ex-fiances…” Ha! That right there is a great example of telling a positive story! 🙂

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeannette Maw and Chris Tait, Caryn Reddick. Caryn Reddick said: I love this post from @GoodVibeCoach about "reality checks" and how we can choose our story: […]

  • Annette, you are brilliant! Respect over reject makes it SO much easier to embrace! Nicely done.
    PS – yes, you’re right that he knew. Everyone knows. I’m super clear about that, even though I don’t need to be because my actions speak loud and clear by themselves!
    I mean, if I were willing to give up cats for a man, I’d have done that for Dave … Dave … omg, I’m forgetting my true love’s last name … ha! Dave … Oh sheesh. The guy who said my dogs could live in his house but not my cats.
    Dave, if you’re reading, I still love you, even if I’m drawing a blank on your last name. Gosh, it was even a really good last name. One I would have happily taken had he accepted my cats. Huh.
    Oh well. (She says with the world’s best cat sitting in her lap at this very moment!)

  • Annette says:

    As always, food for Thought! And fuel for new, higher vibrations!
    I heard something last night from the Mythbusters, and I have to tell you – it’s going in MY New Thoughts ToolKit :
    “I reject your reality and substitute my own”
    Although I think it needs a wee bit of tweaking . . .something more like
    “I respect your reality and substitute my own”
    And by the by – didn’t he know you came WITH cats, as a package deal???

  • Oooh, well said, Brigitte! “There is no difference between ‘what it is’ and ‘what you believe it is.'”
    I think you nailed it!
    And I also want to say kudos, again, for being able to laugh about it. It took a while for me to get to that place, but I’m finding it happens sooner and sooner the more practice I get at this.

  • Brigitte says:

    PS: Given the emotional quality of some men, I’d totally choose cats over them, by the way.
    (Fortunately, there are lots of good, cute men out there. Just as kitties, I guess).

  • Brigitte says:

    You know what, Jeannette? An ex-fiancé of mine did that too, haha! He chose a completely different break-up story from what I thought that was the truth. It’s funny if you think of it. Although there were feelings involved, I believe we’ve got think that if he isn’t Mr. Right, your soul mate, your ideal partner… I wonder why do we need to find a reason for that break-up? It’s part of moving on, isn’t it? I’m in love with another man now and he is in love with me too. I don’t give much thought to past stories.
    There’s an anonymous quote that I love so much, it says: “Everyday is like my first day on Earth”. I love that. The less I recall, the happier I am.
    On the other hand… I truly believe that there is no difference between “what it is” and “what you believe it is”. Meaning, whatever you think or believeis indeed a reality. If you want a better reality… not only wish it was better, BELIEVE it is better.
    That’s my opinion. Do you think I’m right? Again, I’ve got so much to learn and I’d like to know if I’m on the right path. 🙂

  • I know what you mean, Michael.
    Maybe the first step to it is to play with seeing a new angle of what did “happen,” rather than going for the “it didn’t happen.”
    Or maybe it’s the same thing?

  • Michael says:

    Wow…so the way I take this, is that if I am strong enough in my own mind, I can actually make it to where NONE of the crappy things that happened to me in the last week actually happened. That things are happening for an entirely different reason.
    Feels like it might take some practice though. I get that reality ‘isn’t’…but I’ve been dealing with it so long like it *is* that I’m not sure I’d have this technique down flat without a bit of work.

  • Here’s to more easily releasing our attachment to story, Gemstone!
    And Kimberly, the laughter you bring to the situation is delicious. I’ll be thinking of/channeling you next time I find myself not as lighthearted about it.
    Thanks for posting, ladies!

  • Kimberly Gauthier says:

    I love this post. My boss’ favorite quote is Perception is Reality, but he takes it a little to literally. I happen to agree that perception is someone’s reality, but it may not be mine.
    I always respond to this pearl of his by replying that someone can perceive that a 6′ rabbit wants them to be king of the world, but that doesn’t make it real. However, I will tread carefully around this person, because I don’t want the “rabbit” to tell him to get me. ha ha
    A coworker thinks that I’m a prissy, weak, girly girl. It’s hilarious how horribly she judges me. She’s always stunned when she hears that I went hiking, camping, or did anything that deals with the outdoors or dirt or bugs. I think she has this “perception” of me, because I sometimes wear heels and skirts. Who knows…but it’s pretty darn funny that she’s put me into this box and will not let me out.
    If she saw me trespassing on a farm after hours to get a good photo, she’d probably faint – LOL
    I’ve learned to laugh at how we all see things differently.

  • Gemstone3 says:

    A great post Jeannette!
    I’ve found that many times in the past, I’ve become so attached to my story (wanting validation) that it keeps me from seeing the light.
    I’ve found it’s much easier to identify this trait with someone else, but if I turn the spotlight on me, it’s there in me as well. I just have to catch myself holding onto a version of my story because it “suits me”.
    What I’ve found through reading your blog religiously, is I’m now willing to let go of my story attachment more readily.
    I look forward to reading everyone’s comments on this topic.

  • Having kids in the mix adds a whole new level of complexity and skill, in my opinion, girlfriend. Hats off to you!
    Kind of makes me slightly envious that you get such good opportunity to practice building the skill … I can’t imagine a better one.
    You’ll build some major muscle with THIS rewrite. 🙂
    Nice to hear from you on this topic!

  • LivingtheLOA says:

    Love the new post!! Wonderful food for thought, as usual. One of my strongest intentions this year is to have a better relationship with my ex. Not surprisingly, my version of reality regarding our marriage (and pretty much everything else) is very different from his. When conflicts arise over our children (as they often have – until now!), I find myself recalling and ultimately reliving negative events from our past….and then wondering why things remain so difficult between us despite all of my positive intentions. Duh!
    What have I been getting from harboring those negative memories and hanging onto (and arguing about and defending) my perception of everything that’s happened? Only a perpetuation of the problem. And none of it matters. It’s the present and future that count. So I guess it’s time for a MAJOR rewrite….and to begin consciously focusing on the good times that were had, so I will see MORE of them going forward. Thanks for sharing and for the excellent lesson!

  • Yay for the choices, my friend!
    I have often wondered how you managed to stay single these days, because let’s face it – you’d be the catch of the century for many women!
    You’re right that we have plenty of opportunity to find better feeling responses to every day situations like these in life. Whether it’s “rejection” for a date, a job, or whatever … what great practice to try on different “realities.”
    Thanks for jumping in here, Robert!

  • Oh goody! Another fun topic 🙂
    It seems to me that it is very common for us to “assume the worst” when we wonder “why.” I remember one time specifically when I asked a girl out and she turned me down. She didn’t say why she didn’t want to go out with me so I naturally assumed that it was because I wasn’t good-looking enough. The next time I saw her she was with a guy who was even more “plain looking” than me! (I know that that is hard to believe, but he really was.) And that left me scrambling for other excuses for not being popular, like what if women rejected me because they felt intimidated by me. Yah, that felt better, and who’s to say if that was the “reality” or not.
    Life is so much more fun when we realize that we have choices.

  • And of course you would be skilled at this habit, Pernille!
    Yes, in writing this post, I thought of a couple other present day situations that could use a different filter, and I plan to use my “malleable reality” skills to find a better feeling place to them, too.
    I have to give props to my ex-fiance for being the kind of open, loving and honest person that I knew would be okay with me sharing this story here.
    The other situations I’m thinking of, which I would have loved to share, I couldn’t say the same of.
    Or maybe I just wanted another excuse to keep him in mind – he is in general a very pleasant thought.

  • Great topic!!!!!
    It’s my experience that whenever two or more persons are “experiencing the same situation”, and you afterwards ask them to tell about it, each of them will share a different story.
    Years ago I used to believe that the explanation for this was that one was lying and the other one was telling the truth – ha-ha!!!
    Now I believe that it’s because each of them (us) have experienced the situation differently. Same situation, different experience!!!
    And I like to explain it this way: we all have a “filter” before our eyes, consisting of our genes, temper, upbringing, positive and negative experiences and a lot more, so each person’s filter is diffferent from others. And as we see everything through this filter, each of us will get a different experience from the same situation.
    So “what was the real situation”? – I don’t know – but I do my best to see/remember a positive version every time – course that makes me feel best 🙂

  • Amen to that, Tiffany!
    I’m a little embarrassed that I didn’t find my way to this other perspective on my own … but God bless my ex for helping me get there. Not that I was feeling any angst about it, but anytime it can get lighter and easier, I’m all for it.

  • Pure Potential says:

    On the same wavelength today. Explored the area of our ability to choose our reality and why would we choose anything that was not in our highest interest. The big question that arose was what we gain by choosing to believe thoughts that are not in our highest interest. Comfort? Reinforcement for negative self image? Protection from our social self expectations? All were possibilities.
    Thanks for the resources.

  • Tiffany says:

    I love this option. There’s always that saying “There’s three sides to every story, side A, side B and the TRUTH.”
    Well I choose side C…CREATION! I’m going to leverage my storytelling more to put myself in a better mood.

  • It’s a good question, Susan. I suspect that it may sometimes be the case where the “reality” that feels best might morph over time.
    Know what I mean?
    One day it might really feel better to play angry victim and then later on we can access a whole different role for ourselves. In fact, I may tell this story completely differently in just one week!
    I’d be proud of myself if I did because I am purposely playing with getting really “easy” with the “truth.”
    Thanks for posting, Susan. Always good to hear your wisdom shared here.

  • I have to admit, Mary, I like the help I got from my ex in finding a better feeling version of my past. It’s doing a lot for my ego. lol
    Thanks for starting the conversation here! 🙂

  • Such a timely reminder that WE get to choose our reality with our attention… Thanks, Jeannette!
    That’s it:)

  • Related Post