Perception.  I have often heard said that perception is everything; and I as I get older, I become more aware of how profound this simple truth is.

What I have come to know is that our perception colors everything in our world: whether we are hopeful or in despair, negative or positive in our thinking, willing to take risks in life or play it safe and small, and whether we choose to remain optimistic in the face of adversity or choose to find solace in being overly critical and cynical.   And what about relationships?  Yes, relationships. How exactly does this show up in our relationships?

It shows up in the stories we tell.  Do we mostly talk of game playing and man shortages or do we talk about endless opportunities to learn more about who and what we want?  Do we mostly talk about how well we are treated or how we have constantly been disappointed, led astray and disrespected?  It’s a cycle that is both predictable and at times vicious.  However we might happen to experience relationships, we can be sure of one thing: our “reality” reflects our perception.

And if we continue to look for evidence that our negative perceptions are “true”, we will continue to find evidence that supports these beliefs.  Now, many of us might find comfort in the belief that we have all the bad stuff figured out.  We pride ourselves on recognizing the negative signs and seek to avoid the pitfalls.  We know what’s real, and because we know, we can protect ourselves from hurt and harm.  But to what end?  To be right?   To feel like we know the truth, no matter how bleak or painful it can be?  I’m not so sure that this is the answer.

So what to do? Well, we can start by changing how we choose to perceive ourselves and our relationships.  We can start by telling ourselves, no matter how untrue it might seem initially, that we are loved, valued and treated well; and that we do and can have everything we want.  Some might say that this is foolish and that it denies the reality that often stares us squarely in the face.  But I ask the question, “If we choose to tell ourselves a story, why not make it a good one?”

In the end, we really have nothing to lose by seeking those signs that point to all the goodness that comes from being open and positive about life’s possibilities.  Instead, we stand to gain everything we may have ever dreamed of.

-Angie G.

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