Been postponing to write this for a while, was told it could mess with people’s esteems and destabilize their thoughts. But today I woke up in a wrecking mood, so, let’s wreck. If you find some sections a bit confusing, just be patient and continue reading, they will make sense as you read further.
The question is, who do you think you are? What makes you, “YOU?”
The question is, who do you think you are? What makes you, “YOU?” what is the difference between you and the next person? Put differently, what makes them, “THEM” and you, “YOU?” From here on, read slowly please.
Let me burst your bubble, reality is not what you think it is. Everything that you see is an approximation of reality (what is actually there). Life is inherently meaningless, without you giving it (them) meaning, everything you see, including you is meaningless. Example, there’s really no color, it’s your eye that translates light at a particular wavelength as red, and another wavelength as blue and so on. Diamonds are not forever, they mean nothing and are utterly worthless, utility wise. What is a cup to a fish?
Everything you see is guided by your assumptions, your assumptions stem from your past. When you are angry, what is really happening is that your assumptions are not matching reality (that is, whatever you are seeing, hearing or experiencing). Assumptions can be adaptive; that is guided by your adaptations as an animal, like seeing color red and blue (a butterfly may see different colors when it looks at the same thing), or hearing sound at particular frequencies (it’s why a dog can hear or even smell things you can’t), on these assumptions, there’s very little we.
Your perception, is you.. let me repeat that, what makes you, “YOU” is your perception
Assumptions could also be learned, like believing that diamonds are forever, or that money is real, or that there’s actually a place called Kenya (will tackle this more in-depth in a different article). Here’s a more practical example, the reason you understand this article (I hope you are), is because most of the words used are familiar to you, you learnt them at some point in your past. When you meet a word you don’t understand, it’s because you hadn’t learnt it in the past, and therefore it’s not part of your vocabulary (assumptions). Your assumptions make up your perception. Your perception, is you.. let me repeat that, what makes you, “YOU” is your perception. When we both look at a person, what you will see and what I will see are different people, because we can’t see the actual person since what we see is 90% perception and 10% reality. It’s the reason you can be a different person to everyone, you are simply conforming to their perception of you. Who you are when you are with your mother is not the same person you are with your friends.
How’s this relevant? Huuuuuge baby, read on. Your emotions are all based on your perceptions. There are a million ways to look at the same thing, but often, as a person you can only see it one way or a few ways since your assumptions (perception), are shaped that particular way. This is the very reason why therapists always ask you about your past regardless of what you are going through. What they are trying to find is where your perception stems from, they are trying to answer the question, why is he looking at this the way he is looking at it, what are his assumptions?
Negative feelings (like anger and disappointments) are simply a result of your assumptions not matching reality. The reverse is true. Ever wondered why the thought of going to a party generates more excitement than the actual party? It’s because it’s all in your head Linda, there’s very little in the external environment that Really! Really! Really! influence your moods.. Reminds me of a quote by Seneca, that we suffer more often in imagination than in reality. It’s the reason the rich also cry, assumptions Linda, it’s never about externals.
So how do we use this in solving conflicts? The first challenge is to accept that everything you do is a reflex grounded in your assumptions. You should approach conflict with the idea that you are having assumptions about the relationship and the person. What you see is not reality, you are largely seeing your own assumptions. So instead of approaching conflict from the perspective of smashing the other persons point of view, ask yourself, what assumptions did I make that didn’t turn out true? Always remember, all that anger you feel stem from your assumptions not the event. The event is just an event and different people will look at it differently. What makes you angry could make me laugh, why? Assumptions baby.. As Carl Jung, father of psychotherapy puts it, problems are never fixed; we only change our perspective on them. Practice this, be patient, it won’t be easy at first, but when you master it, your world (perspective) will change. You will internalize the saying, it’s really never that serious and that the world is just but a playground.
Finally, I’ve tried to explain a lot in a very short space, an exhaustive approach could easily fit in about 2 books. Also, even though presented as a conflict resolution strategy, the applications of this concept are limitless (don’t let your assumptions/perspective lie to you ?). If you are an expert psychologist, bear with me, I know some concepts may sound oversimplified, this is because I’m writing for the general population. If you’d like to know more about a concept, just ask me in the comments, I’ll try expound.