When you’re young, you think you’re invincible.
This had led many of us to pursue things that we would prefer not to look back on by the time we reach out the mid-thirties or, better yet, when there are more wrinkles on our faces, our knees are creaking, our bodies are more capable of sleep and sedentary lifestyle than before.
Swept Up By Media and Unrealistic Ideals
Case in point:
When I was younger, my sole mission was to conquer the world with such a vengeance that the word ‘fear’ or ‘failure’ was subconsciously eradicated from my mind. Nothing, except bugs, insects, spiders, and maybe heights, was out of bounds.
I may have to add that that the bravado led me into some funky swamps and sinking sands. But still…I am, thankfully, still here. It’s amazing.
Now that I am older (and I hope to God, wiser), things have changed so dramatically I sometimes don’t recognize myself.
Instagram image: https://www.instagram.com/p/Ba9myFjhZ95/
I didn’t really think becoming a mom was even a remote possibility. I loved children (babies, especially 😍) but it wasn’t something I yearned for.
I was more of a swooner of movie stars and pop singers (read: NKOTB and Back Street Boys) and sought out these people in real life. LOL. #OMG #hopeless #puberty
Pain wasn’t something I shied away from either. I was pompously confident that it wasn’t going to affect how I was going to bulldoze through things so that I can get to where I wanted to be.
And like many young women, I was ready to risk it all, sacrifice my everything, for the man who is going to spend the rest of his life with me. Hollywood had me dreaming of a Knight in Shining Armor sweeping off my feet, kneeling in front of me with a ring in his hand, and promising to love me like nothing else for the rest of his life.
You know the movie Jerry McGuire? To this very day, I have no inking as to why Jerry McGuire was attractive at all. He was an asshole. 😂
“You complete me! YOU….COMPLETE ME!” he insisted as he pursued the love he almost lost. Ppppfttt…🤦
The run time for that imaginary soap opera in my head lasted a good couple of years but life was really trying hard to teach me the realities of love, life, family, friends, and the world.
Suffice to say, it soon dawned on me that my expectations of what love is and how people achieve their happily ever afters is more grueling (and uglier) than Hollywood movies would have us believe.
High expectations of how our love lives would ideally roll out is a panacea for disaster. And true enough, for me, anyway, it was. I kept feeling disappointed and frustrated with what life had to offer me.
What happened to Pretty Woman? What happened to Titanic? What about Some Kind of Wonderful?
I didn’t know half the things that I know now because, in part, I was young and believed that if I dropped enough hints, the man would change or at least finally get it.
Hint: It DOESN’T work.
CORRECTION: It’s NEVER GONNA WORK.
Of course, with me as a young woman, every battle was worth fighting. I wasn’t afraid to voice my “concerns” nor am I one to shy away from confrontations. It’s a pot waiting to boil over.
I wasn’t prepared to accept the fact that guys behave differently because God simply made them different. What they think about could be absolutely nothing. I once shouted at my boyfriend at that time that he was lying about thinking about NOTHING because it is simply not fathomable (according to my female brain). 🤦♀️ I insisted that there HAS to be SOMETHING going through his mind when he’s sitting there listening to music.
Fact: He WAS literally thinking of nothing. 🤷
The young me in love would be so full of PDA and affection that it makes me cringe today. However, I am still a little much on the PDA and I-Love-You’s but it is also with much respect for the other person’s preferences and personality. If I liked telling the person I love the three saintly love-words 30 times a day, I would do it. To my credit, he didn’t always have to do the same number of times. It would be exhausting for the other person.
And yet, the young me would insist that my daily-100 declarations of love may one day be reciprocated. Otherwise, he doesn’t love me. #OMG
Your Perception vs Millions of Other Perceptions
Now, let’s come back to reality.
Here’s the thing about IRL: not everyone agrees with what you say or think.
My young self underestimated this. I valiantly went on to imagine a world where everyone cared about what I did. And if they didn’t, I could change their minds.
Only after working with many others on real stuff, the things that work in the system, that I realize that each person decodes information differently. We could be reading, hearing, or seeing the same thing but we only interpret it based on what we know, what we want to hear, and what makes sense to us based on our experience (thus far).
Our perception of the same thing changes over time too. We pile on experiences, we go through disappointments and heartbreaks, joys and triumphs.
And then, one day, we no longer perceive things the way we used to.
Those words that made us take the leap based on our belief system during our younger days may no longer be the catapult, jumping-off points, or triggers. Our minds tend to perceive things based on what makes sense to us based on our latest, most current worldview.
Keeping an Open Mind
As we grow older, keeping an open mind becomes more difficult. We have a set belief that our process is the right one. That’s because we have forgotten that we, everyone else, decode the world and its events, differently.
As I go through the changes and challenges of life, I realize how crucial it is to actually listen and allow for the possibility of a misunderstanding to occur.
Regardless of how well we know another person, we still have different opinions. I mean, we’ve only been this one person — Us, You, Me. We’ve never been anyone else. We can try to empathize but it’s not the same as knowing exactly what the world looks like for another person.
So, we don’t always have the answers to everything. We don’t know exactly what a statement means. We don’t know what exactly an action means.
Open-mindedness involves asking questions and then being ready to listen (without answering immediately), and ask for clarification. If we are not able to comprehend the whole breadth of their thoughts, ideas, and opinions, we have to hold space for their worldview so that we can live and work together.
The world is complicated and so are the people who live in it. As we navigate through the new world of communication and social settings, it’s OK to still form assumptions based on our experience and principles.
I found it useful to actually sit back and let it all melt in together to see what is acceptable, understandable, and what isn’t.
If you’ve read similar kinds of stuff on the internet, you may have come across something that many mindfulness coaches often emphasize — the monkey mind.
The pausing of the monkey mind is crucial to proper communication. If we don’t, it would then just be a one-way communication. Looking at the Millenials today, they have a lot of opinions, thoughts, ideas, and worldviews. We may not always jive.
I am often intrigued with what Millenials have to say because it often jiggles my thought process.
I go from “what?!!?” to “really?!” to “tell me more about it” to “wow” to “OK, how do we work with this”.
To move the world forward, we must be able to ask, listen, process, and work with views from different people with their differing beliefs.
The last I heard, dictatorship is still NOT a very hot topic unless in a negative light.
Let me know what you think.
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