Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Teach Yourself "Down the Line" Perception

What in the world is that, "Down the Line" Perception? Well, I think I just made it up, not the concept but the title.

It's a way of thinking, of catching certain types of thoughts and swapping them out for others. I taught myself to think this way for practical reasons. Why suffer if you don't have to?

Hindsight is 20/20
What lead me to this way of thinking was that I suffered a lot from believing that I had lost things or that I had missed things in my life. However, when I really looked at all the experiences in my life, I noticed that once I had gotten far enough past most difficult situations, I saw how beneficial those experiences turned out to actually be. After reviewing a certain number of experiences, large and small, that I had been disappointed about in my life, I realized that what had seemed awful at the time turned out to be, not just "not-so-bad" but, truly a good thing.

Example: A devastating breakup back in 2001 had me depressed, bitter and shunning men for over 2 years. At the time, it seemed like I had lost something really precious that I would never be able to replace. In the long run, I was right, I was never able to replace that relationship... and THANK GOD for that!

The person I was with had a permanently dissatisfied disposition. He was never happy, always looking for better, never convinced I was good enough, didn't really see what was good in me or our relationship. I exhausted myself mentally and emotionally in trying to keep up, be better and "improve" to suit his idea of what I/we should be. It was a huge blow to my self-esteem being with him. Now that I'm many years "down the line", my perception of those events is very different than it was at the time. I look back and am incredibly grateful that we weren't together longer than we were. I now feel blessed that things fell apart as I feel I was spared even worse self-esteem issues and wasting more of my time on a relationship that was deeply unhealthy for me.

What this and many other events that I am now "down the line" from have taught me is that very few things that have happened or which I have "missed" are as bad or disappointing as they seemed at the time. Because of that, I am teaching myself to assume that what is happening to me in every moment, however seemingly disagreeable and apparently "wrong" is actually "right" and that I will be able to perceive it in that light once I am "down the line" enough from it in the future.

My thinking now is: Why wait? Why wait to be "down the line" to see what is almost always the case? Why not assume right away that what is happening is actually the "right" thing and stop the suffering before it starts? Suffering comes from our perception and judgment that the experience is happening in the "wrong" way. Start thinking of ways, right now, that it could be interpreted as "right".

We are always a work in progress but more and more often I catch myself if I begin to feel disappointed about something and flip it off like a light switch. When I hear thoughts like: "things don't work out for me" or "I never catch a break" or "I've missed my only chance", replacement thoughts pop into place. "Maybe I just missed being in an accident" (if I'm held up and I leave later than I wanted)", "I wonder what the Universe has in store for me that's even better than that?" (if I seem to have missed an opportunity) or "These people needed a more personal touch to get the learnings" (if a class I'm giving doesn't fill up as I would have liked it to).

Being able to do this type of reverse thinking means that things that would have previously been upsetting aren't. I can let them go with little or no disappointment or sadness. In fact, in some instances I actually get excited when things don't work out as I wonder, "Something better than THAT is coming my way? Fantastic!" And it almost always does.

I can't swear to you that everything I miss out on is always replaced by something better but if my personal past is any indication of my future, a really large percentage of the time that will be the case. I don't see a point in feeling bad 100% of the time when such a small number turn out to be truly unfortunate events. This has been my personal experience - your life may be different but have you ever really evaluated it. I can always feel bad about those few times later if I "need to".

Give this method a try. Start asking yourself: "If this is actually the right/better way for things to go for me then why/how could that be or what would that mean?" See what answers you get. Let me know in the comments below.

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