There she was; the lady who always looked at me with disdain. “What have I ever done to her?” I wondered. “Why does she disapprovingly look at me when I’ve never really had a conversation with her?” I was baffled by the sour look she gave me every time I saw her. I racked my brain trying to figure it out. The weird thing was that her friend liked me; we laughed and talked like we had known each other for years. But, I did not have that kind of relationship with Ms. A.
I finally came to the conclusion that what she thought of me didn’t really matter; what truly mattered was my perception about her. I made a decision that no matter what I perceived Ms. A thought about me, I had the choice to think nice thoughts about her. For two years every time I saw her, I smiled, cheerfully said “Good morning!” and mentally sent positive thoughts her way. Gradually, she began to respond to my greetings with a kinder look on her face and now she smiles when she sees me.
Here are 5 things that I did to change my perception and make a new friend...
1. I realized that it was only my perception of how I was interpreting her facial expressions that was giving me grief. It really had nothing to do with her; it only had to do with me and the thoughts going through my mind. I knew that if I wanted the situation to be different that I had to change my perception about her.
2. I stopped making up stories in my head about my interpretation of how Ms. A looked at me. I didn’t know the lady so how could I accurately interpret her expressions? The answer was that I couldn’t. I had the choice of either continuing to make up stories and feel bad, or to quit telling myself stories and feel better. I chose to stop the stories.
3. I also realized that with some effort I could control the thoughts in my head. Whenever I had negative thoughts and stories about Ms. A, I would feel bad. I decided to take charge of the negative thoughts and change them into positive thoughts. I chose to fill my mind with optimistic thoughts about her, which made me feel good.
4. An "Ah-ha" moment came when I recognized I don’t have to believe the thoughts running like wildfire through my mind. By following Byron Katie’s advice and asking, “Is it true? Can you absolutely know it’s true?” I had to answer no to both questions. These questions helped me to change my perception of how I was interpreting Ms. A’s expressions. Not believing my negative thoughts allowed me to release them easier.
5. I chose to be kind and loving even if Ms. A appeared to look hostile towards me. I knew that the choice was mine and no one else’s. After all, I have no control over what other people think, say or how they act but I do have control over what I think, say and how I act. I knew that my heart was calling me to be loving and kind.
All day long we are looking at other people and through our experiences, beliefs and perceptions we are making judgments about what people think, say and how they act. And, many times we are dead wrong! I have never walked in another’s shoes or been inside their head; how do I know what they are really thinking and feeling? And, why would I pretend to know? It’s so ridiculous when you think about it!
Changing my perception not only changed the way I thought and felt about Ms. A, but it changed our relationship completely. Now we laugh, talk and enjoy each other’s company. The best thing about changing my perception is that now I have a new friend! To learn more about shifting your perceptions and improving relationships, visit http://dawniedahir.com/