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What is our reality?

We perceive our reality through filters. Take the example of specific colours that are difficult to define. A turquoise may appear green to me and blue to you. The colour is the same; we perceive it the same (unless we are colour-blind), it is the same colour, but we define it differently. Despite everything, we can enter into an endless discussion to know if it is green, blue, or other. So who is right, and who is wrong? No one. We have a different frame of reference.

We create a good part of our reality with beliefs and rules that we learned in childhood to help us understand our environment. I did not know at birth that it would be green. This conclusion comes from what I learned from adults and my childhood experiences. If another person learned it was blue, then our referential is different. But no one is right or wrong when we are in 2 separate frames of reference since we do not start from the same rules. Here it is a simple and obvious thing, a colour. But when we talk about ideologies and values, it becomes more complex and is at the root of misunderstandings. If we do not perceive that the person in front of us has had different experiences and teachings, that their frame of reference is different, and therefore they do not "see things the way we do", it is a source of conflict.

In an exchange where we do not share the same point of view, it is interesting to take a step back before answering and ask ourselves if the person in front of us is in the same frame of reference. Rather than trying to convince them, we can understand that the different opinions are based on different experiences. "agree to disagree". We can go further and accept that each frame of reference, each "way of seeing things", has value since it is based on specific experiences that bring particular learning. We can even show empathy and perceive the other’s point of view in his frame of reference. In my example, if this colour is green for me, I would have thought it is blue if I had had the experience of my interlocutor who thinks it is blue too. Or not. But if I want to convince them that it's green because I firmly believe that green is the answer, it will be easier to refer to their way of seeing things to convince them than mine.

We create our reality. A good example is time. Time sometimes passes quickly and sometimes slowly. We have all found that “time is endless” while we wait 10 minutes for the bus, and 2 hours spent with people we love “passes too quickly”. Yet time doesn’t change. It’s the same minutes, the same seconds, and the same hours. It is our interpretation, our feeling of this changing time. 2 people, who are in the same situation, doing the same activity for the same period, will evaluate the time spent in a different way depending on whether they like or dislike what they are doing, if that interests them, or if they are calm or stressed… Many factors interact in any situation that influences our perception of time, and often we are unaware of Them. Time does not change (if it exists, but that's another subject). It's our perception of time that changes.

Both with the colour green or blue and with time, our perception of reality and the emotions generated by this perception of reality are partly controlled by our interpretation. What is in front of us does not change; our interpretation changes. If you are waiting for the bus and are late, you will find the 10 minutes endless. If you chat happily with your friend, waiting for the bus to arrive, the 10 minutes will pass too quickly. Being aware of this is helpful to switch our interpretation. For example, if you are late, let go because stressing will not make the bus arrive faster (and maybe even on the contrary, but that is another subject), and enjoy the landscape. Yes, I know, Letting go is the hardest thing on Earth; a good first step is to be aware of how our mind works and what part of the negative perception of our environment comes only from us and our interpretations.

Many of our interpretations that cause negative emotions can be changed easily. It simply requires daily work of reinterpreting our environment, which can give very positive results in the long term. The simple fact of becoming aware of these negative interpretations often makes the negative emotion disappear. These interpretations come from beliefs and automatism that are very anchored in our minds, and it can take time to make them fall from their throne in our heads; Rome was not built in a day. It is painstaking, daily work and a little tedious, but it gives good results in the long term. In the case of the bus, I am aware that I will arrive at the same time whether I worry or not, but at least if I accept the situation and stay positive, I will be much more serene. And then magic can happen. The bus driver might feel my positive energy and drive a little faster or apologise for the delay, which will make me feel even better. If I arrive with the same energy at work, it is possible that my delay will not be noticed or that at least things will go better than I thought. I can even think a few hours later: “there was no need to worry after all… “

Our inner speech dramatically influences the perception of our exterior and the emotions generated by this perception. And if we do not control the events around us, we have complete power over our internal speech. It is important not to minimize the power of this small voice over our lives. It is also essential to be kind to ourselves, as these beliefs, this self-talk, have been anchored in our minds for a long time, and it takes time to change them. A positive change created in the outside world starts from within.

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