What Are YOU Making It Mean?

By: Helaine Iris

What Are YOU Making It Mean?
Helaine Iris
? 2002

“You and I do not see things as they are. We see things as WE are" -Herb Cohen

It all started with a perfectly innocent question from my husband. “Honey, can we compare our calendars, I have some things I want to schedule and I’d like your input?" Happily I agreed and pulled my chair up to engage in the conversation.

After looking at the fullness of my husbands schedule and realizing he still had MORE he wanted to fit in, I responded, “Hey, what about some quality weekend time for us?" With an exasperated look he retorted, “what do you mean?" I could feel our defense postures setting in as predictable as night and day. We launched into an ever-escalating exchange.

The phone rang interrupting our conversation. I was called away to deal with a pressing matter. Afterwards I began to think about the interaction with my husband and wondered why I was so tweaked. Then it hit me.

All he did was simply ask me to look at the calendar with him! I was the one who made his request mean he preferred everything else to spending time with me. With out even being aware of it I started telling myself all kinds of stories about what I thought he meant which made me upset.

Unsurprisingly, I soon realized the source of those thoughts: fear and lack.

Later, when we resumed the conversation I was able to share these new thoughts. It was like hitting the refresh button on my computer. It felt great to acknowledge my own “stuff" and hear his original intent for the conversation.

We as human beings are “meaning making machines". It’s what we do best. We make meaning out of everything. If you look at the universe, unto itself, there is no inherent “meaning". A tree is simply a tree standing in the middle of a field. You fill in the rest, it’s beautiful, or it’s diseased, it needs to be saved etc. In fact, it’s our job as people to tell stories and create meaning.

Here are some common examples of how we create needless pain for ourselves.

I was talking with a client who was telling me about her boyfriend not wanting to drive with her to pick up a friend at the airport. She made it mean that he didn’t want the friend to come at all.

Another client was upset because her friend cancelled a lunch date without apparent reason. She made it mean the friend didn’t like her.

My friend flew into a panic attack because his boss called him into the office in the middle of the workday. He was convinced he was about to be fired.

What do you make things mean in your life? Do you automatically jump to the “conclusion" that proves the worst about yourself? Here are some tips for staying in the present moment when confronted with a potentially “button pushing" situation.

1. When faced with an emotional reaction get in the habit of asking yourself, “What am I making this mean"? Stop the freight train of your thoughts and look for another option.

2. Connect with reality. Offer yourself the gift of truth. Is it true that “X “ will happen? Can I really know what I’m perceiving and concluding is the only possibility?

3. Consider shifting from a limited view of yourself. Focus on what’s positive, larger and perhaps more true about you. Let go of the negative self-talk.

Once you eliminate the endless mind loops of fear and self-doubt that come from second-guessing, from making meaning without the facts you free up your energy. Can you imagine how this could improve your relationships? How much more peaceful your world could be?

What would you rather be doing with your time? PersonallyPsychology Articles, I’d rather have that quality weekend time with my husband.

It’s your life…imagine the possibilities!

Top Searches on
Motivation
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Motivation