What reality is real?

I put a curry down infront of 6 friends.  Each took their serving and dug in.  I noticed one person reaching quickly for some water.  Another reached for the chilli pickle, clearly wanting to add a bit more heat.  Ultimately there were 6 different reactions to exactly the same meal.  So was the curry too hot, not spicy enough?  What was the reality?

The answer is we create our own reality based on all of our cumulative experiences of the past, the influences of the moment such as the people around us or the evironment we are in, or just how we feel in that moment.  Reality is something we create through the meaning we give it.

The person who reached for the curry was a child - they had not had much experience of spicy food before.  The one who added the chilli had spent several years living in India.  Their own experience of the same meal was strongly influenced by all of the things that had made them who they were in that moment.

I have had cause to reflect on this A LOT recently!

Earlier this week I sent out a message in a group forum with the intention of helping someone specifically.  The response I got back was little short of venomous.  In that moment the reality I experienced was a deep hurt and what I often term 'victim mode' - a feeling of 'I really didnt deserve that.'  And I wallowed in this for a little while until this concept of reality popped out of the deep dark recesses.

I am creating that reality by attaching MY meaning to her words.

So I created a new reality.  I knew a little bit about this person; a single mum doing her best in a demanding job.  Things are tough for her and when she received my message she couldn't see my intention through her stress, and her reality of what she read lead her to lash out.  For her the 'curry was too hot' and she felt burned. 

My new reality was to not be hurt but to wonder what I could do to ease her pain, to make her life a little easier.  And now I have seen what I can do, there is no pain at reading her words, just an anticipation of how it will feel to show some kindness.

Just the next day, I received an email from a lady whose daughter I had been doing my best to help.  She wanted me to stop working with her daughter as she believed I had crossed a boundary of confidentiality.  Now for me, this is real hot button as confidentiality is at the pinnacle of what I do and I treat it as sacrasanct.  So to be accused of having crossed those boundaries left me feeling physically sick.  What had I said that had led to me betraying my promise? 

I had done it again - taken her reality and made it mine!

My reality - those boundaries were as solid as ever and I had not crossed them.  This lady was eating hot curry whilst I was eating a mild one - and we were eating from the same bowl!  And her reality of my betrayal is true - for her.  And from her own reality, she chooses to take what action she feels most appropriate - get angry with me.  I don't need to do the same.

To have had such simliar experiences literally back to back was 'interesting.'  It left me feeling curious. Is 'The Universe' testing me?  Is there something I need to learn in these tests?

I guess the answer to that is based in the meaning I choose to give it - as after all, I am creating that reality!

What reality would you have given to these situations I wonder???

Published by Caroline Cavanagh, Anxiety Specialist and author of Anxiety Alchemy on |

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