Here’s a letter from a client that highlights the importance of “catching” your perception in dating and relationships:
Hi Helena, I wanted to share something with you. When you posted that blog post about “Perception and Meaning,” I had this memory come up from my past relationship that always made me feel bad. This time, I really felt it though, I studied it. I realized then that I was making that memory bad because of my “perception” of the situation. I noticed a pattern: I tend to perceive most things in my relationships as negative when I begin to get scared. It’s the easiest thing for me to do: just assume the worst. This is something I have been battling with for a long time, but now I UNDERSTAND what I do and where it comes from. Then I re-read your blog post and it TOTALLY made sense! All these things I give meaning to are simply inaccurate. Plus, I don’t want to have negative perceptions in my next relationship. So I wanted to thank you for that. I took the suggestion to really become a “detective of myself,” and it feels great! Perfect start for 2014! In the short amount of time I’ve been working with you, I really feel a huge difference in ME, which is what matters. I really appreciate it very much. – Sara
When a man does or says something – we can perceive it a million different ways.
When it’s a man we’re chemically attracted to or someone we have strong feelings for – this gets magnified even more.
Have you ever asked your friends to help you analyze a text message or a comment that a man made to you? I know I have!
The important thing to remember here is – when it comes to our perception of what a man “means” – we’re just making that up! Our perception is inaccurate about 90% of the time. Men do not usually mean what we think they mean.
Since you’re just making it up anyway, you might as well make it a GOOD perception – one that serves you and makes you feel good about yourself – rather than worrying that a man is “trying to tell you something” or that he doesn’t like you.
Let’s say a man is out with his friends and he texts you to say hello – there are so many different ways you could perceive that.
You could perceive it as, “He’s at a bar, there are other women there – he’s trying to make me jealous!” or “He’s trying to let me know that he’s busy and has a life” or “Why didn’t he call me? If he really liked me he’d call.”
Since you’re just making all of that up, try making it a GOOD perception. How about, “He’s out with his friends and he’s thinking about ME! That’s so sweet!” Can you feel the difference there?
This will shift your vibe and make you feel more warmly disposed to him – which will help you open up and be an invitation.
I’m not suggesting that you delude yourself into thinking a man is crazy about you if he’s given you clear signals that he’s not – but masculine-energy men are usually pretty straightforward and won’t give you “mixed signals” when they’re interested in you.
Most of the time, how we’re perceiving situations with men has a lot to do with how we’re feeling about OURSELVES.
If we’re feeling good about ourselves – and we have a relaxed attitude about dating – we’re more likely to perceive what a man says or does in a good way.
If we’re feeling bad about ourselves – and we’re anxious about where we stand with a man or we’re feeling attached to the “outcome” – that’s when we tend to make up perceptions that don’t serve us well.
If you’re using your perception of what a man says or does an an opportunity to beat yourself up, you’ll want to “catch” that right away!
See if you can start “catching” your perceptions – switch them around so you’re celebrating yourself – and notice what a difference that makes in your interactions with men.