Gratitude & Attitude – Perception And Forgiveness

Forgive me folks, today’s G&A is a bit long winded. I’m going to wax poetic for a bit before I get to the nitty gritty. If you don’t feel like reading the G&A and just want to see some sneak peeks from the latest wedding – Shelley & Mark – scroll down to the slideshow at the bottom!

Often, even the best of intentions can come across in ways other than intended. Lately, it doesn’t seem to matter how heartfelt, good, or constructive my intentions are, they are often perceived as negative or malicious. Of course, I totally understand that 90% of this is due to my delivery of those intentions as I’ve never been good at subtlety, tact, or approaching things in a roundabout manner. I’m direct and I get to the point – sometimes harshly – even when I try to soften my blunt approach to life.

Despite this glaring handicap, I keep trying to cultivate relationships and do my best to learn and grow from every experience, negative or positive.

This morning, I spent some time reflecting on perception (what we believe to be true) and the effect it can have on our lives.

Years ago, Greg and I were really good at getting each other’s backs up over tiny, insignificant details and those tiny details could easily blow up into full on arguments simply because of perception. He would say something, usually in a certain tone of voice, and I would immediately get angry and assume he was deliberately talking to me in a negative manner. Then, in retaliation, I would give him the same tone right back and he, not realizing he’d used a tone in the first place, would immediately get angry and assume I was deliberately talking to him in a negative manner. And so it went, back and forth, until the tone of the conversation, not necessarily the subject, would have us both spitting angry and taking out our anger on each other. Our counsellor helped us to recognize this behaviour with a simple tool. The moment one of us said something to the other that instantly sparked anger, we were to keep our mouths shut for ten seconds and ask ourselves, Do I believe he (or she) meant that the way I took it? Nine times out of ten, the answer was, no. If we still couldn’t come up with an answer after we asked ourselves that question, we were to do the next logical thing, ask the person. So, for months, if Greg said something that got my back up, I practiced first asking myself the question and then, if I couldn’t answer it, asking him the question. Greg did it too and, to our mutual surprise, it stopped us from arguing almost all of the time because we seldom meant to cause each other pain or to anger each other, regardless of harsh tone or poor delivery.

Sometimes, we were just tired or annoyed at something else or having a really stressful day (week, month, etc.) and our words came out the wrong way. All it took was checking our perception to stop the dozens of useless arguments that often led nowhere and were never resolved.

Perception can cause all sorts of problems when trying to cultivate relationships, but often those problems can be avoided if people just ask themselves that one simple question – Do you really believe they meant to hurt or anger you when they said or did whatever it was that got your back up? I use the perception tool all the time with my Greg, but I often forget that I should use it with everyone I interact with. Lately, in addition to angering or hurting others, I find myself needlessly angered or hurt because I don’t take five seconds to breathe and ask myself if my perception is in line with reality. I don’t stop and ask myself if the person who angered me is a good, kind, caring, loving person who perhaps meant the best, but his or her delivery was all wrong.

I know that I am a kind, caring, loving person and that I really will do anything in my power to help others if I can, but I understand that I’m human and I make mistakes. I don’t beat myself up about this. I often hurt or anger people – unintentionally – and it reminds me to try harder to check my own perceptions and work harder at relationship.

The other side of this is that sometimes – perhaps one time out of ten –a person does intend to cause hurt or anger with words or actions. In those cases, which are thankfully much less often than the unintentional kind, it can be really easy to avoid the backlash that could follow such a blatant disregard for a person’s feelings. Forgiveness – a concept that can be as simple and straightforward or as complicated as you want it to be. It’s never easy to swallow pride or quell anger and let love shine through in the form of forgiveness, but I believe it’s the only choice we have if we are to keep on cultivating loving relationships with the people in our lives.

Now just think how much less stress you could have in your life if you did two simple things – learn how to check your perceptions by taking into consideration the nature of the person you are interacting with and learn how to let love lead to forgiveness.

Sounds like peace of mind to me.

Okay, now for the #20 Installment of G&A

Today’s Attitude goes out to:

  1. Seriously. I got nada. Nothing worth bitching about comes to mind.

Today’s Gratitude goes out to:

  1. Gregory John LeFlufy. I love the way you do things for me selflessly, such as taking it upon yourself to clean my car on Friday before I had to leave for the wedding. That was much appreciated. You are much appreciated…and loved.
  2. Ian Johnson (my youngest brother and also one fantastic second shooter). Bro, you continually surprise me, not just with your mad composition skills, but with your accepting attitude of people in general. You are one of the only young adults I know who accepts people at face value and lets them do their thing without ridicule or judgement. You have been teaching me, a lot lately, about judging less and caring more. I dig that about you. I also appreciate how helpful you are during shoots and how well you take my direction (even when it’s sometimes abrupt and “Jo like”) and how well you complement (round out) my shooting style. You rock. I am sad 😦  that you are leaving in September. I will miss you.
  3. My clients. I have the best clients. I am so grateful for the excellent people my job brings me into contact with. Last weekend was amazing (and not just the killer food!!!!!) and I really enjoyed meeting everyone who is a big part of Shelley & Mark’s lives. Thank you so much for making Ian and I feel so welcome and like we were just a natural part of the group. 🙂
  4. Delish Naturals Bite Me Not spray. Lifesaver last weekend when we were continuously dive bombed by jumbo jet sized mosquitoes up in Blue River. Thanks Lita Delishass!
  5. My garden, aka the North Kamloops Cougar Sanctuary. It grows delicious produce and allows me to unwind and relax when I weed it…I mean need it…lol
  6. Life. It teaches me new lessons every single day – about myself and others – and despite everything I have been through, I still love to live and learn.
  7. Cora Jane. I’ve been waking up next to her picture and the message to “Be a better person because of her” for three weeks now. Sure, I still screw up often and, as noted above, still cause people pain, anger, etc., but she reminds me every day to try harder and, more importantly, to keep on trying, even when I do screw up and life becomes difficult. So many people say that everything happens for a reason and I have been searching for a reason that she had to leave us. Perhaps part of it was to force me to work harder to become more effective in cultivating not just my garden, but my relationships with others.
  8. Juno. Surgery only six days ago and, aside from limping around on three legs, his sparkly happiness is shining through his pain, same as it ever was. Best. Dog. Ever.
  9. Martin and Adrienne Ilic. Thanks for hooking us up with farm fresh eggs and big ass chickens for my tummy. And thanks for delivering said goodies to us. And thanks, to Martin, for helping Greg pick up the lift for Juno The Wonderdog. I appreciate that more than I can say.

I could probably go on and on because I have so many things to be grateful for, but this post is already long enough.

Something is up with the slideshow function on my blog. If the pics don’t automatically scroll through, just hover your mouse over the pic and arrows will appear so you can advance the pics manually. 🙂

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Good night my friends. I wish you all enough.

One thought on “Gratitude & Attitude – Perception And Forgiveness

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