Your life today is a result of your thinking yesterday. Your life tomorrow will be determined by what you think today.
– John C. Maxwell (Think on These Things, Beacon Hill Press, 1979), American leadership coach (b.1947 )
Don’t think you are alone in believing that life is mysterious, that reality is impossible to understand. Anyone who doesn’t think that has allowed his brain to settle with what he has been told to believe and to understand.
As you read this sentence, there are nearly seven billion versions of reality among us humans. What’s more, by the time you finish reading this article, many of those realities will have changed. Some people will think differently, thus they perceive the reality of that moment differently than they did before.
Can you remember what you thought about the world ten years ago? It’s not the same as it is now, is it? In fact, it wouldn’t have been the same for you five years ago, one year ago, even a few days ago. Everything you experience alters your sense of what is real.
If you pay attention to (believe) what the media tell you, you will believe that the world is rapidly becoming a more terrible, even horrifying, place. It isn’t, based on a huge survey of factors around the planet, but it serves the needs of the media for us to experience some fear about the way of the world, enough that we will tune in to their next broadcast or read their next newspaper or magazine.
If you believe those who criticize you–many do, even if you are not aware of it–then you will see yourself as a clearly inferior being among a much more superior group of fellow humans. They want you to feel that way. If you do, then they have changed your reality. If you do not believe them and act contrary to what they think of you, eventually you will change their reality by giving them a different impression about you.
Even the belief you have about the reality of the world–your world–this moment will be different from someone close to you, such as your spouse. What’s more, your spouse’s (friend’s, mate’s, mother’s, sister’s) sense of reality where it concerns you will differ significantly from your own sense of reality about yourself.
I am reminded of the chipmunks I see outside my window where I live. Chipmunks (known properly as the eastern chipmunk) are solitary squirrels that live in burrows they dig in the ground. They fight with every other chipmunk they meet, usually over food or burrow space, throughout the year (except when they are sleeping during winter). But when mating time comes, they are great romancers and lovers. Once the deed is done, with as many mates as they can find, they return to their solitary existence. When the females have tended to their young, they send them off to fend for themselves, as most rodents do, so they can be alone again.
Being more sociable creatures, we don’t try to live alone for most of our lives except to mate. Yet mating is one of the few things we do that we all agree about. Many of us try to avoid procreating during the process, but we still want to have sex because it’s fun, pleasurable, satisfying and most of us get a good feeling by helping our partners to enjoy themselves and to feel good.
Once the sex is over, we become relative strangers who cohabit, friends and roommates who live together for their mutual benefit. Until it’s time to have sex again.
How can two people ever stay married under circumstances like that? Actually, it’s not that hard. But the condition is that we must always consider and work toward the best interests of our partner (or immediate family). Sometimes (often) that means putting their best interests ahead of our own. When that doesn’t happen–when one person’s own best interests take precedence for themselves most of the time–a relationship is little more than a way to pass time between episodes of sex. Eventually, the relationship will fail.
For some people in a failing relationship, their reality is that their marriage is good and healthy, until the other person passes them the word that it isn’t. We may call it betrayal or cheating, but it’s simply a matter of two people having realities that are too different from each other’s.
A good relationship is not a matter of compromise, as we are taught. Compromise is part of it, but only as a consequence of putting the best interests of the other person first. Compromise comes after, not first. Compromise only comes first in business relationships.
How can we put the best interests of our significant other first if we aren’t sure what those best interests are? If you think that your other half’s best interests are the same as yours most or all of the time, then you likely don’t know what the other person’s best interests are.
It has wisely been said that a good relationship is not a matter of staring lovingly into each other’s eyes, but of looking outward in the same direction and seeing similar realities.
Just a little something for you to think about.
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today’s Epidemic Social Problems, a book of solutions to social problems that most people and governments consider realities of modern life, but that aren’t. They can’t see the solutions because they don’t look in the right directions. The solutions are easy and cheap, but hard to find it we aren’t looking for them in the right way.
Learn more at http://billallin.com