As my boys have grown up, they have often plied me with pleading questions such as,
"Can I have an iphone?" Followed by the refrain,
"Everyone has one."
When I have questioned my kids as to who "Everyone" is and suggested calling round to find out, it is often only one or two friends and not the whole grade, that they are thinking about.
At times, we have all been influenced by peers, school expectations, the media and familial relationships and dynamics, for good and for bad.
As we get into our teens and young adulthood, the social perception of what "Everyone" thinks can take on larger than life proportions that can influence us positively or negatively.
The critical voices in our heads may have great bearing on our decisions. Our self-perception can be altered, according to how much store we have set by how we think others perceive us.
One of those inner voices might whisper......
I can't become or change careers and be an anthropologist /writer/ whale trainer because everyone will think I've gone crazy.
I have to be a doctor/lawyer/teacher because that's what everyone expects of me.
However I have realized that what we imagine everyone thinks about us and what they actually think about us are often very different.
I'll bet you can think of people who make you feel badly about yourself, are critical and negative about your weight, your plans, your partner or your career.
The goodies that I'm sure you can name as well, are the ones who encourage you to believe in yourself and support your goals and dreams. They give you honest and encouraging feedback, that will help you appraise yourself in a more balanced, measured way.
Last night I had a very vivid dream that unlike most, I remember large chunks of and these pieces have been whirling around in my brain all morning.
In the dream a friend of mine, I'll call June and her young children came to view my house with the intention of buying it. As the children ran in and out, I traipsed behind them from room to room. I found myself embarrassed as June opened each door and encountered, piles of papers on tables, clothes and wet towels on the floor and general disarray on every surface. (This description would not be so far from the truth in some rooms in my house!)
At one point June discovered a door that was partially hidden from view by an armoir. I followed her through the entrance, puzzled and unnerved that I had lived in this house for years and had never noticed it, never mind looked inside.
What my visitor discovered was a whole annex of rooms full of possessions I had never encountered: brightly colored scarves decorating a wall, beautiful oak furniture, and Benetton color-ordered shelves. She was charmed by its view and nooks. She marveled at the space and dappled light from the windows highlighting the film of dust on the surfaces. She removed some deritus from a counter top and found a kitchen counter attached to these new rooms, revealing a whole new living space I'd had no clue about.
I tried to make sense of this treasure trove, that had been hiding just beyond my reach.
Then, as we climbed the stairs to the second floor, June started to describe her plans, as she saw inside each space. She planned to break down walls, modernize the bathrooms, and rearrange the roles of each room. Meanwhile I was focussed on scuff marks on the paintwork, clothes water-falling out of open drawers and worn patches of carpet.
Where I saw mess she saw beauty and potential. Where I had failed to see potential she already had grand plans. Whilst I was concentrating on the tumble of objects that were out of place she was being creative with that space.
My final memory of this dream was a feeling of panic. That having been opened up to the possibilities in my home, I was about to lose it.
I tried to reclaim it, to tell June the house was no longer for sale.
I had a sinking feeling that I had missed all these opportunities right in front of me in my own home, because I had not been looking at them in a positive way.
Now I am no interpreter of dreams, but this one made me sit bolt upright and think about how, what I might be seeing and thinking, others might view differently. My focus on the negative might dampen the possibilities for creativity and new ideas.
One thing I can say objectively: my sons' rooms ARE a complete mess! But for all the other rooms in the house, or ideas in our heads, a fresh set of eyes to size up what we have been looking at for a long time can bring us a new perspective.... not by a naysaying detractor, but by an honest, supportive friend, who might have a whole different take and has our best interests at heart.
Imagine going to a museum and looking at a Rodin sculpture or a Terracotta soldier. Imagine only viewing it from the front at a distance. In doing so you miss the opportunity to observe its fine details, look at it sideways on, or to walk behind it and see the folds in its clothing or the flowers the artist has created behind its back.
And so it is when someone else (one of the goodies on our list) who is not bogged down by our inner voices, is able to describe what we are seeing through their eyes. They can open up the possibilities for us and show us another viewpoint, option or angle, that from where we are standing we ourselves are unable to see. That is what I think my friend June was doing, in my dream.
So how do we get this input about our projects or plans or ourselves?
How do we find another viewpoint before what we have, disappears or goes up for sale?
Well we may have to be brave and ask some of the goodies we know and trust, what they really think about our hair color/ career plans or bungee jumping goals. We may be surprised to find that they have great faith in us, are able to bring us comfort and encouragement and they may even want to come along for the ride!
And as for the boys' bedrooms? Well even the goodies will tell you, the boys will just have to clean up after themselves.
Have you ever had a vivid dream, that has made you stop and think? Give me your feedback and honest perspective. You're all goodies on my list!
Have a great week
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