Emotions Vs. Reality

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A couple of days ago, I was having a conversation with my friend, Jeff. Jeff is one of the ministers who performed the wedding for Marvelyne and I last month. He’s a pastor and has lots of training and experience in working with individuals who come to him with their problems and issues.

When we were talking about people, Jeff made a comment I thought was worth sharing. “Of course, when you work with people, you don’t deal with reality-you deal with what their perception of reality is. And their perception is often too tied up in their emotions.”

This is pretty profound on several levels. First, he’s so right. How often have you had an intense convo with someone who is simply not living in reality? I don’t mean schziophreniacs or anything, but people who have chosen to see a situation from their point of view, not from the holistic view of everyone else. A few years ago(okay, many years ago), I had a nasty break-up with a girlfriend. For weeks, I’d tried to tell her the problems in our relationship, why it wasn’t a good fit for us, all the while trying to be considerate to her feelings. Yet, when I finally had to be strong and break it off for good, all she chose to see was the moment of no return-that I was loud, that I was angry, that I wasn’t willing to listen. And she’s right…I WAS all those things. The reality, however, was that I’d been trying to get that point across nicely for a long while. Her perception, however, was that I was a jerk who sprung it on her at once.

How do we deal with people like this? Frankly, I don’t know. I’m a very black and white personality. That’ means I wouldn’t make a good counsselor like Jeff. Still, just recognizing that some people will come from a place where they are not able to see anything but their own viewpoint is part of the recognition process. For me, I try to understand where this person is coming from. Whether or not I can accept that as legitimate or not, well, that always remains to be seen!

Next time you’re in an argument or discussion with another, try to keep in mind they are coming to the table from one viewpoint: their own. Not reality, not rationality, just one viewpoint. Best of luck!

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