Not only is perception about what the mind can comprehend, but I believe it also has to do with what the mind holds to be true. They are similar, but quite different.

It seems that the start of a new year can easily get people trapped in a space of what things “should” be like or how to make things different. Or even meeting the supposed expectations of others. If we get sucked in to this mentality, we miss out on incredible opportunities.

I also find this concept to ring familiar in terms of how we are supposed to feel…emotionally.

When we feel a little “off”, the perception of how others receive us is colored in that light. For example, in the midst of feeling disconnected and sad, I had an exchange with a friend and felt as though I should apologize. For what? Good question. Apparently the limiting belief I’m working through is that I need to apologize for not being ‘happy’. It’s the sense that my own discomfort with feeling sad and disconnected makes other people uncomfortable…which may be true. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have permission to feel how I feel in any given moment. The apology would be needed if I inappropriately acted out on those feelings.

There is also a sense of accountability for how I’m feeling. It’s not fair to blame someone else for how I feel (i.e. he/she did this and made me sad) or hold someone else responsible for making it better. There’s a quote I once read to the effect of, “The wound may be somebody else’s fault, but the healing is your responsibility.” I get to choose, in any given moment, how I respond and allow my emotions to move through. Sometimes the most important thing I can offer myself is permission. Permission to feel sad. Permission to feel disconnected. Permission to feel. Period. Resisting the emotion tends to make me more uncomfortable.

I also have noticed that some of my resistance to feeling what I feel has to do with my fear of how someone else will perceive or judge it. The adult logical mind doesn’t always make room for feeling. There is an inner judgment that how I feel is not ‘correct’ for the situation. The real deal is that there is something deeper within that is needing some care and attention.

I am finding the road of grief to be an interesting one. You may or may not know/recall that my beloved lab Wolfgang passed on in September. He and I were practically inseparable for close to 15 years. There is truth in the fact that the deeper you love, the more deeply you feel pain. I am noticing that there is judgment around feeling such pain and loss for a dog. (Adult logical mind speaking.) I am also comparing the grieving for Wolfgang to grieving the loss of my Dad who passed away close to 19 years ago. It’s not even close to a fair comparison for so many reasons, yet I find myself going there.

One of the many things I am learning from this is that the pain of losing someone I love so dearly is bringing a guardedness to my heart. I am inadvertently keeping a safe distance to not have to feel that kind of pain again. There is a fear of letting other people know how I am feeling about this loss because of how it might be perceived. So here I am…stepping into that fear…and letting anybody who reads this know where I stand. It’s out there. It’s more important to me to open my heart to loving deeply and vulnerably than concerning myself with how somebody else will perceive me.

My own guarded perception is (mis)leading me to see what I no longer have in Wolfgang’s physical presence instead of embracing what I do have. I am blessed with friends who walk with me through life, experiencing all of the ups and downs. I am finding my way back to vulnerable love and connection to my heart.

Give yourself permission to feel how you feel.

You deserve to listen to your heart and be true to you.

May we ALL find our way back to vulnerable love and connection to our hearts.

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