Hosted by Jodi Hildebrandt
This episode is part 1 of 2. Listen to part 2 >
In this episode, Jodi differentiates between factual honesty (being truthful about external facts, such as “I have a blue car”) and emotional honesty (being truthful about my motivations and emotions, such as “I do not like the blue color of my car”). Boundaries are how we are emotionally honest with self and others. Emotional honesty means coming to know yourself. Knowing yourself enables you to create boundaries, which teach others (and self) how to interact with you in ways that are honest and safe.
Episode 50—Part 1: Perceptions, Emotional Honesty, & Boundaries
Welcome to ConneXions Classroom Podcast. We are so excited to introduce to you the opportunity for you to join us in a classroom setting where you will be taught the principles of connection. For those of you who have already joined us on the podcasts, and for those for you who have not, you are now ready to step into an extensive, hands-on, all-star classroom experience to better understand why you are experiencing and interpreting life the way that you do.
You will be introduced to the foundational principles of personal integrity, which are: how to live impeccable honesty, rigorous personal responsibility, humility, vulnerability, openness, willingness, transparency, and boundaries.
This is a 12-week intensive course that consists of meeting one time a week for two hours. You will be given six workbooks. In each workbook, instruction will be given to you on core concepts of how to live your life from a position of emotional honesty, Reality, Truth, boundaries, validation, being able to recognize your distortions, and how choice plays a central role in all of your experiences and emotional outcomes.
Some of the concepts covered inside of the classroom include: what validation and vulnerability are and how to animate those principles your life; how to live in Truth rather than distortion; how to recognize your distraction and your controlling behavior in your relationships; and how to live a life of peace rather than pain. Powerful concepts that change lives, beginning with yours.
Hundreds of people have participated already, and have drastically transformed their lives by living and being in Truthful, emotionally honest relationships. They report experiences of personal empowerment and emotional and mental sophistication being introduced into their relationships.
So, now it’s your turn to come and participate. This classroom experience will change the way you interact with yourself and others in powerful ways, giving you the tools and emotional sophistication to connect deeply inside yourself and invite other in your life to do the same.
Come and experience connection. Go to www.connexionsclassroom.com, and hit the “Go to Academy” button and sign up. I look forward to meeting you and connecting
Good morning and welcome to ConneXions Classroom Podcast for the week of April 11th, 2015. So glad you are here this morning with me. This morning, I want to talk about perceptions, emotional honesty, and boundaries, and how those three concepts interweave, and affect, and can compound each other—for lack of a better word, for positive and negative outcomes. I don’t like saying those words because it sounds so polarized, those two positions, but all of us have experiences that we really like and we really appreciate and we all have experiences that we don’t. Though all experience, I believe, is very neutral—it’s all there to reach us—there are still some experiences that are more pleasurable than others.
So, how do perceptions, emotional honesty, and boundaries all relate? And again, if I talk about something that you don’t really understand very well, go back to former podcasts because I have discussed all these concepts in great, great detail. So always go back and refresh yourself. So, being able to teach somebody about me, that’s really what a boundary is for; it’s there to educate another person about who I am, what my thoughts are, what my feelings are, what my beliefs, my standards, my morals, my ideologies—like where I stand, inter-personally and/or intra-personally, in this experience called life.
So, if I’m going to accurately be able to hold my boundaries, I must know how to be honest. And not just factually honest, but I must know how to be emotionally honest, and that’s way different than only being factually honest. I mean, I can look at something and see the facts of it, like I can see a car driving by, that is a fact, and this is the color of the car. And I can see that it’s a certain time during the day, and so I can talk about the certain facts, and I know what I’m wearing, I’m hearing birds singing. Or let’s say that I got a whiff of smoke and so I can smell smoke, I don’t know where it’s coming from but I can smell it, so I can hook into these factual pieces of data and be honest about them.
However, for many of us, we struggle with being emotionally honest with ourselves, and it is directly tied into our ability or inability, consciously or unconsciously, our inability or inability to perceive our world in such a way that is honest—factually honest and emotionally honest.
Now, when I say that, the thing that’s so wonderful about all of us is that we all have different angles, different ways that we come at things which is just delightful, I love that about people. And at the end of the day, there are Realities that are undeniable, so for example there is gravity that is undeniable. We all live by that principle.
Another principle that we all live by is that when we are dishonest, we feel pain—everyone one of us feels pain. And those of us that have numbed ourselves to such a great degree that we no longer feel pain when we are dishonest, it doesn’t meant that we don’t, it just means that we’re numb. And so, it’s a universal Truth that we all live by. And there are many, many more that all of us are bound to.
It’s one of the wonderful things about being human, is that we get to honor these particular boundaries that the universe has set up, and live accordingly so that we aren’t harmed. So, I want to learn how to be emotionally honest and how to be factually honest, and so therefore I need to be able to perceive my world in a very real way.
Let’s talk about what that looks like. How do you know how to stay in Reality, how do you know you’re perceiving Reality? It’s kind of an intriguing question, isn’t it? I ask myself that all the time, am I present? Am I conscious? Am I seeing what’s going on not—just seeing but hearing, and experiencing, and feeling what’s around me?
The first place that we’ve got to go is we’ve got to learn how to know yourself. And as you know yourself, you’re in this dynamic with learning how to love yourself. So, knowing yourself would incorporate—just a handful things—there are many more things but here’s a handful.
- You must be aware of your thoughts. Thoughts that are going in from other people, ideas that are coming in and what you think about those.
- What you say to other people, so what kind of thoughts you’re having around what you want to share with others.
- You also need to know what you’re feeling. And remember, your thoughts and feelings are intricately connected with each other.
When you have a thought, you’re going to have a corresponding emotion. It just happens that way. I kind of play with myself sometimes and I’ll intentionally have certain thoughts and just watch my emotions shift, it’s so fascinating how powerful our thoughts are, and then I’ll shift back to another thought and the emotion changes. And so, I like to play with myself: I have a home that I live in, and sometimes I’m there by myself and I can kind of freak myself out. I can say to myself, oh, my goodness, what if someone breaks in downstairs, what if I don’t hear them, what if they’re down there right now, what if they’re milling around in the weight room? I kind of can get into this fantasy and all of a sudden, I start feeling afraid, and then I’ll say stop, there’s nobody downstairs, the doors are locked, I already went down there and checked them, and even if someone is downstairs, I can take care of myself, and if someone has some intention to hurt me then so be it, that will be an experience I’ll experience, but don’t get myself all upset.
My feelings will change, they’ll just follow that line of thinking, and it really has empowered me to realize that our minds are incredibly, incredibly powerful, and the suggestions that we choose to follow create the emotions that we have. And they also create our perceptions. And so, I need to know my thoughts, my feelings, I need to know my perceptions, my expectations, my fears. I need to know how shame talks to me. I need to know the distortions that shame/pride speak in my head. And I also need to know where my wounds are, where the trauma in my life that I haven’t healed resides, and how that comes up. Again, there’s probably many other areas I need to know about myself, but this is a handful to start with.
So, as I know those things about myself, I then can move into loving myself. And so, how does knowing yourself equate into loving yourself? Well, loving yourself is not only about taking care of yourself physiologically, loving yourself also—and I would say more importantly—includes being able to love your soul.
So, how do you love your soul? You cant see it, you can’t touch it, you can’t go take it on a walk, so how do you do that? Well, what I believe, what I have experienced in my life and have watched over the years working with thousands of people is, teaching people how to love their spirit is teaching them how to be honest about all those things I just mentioned. Be honest about your thoughts, be honest about your feelings, be honest about your perceptions, and be humble, and be willing to acknowledge if something that you’ve done or said has offended or affected poorly yourself or someone else.
Know what your expectations are. Again, expectations are not bad things, they are something that all of us have because it creates meaning for our life, we need expectations, we just get to not put them on others. And so, I get to have all the expectations I want, and then I get to be responsible for them. And that’s where it gets a little tricky, that’s where it shifts into drama is that I have expectations and then I just unconsciously expect you to meet them. And here we go, I’m jumping into a drama cycle with somebody.
So, I need to be honest about my fears, the choices that I make, the outcomes that come from my choices, the wounds that I have that are not dealt with from my past that will continue to present themselves in your present—they really do because they’re trying to be evidenced, they’re trying to be healed. And a lot of us 1) don’t recognize that that’s what happening, and 2) we don’t know how to heal them, and that’s why we keep hanging onto them. And we also need to be honest about the distortions that I hear and that I agree with, or I follow, or I behave through my shame messages or my pride messages.
So, being honest about all those things equates to learning how to love your soul. And as you become aware of all those things I just mentioned, you then get to be responsible and share with yourself and share with others about what you’re going to do about all these things. Learning about them is one thing, being able to language them is one thing. But being able to take responsibility for them and put an action to them is a whole other ballgame. It really starts creating the character of the individual when they are willing to take responsibility for the things that they become aware of inside themselves, and hold their expectations in such a way that they say, okay, these are mine, I expect you to love me, however it needs to not be an expectation, it needs to be a choice that you make—you choose to love me.
Many of us are in are in relationships where we expect people to do that. Parents expect children to love them, and friends expect people to love them, especially lovers expect each other to love the other person, which is fine to have that expectation. However, you cannot demand it. And so it has to stop right at your border and not cross over into another person’s border. And therefore, it gives the other person an opportunity to choose to love.
And so, with being honest and choosing to be responsible for your own awareness around all those items—there were about seven items I just listed—you must be willing/humble to acknowledge that you don’t get to blame people, you get to learn how to validate self and other people, you must continue in this search or this willingness on your part to keep knowing yourself. It’s a constant process, it’s not like you reach this place of full knowledge of self and you’re done; every moment of every day can give you new information about you. And then, a very, very important piece that a lot of times doesn’t get mentioned is that we also, in this state of being humble and being responsible for oneself and being honest with oneself, we get to learn how to surrender what is not in our control. That is a very, very oftentimes painful thing to do, is to surrender what I can’t control.
As you know yourself and you learn how to love yourself, you will then become intimately familiar with your perceptions and you’ll know where to put your boundaries. And the other awesome thing about it is that you will have a lower propensity of going into drama. Drama is a very seductive place for many of us to go, all of us to go really. And if we’re not conscientious, we slip into that thing very, very quickly.
Let’s talk about those three components: perception, emotional honesty, and boundaries.
I have a handful of questions here from our listeners. One is what’s the difference between setting boundaries versus lowering your expectations?
We just talked about the only way to be able to set a boundary is that you must know yourself. And so, boundaries really have very little to do with someone else’s expectations. So, if someone else expects me to do something and so I’m concerned that I need to lower my expectations, and the Truth is that I may choose to lower my expectations but I need to know what my motive is. So, when I set a boundary, I have the opportunity to look at myself and say, why am I setting this, why is this necessary? I must know what’s driving me, what’s motivating me to do this, and again, boundaries are there to teach. They’re there to protect but they’re also there to teach. So my boundary I put up, the boundary I set is to protect myself from impending physical, emotional, spiritual, financial threat or some kind of danger, and/or it’s there to teach myself and another person about where I am. It’s kind of like here’s my fence and people can see it like, oh, there’s the person’s boundary.
When they ask, what’s the difference between setting a boundary versus lowering your expectation, you get to choose whether you’re going to lower what you expect from yourself or what you expect from another person.
Now, I just got done talking about that you need to keep your expectations at your borders, and that’s true and you can have expectations of an entity or a person that you can keep high, you can keep your expectations high for that experience, or that person, or that thing because you want them to show up a particular way or you expect that they’re going to show up a particular way. But they still have choice, it doesn’t mean that that will happen, it just means that I am going to anticipate that they will show up this way.
So, for example, I have an expectation that the sun will rise. I have no history of my relationship with the sun that it doesn’t rise every morning. I mean, yes, as the season changes over the year, it comes up later in the day than it does in the summer time where I live, and for some people who are listening to this, it will come up earlier in the winter time. And so, there’s this relationship I have, and I have an expectation that that will happen.
I have an expectation that I won’t get sick, and so if and when I do become ill, I don’t lower my expectations like, oh, well then I shouldn’t expect to not get sick, I just take responsibility for what’s going on, I get the help that I need, and I stay conscious and aware of what I need to do to heal.
And so, it’s totally fine and it’s actually really, really healthy to keep expectations high around certain things in your life, and also specifically around self, like I expect myself to be rigorously honest, I do. Now, am I all the time? No, I’m not. I don’t know how to do that, but when I become conscious of something that I have not been completely forthcoming around, I will hold myself accountable and self-correct. And if I need to, I’ll go back and talk to whoever it is I’ve talked to and disclose to them that I wasn’t completely forthcoming and I need to give them more information, so basically I’ll go to them and say, “I withheld information,” or, “I distorted information.” And it’s not a bad thing or a wrong thing, it’s a human thing. So, when you become sensitive to your lack of rigor around honesty and being accountable, just clean it up, clean it up quick. There’s nothing inappropriate about it, it’s what helps you become really aware and connected to knowing and then loving oneself.
So, if you choose to lower your expectations, oftentimes, it means that you’re losing enthusiasm around something or you’re losing hope around something. Not all the time, but it can mean that. Or maybe you set too high of an expectation, like I expect my two-year-old to go to Yale, that might be too high of an expectation. But to expect them to go to college, that’s fine, to expect them to get an education, to expect them to always be seeking out new information and learning, those are fine expectations. And not that going to Yale isn’t a fine expectation, but to look at a two-year-old and then place that kind of ceiling on them could be a setup for disaster, for you and that kiddo.
So, you’ve just got to look at why you’re doing what you’re doing, why are you putting your expectations in certain places? And your expectations can be connected to boundaries in that they might have a direct tie together or they might not. And so, look at your boundaries and see if you agree with where you’re putting it and why you’re putting it there, and then check and see if you have lowered expectations for yourself, or something, or someone else, or if you feel like you have raised them, and just know why. That’s the component, that’s what ties those two together, is you must know your motive around your boundaries and what you are expecting.
Another question. This person asked, I’m having a hard time separating what I have been taught is right versus what is actually right. I feel it’s hard to change unless there is a good example of what to follow. Where have you found grounding Truths to govern your life and what are some of them? That’s a challenging question, like what this person has been taught is right versus what is actually right.
So, what I would say is that all of us have been raised in particular environments and so in those environments, we’ve had many, many people who have affected us, who have influenced us. And they have taught us “what is right,” and I have no idea what this person has learned is right versus what is actually right, but that is an individual, personal journey for this person. And so, I want to go back to what I was talking about before, of understanding your own thoughts, your own feelings, your perceptions, your expectations, your fears, your wounds, your shame. You must understand that in order to be able to maneuver that question because you could have been raised in a very abusive household or a very neglectful household. Or let’s say you were raised in a very loving, connected household but maybe the environment you work in, or the school you went to, or distant relatives lived in a lot of distortions and so you get to always go back to self and keep recognizing like, what does that feel like, what do I think about that, does that feel like that is the Truth to me?
[00:25:22] The Distraction Cycle
I want to share with you what’s called the Distraction Cycle. I think it will be helpful right here with this question. Whenever I go into a situation, I’m trying to figure out what is true versus what is the Truth, that’s kind of what this person is asking, like how do I discern between what I was taught was right and what is actually right? I would take those two statements and make it into what is true versus what is the Truth. Let’s talk really quickly about what is true.
So, what is true is my perception, so the words true and Truth are different. True incorporates my feelings, my perceptions, things that are changeable, things that can be flexed, or moved, or can be altered in some way. And so, true can be changed—I like the color green and then the next day, I don’t like the color green, so that is something that I can change. So, green is not the best color, it’s just for me, I like the color green. And I can flex on that and either not like it one day or continue to like it, but it’s not The Truth, it’s not an eternal or a factual statement of Reality.
So, Truth are things that are quantifiable, things that you can go back and see evidence of. Like I said, it’s based on eternal principles and it’s something that is irrefutable.
So, knowing the difference between true and Truth is very, very important because as you go throughout your life, you’ll be able to say, okay, what is true here? So, it’s true that yesterday I was driving in my truck—actually that would be the Truth—and as I was driving along I turned on the air conditioner and it didn’t work. Those are all Truths. And I was concerned. I had thoughts of this isn’t good, I wonder how this thing broke, how much is it going me to fix it? Those are trues, T-R-U-E.
The Truths were I was in my car, it was 3 o’clock in the afternoon, I was driving down the road, and I turned on the air conditioner. Those are all Truths. And I now I start interpreting what those Truths “did to me” or caused me to experience. So, that’s where we have got to separate between what is real, which is what is the Truth—facts—versus our perception or impressions of the facts, because we will mix our story lines all together and we’ll be telling a story and we’ll tell it as thought it is the absolute, God-honest Truth. And we’ll be weaving our perceptions in and out of those facts. And this is again, another place where drama happens.
Let me describe what I call the Distraction Cycle to you. And if you’ll get a piece of paper, I want to give you an image of what this things looks like. All of us are having experiences all day long. Our senses are taking in data constantly and giving us experience. And experience is very, very neutral. It’s not biased, it’s just what happens, like I was in my truck, I was driving down the road, I turned on the air conditioner, those were all experiences I was having. And then, all of a sudden, I put meaning onto those experiences, I personalize those experiences, and I will either go into one side. Let me describe this left side, so get your paper out. Write “Experience” up at the top and then make a half circle and draw this arch and then put down the word “Distraction”. And underneath “Distraction” put down “Shame, Fear, Pride.” And then, underneath that put down “Control, Fear” and kind of make a circle right there and put “Control” and “Fear.” And then, on the bottom part of that circle, write down “Distractions.” And then in parentheses put “Fantasy.”
And then, as you go around that circle, on the other side of the circle write down “Setups.” And so, you’ve got a circle that the top says “Control” and “Fear”, the bottom part says “Distractions (Fantasy).” And then as you come around the left side of the circle, it says, “Setups.” And so, you’ve got this cycle of fear, control, distractions, and setups.
And then, go back up to experience and make another arch so it comes down the other side of the page, and write the word “Truth,” And then underneath “Truth” write “Fear, Anticipation, Excitement.” And underneath that write “Humility.” And underneath that write, “Deconstruction of the Distortions and Fears.”
And then, in the middle of those two columns, so you have “Experience” and you have a column on the left side going down, you have a column on the right side going down, write the word, “Choice.” And I’d put lines from choice to all of those words you just wrote down, because choice is what is going to allow you to go to either of those places.
So, as you’re having experiences, you are constantly in this relationship with choice. And you can either distort the experience or you can keep the experience in Reality or in the Truth. And so, how do you know what you were taught is what is right or what is right? Again, it is a personal experience that you have with yourself. And as you go through this personal experience, you must be honest with yourself. This isn’t about following someone else, it’s about having your own personal relationship with the feelings you have inside yourself that tell you whether what you’re doing is correct or not.
Everything that I teach is an invitation to come back to you and really be honest with yourself about how you feel when you make certain decisions. And so, let’s talk about this. I’m going to give a couple of examples. These are examples from my own life, and I want to interweave this Distraction Cycle through these examples so you can see how I have an experience and I can bounce in between Truth and distortion—back and forth, back and forth—with the choices that I make. And my responsibility is to be conscious to such a degree that I stay more so on that right side where Truth, and responsibility, and humility reside, rather than live in distortion and distractions and create more fantasy, and more fears, and more distortions.
Here’s an example. A couple of weeks ago, I was again driving and I had some car trouble, so I stopped at one of my favorite people on the planet, Rick—I stopped to see him and he looked at my automobile for me. He said to me, “Jodi, your tires need to be changed, they’re very bald.” And he was very concerned about it. He said, “I think you should be able to get to your destination and then come back through.” Because I had to go some place and then come back and pass by his place again. He said, “Why don’t you go to where you’re going and then you can back through and I’ll change them for you?” I’m like, “Great, that would be awesome.”
I drove to my destination and I pull into this driveway and all of a sudden, I hear this pshhhhh, this really loud sound. It sounded like some kind of pressure being released, I thought it was in the engine. And so, I’m walking around the truck trying to figure out where that’s coming from and there was a perfectly round hole that was probably the size of the top of a nail. It looked like there had been a plug in the tire and all this air was coming out of the tire. And so, I had an experience. That was my experience, is that I had a flat tire. And I was having all sorts of experiences prior to that but I want to hone in on this one. My tire is sitting there in this person’s driveway deflating. And so, in my head I’m trying to think about what to do, so I immediately put my thumb on the hole to plug it. I’m standing there with my finger on the hole thinking, now what do I do? And I had these thoughts of okay, what needs to happen? I was trying to stay in Reality. I need to call my insurance and have them come and address this issue. And then, I thought about how much is this going to cost if I do that versus what if I just jumped in the truck really quickly and drove it down the road to the tire place? I wonder if I could get there in time before the tire went flat?
I was having all these thoughts. Another thought was to pull out my phone and call the people who were inside and have them come out and see if they had something that they could stick in this hole to keep it from leaking anymore until I could get it to the tire store.
So, I was having all of these thoughts and I was trying to stay in the Reality or the Truth on the right hand side. But I also had thoughts of distortion. And my distortion was I can’t believe this has happened to me, this isn’t fair, these things always happen, this is such an inopportune time for this to happen, this is going to be so much money, I don’t have it, and why am I having this experience? This doesn’t seem reasonable, these kinds of things typically go on in my life and I feel like I’m cursed, kind of a thing.
I was having all of these distorted thoughts which were shame thoughts. I had a thought of oh, my goodness, what if I can‘t get this truck down to the place in time? Because it was a Saturday afternoon, what if they’re already closed? How am I going to get back home? I’ve got to go to work the next day, I’m going to have to have someone come down from where I live to pick me up and that’s going to be a lot of time, and effort, and money for them.
I was bouncing in between staying in Reality, and being sucked into this angle of distortion, and shame, and fear, and also pride. And so, I was bouncing back and forth between these two as I sat there with my thumb on this hole of this tire. And it was quite a sight.
My nephew came out and he said, “What’s going on?” And so, I told him what happened. He just couldn’t believe it, he’s like, “Wow, that is so amazing that you got a flat tire right here, you could have had it anywhere else.” And so, he started giving me his Reality, like how he perceived the experience, which was really helpful because it took me out of my distortions and my shame like, oh, yeah, that’s true, it is really “a blessing” that it happened right here in this driveway and not on the street somewhere where I could have been abandoned or stranded.
And so, as I was sitting there with my finger in the hole, he and I made some decisions. He decided to go to some neighbors and see if he could find a jack so that before the tire went completely flat, we wanted to get a jack underneath it to jack it up so we could take it off. So, throughout this whole entire experience, I was very conscious that I kept being—I would say seduced—I was being invited into this distorted place of how bad this was, and how it wasn’t fair, and how I don’t deserve these things to happen, and how I was going into this panic place of what if this, and what if this, and what if this? And I’m not going to be able to do this, this is going to be bad. And then saying, stop. Stop, stop, stop. Come back over to the Reality. The Reality is that you have a hole in your tire and that it needs to be fixed. That’s the Reality. You have all sorts of resources, and you can get help, and your battery is charged, and you can all different people, and you have insurance, and you’re going to be fine. You’re going to be inconvenienced, absolutely. Your plans are going to have to change for the day. And everything is going to work out in a way that is going to give you new experiences.
I give you that example just so you can see how quickly it is to bounce back and forth between those two sides.
Let me give you another example. Probably about a month ago, I had a client come back into the office and he gets into my office and he says, “Jodi, there is a mouse in your waiting room.” And I’m like, “Oh, dear. How do you know that?” He said, “Well, because I saw it. It ran across the floor.” I said, “Where did it go?” And he said, “It went into that office.” I knew there was a woman in that office and so I stood there in the hallway—and I was having an experience, so the experience was I was made aware that there was a mouse and I actually saw it run into the office, I saw it with my own eyes so that was the Truth—I saw it.
I was having this experience and so my my head went to don’t tell her it’s in there because she will get very afraid. I went into this place of distortion and trying to control. Look on your left side of your paper, I was trying to control. I was trying to control her fear, and I was thinking that it was okay to go into this “fix it” mode for her and that wasn’t my responsibility—my responsibility was to be really forthcoming and to allow this woman, if she saw this mouse, to respond however she needed to respond and not to walk in and act like I didn’t know what I was doing and be looking for it.
So, I went into her office and I said, “Stacey, I don’t want you to be alarmed but there is a mouse that just ran into your office.” And she was very alarmed—she jumped up and got on top of the desk. My heart just broke for her.
So, here I was trying to stay in the Truth by telling her what was going on and allowing her to have her own perception and her own experience instead of trying to control her experience, trying to control her fear. Now, some of you might be thinking, well, isn’t that kind to do that? Isn’t that appropriate to not alarm people? And I’m not suggesting that this principle applies to every single situation, especially this doesn’t apply to children, but adults to adults, we don’t get to control another person’s experience. We don’t. And so, I would say that across the board if you’re working with another adult, it it appropriate to give them the information that they need so that they can come into Reality, and experience Reality, to be present in Reality, instead of trying to “help them” or “rescue them” or “save them” any pain. That is an erroneous assumption that you 1) have permission to do that, and 2) that that’s what you’re doing, that you’re “saving” them or you’re helping them from being hurt. My angle on this—and again, I’ve worked with lots of people in lots of different situations—is that people have a right to know what’s going on, and it’s not up to me to decide what people should know or what they shouldn’t know.
And so, because people have a right to know what’s happening, we don’t get to withhold information in this attitude of well, I didn’t want to hurt them or I didn’t want to upset them. That’s just a controlling position on my part, and it’s typically I don’t want to hurt them, I don’t want to upset them because I don’t want to deal with their outcome. I don’t want to deal with them crying, or yelling, or screaming, or their fear—I don’t want to deal with it. So, in this illusion of “helping,” I give myself permission to withhold information, it’s kind like of a tangent I just went off on. But I would have you think about that and see if that resonates with you.
So, back to the mouse story. Here’s Stacey up on the desk and she’s kind of doing this stomping on her desk because she’s so freaked out, she’s just kind of shaking and quivering, the poor thing, I feel so badly for her. Sure enough, the mouse runs right across the floor, and she sees it, and she squeals, and she has sandals on so she’s a little bit more upset about this thing running around her office.
And so, even though that was an uncomfortable experience for her, she was able to stay in the Truth, the Reality, that that was in her office and that she was going to need to manage it, and all of us were going to support her. And so, from there on out, we found some other people who did some things that we were able to get the mouse out of the office.
I remember standing there in the hallway thinking, okay, what’s the Reality thing to do? Like, how do I stay in Reality? The gentleman that was with me, he’s like, “Are you sure you want to tell her?” And I thought well, no I don’t want to tell her because chances are she’s going to have a reaction that’s going to be like that, and no I really don’t but at the same time, she has a right to know, she has a right to know the Truth and then she gets to decide, she gets to choose what she’s going to do with it.
Now, I have no idea how much she went into distortion while she was up on the desk versus how much Truth she was in. It appeared that she was distortion because there really was no reason to get on the desk other than her fear “drove her” to jump on top of that desk. And so, her fear, her shame, her distortions were telling her that something was dangerous. And it really wasn’t dangerous, it was uncomfortable but it wasn’t dangerous, so she really didn’t need to get up there, but I can have empathy for why her distortion created the perception that she needed to jump on top of the desk.
So, we’re all having these experiences constantly. Let me give you one more example.
I was out on a cruise ship over the holidays and I get a phone call from back home. I’m thousands and thousands of miles away from my home, I’m over in New Zealand, and I get a phone call saying that my dog had run away. And so, here I was floating around on a cruise ship and my dog was running through the city. Here I was having an experience, I could do nothing. And so, after I got off the phone, I sat there and I thought, okay, I have no power to do anything, I can‘t make phone calls out and so I have no ability to contact anybody. I don’t even know who I’d contact. I’m really hoping that my dog has her collar on. So, I’m trying to stay in the Truth of what’s going on—if the dog hurt someone, I’m going to be responsible for that, I really hope that she doesn’t. I don’t know that she has the capacity of hurting somebody but she’s an animal, she might get threatened and do something that is not going to be good for her or me.
And so, I was trying to stay in the Reality of what was going on and I kept coming back to, and I have to surrender this, I have no ability to control what’s happening here. And so, it didn’t stop my mind from going over to the left hand-side though. I kept thinking of all these distortions, and shame, I remember feeling upset at the person who was watching her, and how could he let this happen, and doesn’t he understand that I’m going to be responsible for this, and he doesn’t care about me, and how could he put this kind of stress on me, and what was he thinking, and why didn’t he pay attention to her? I’ve never lost her into the city, how did he do that? And so, all these statements of feelings of upset, and frustration, and disgust, and pride, like I’ve never done that before, were coming in and I wanted to control it but I couldn’t. I was floating in the middle of the ocean, it was a really obvious thing that I had no control over. If I would have been some place else, I might have tried to attempt to control the situation.
As I think back on that experience, I see how my unconsciousness was supporting me to be drawn over to this left side of this dynamic and stay in distortion, and stay in pride, and fear, and trying to control things in my thoughts, and creating fantasies around I’ll never let him watch her again, and he doesn’t care about how I’m being impacted, and he doesn’t care about the dog, I wonder if he didn’t feed her and that’s why she ran away because she was hungry. I was making up all these stories in my head, and I had to keep coming back to saying Jodi, stop, you don’t know any of that. And the Truth is, is that your dog got out of the backyard and she’s running around the city, that’s all you know. Those are the only facts you know.
And so, on the right side, I felt fear, I felt anticipation, but I was able to go into humility and surrender, deconstruct my distortions and my fear, tell myself the Truth about them, and go into a place of surrender. But again, these few examples just give you a taste of how quickly we can bounce back and forth, back and forth, back and forth between this place of distortion, and distraction, and shame, and control, and fear versus Truth, Reality, responsibility, anticipation, humility, surrender, being able to tell yourself the Truth about the stories you’re telling yourself, deconstructing those distortions, and deconstructing the fear in those distortions.
And choice is the thing that drives you either direction. And so, again, it’s so important to know yourself so that as you’re knowing yourself, you’re practicing loving yourself, and as you do that, you will be able to consciously choose where you want to go in this dynamic.
Now, being human, you will always bounce back and forth between these two sides, you just will because you’re vulnerable. And you don’t have to live on that left side. A lot of us live there, it’s like something goes on, we have an experience and it’s like oh, well there it is again.
The hallmark of shame is to continue to “evidence” itself. And what I mean by that is, shame wants you to absolutely believe that its “reality” is The Truth. So, when you hear shame’s message say to you, this kind of thing always happens, or I cant do that because I’m not smart enough, or this means I’m bad, or she broke up with me and so that’s evidence that I’m worthless. Those kinds of statements want you to believe that they are the Truth, and they are not the Truth. They are distorted perceptions of experiences that you’re having, that the experience brings emotion that is uncomfortable to you. And so, instead of acknowledging the emotion is uncomfortable and here it is and I get to experience it, we want to hide from the uncomfortable emotion and pretend that the experience is actually an indicator that I am not worthy or not good, like the experience is the evidence of the “Truth” of my shame message. I hope that makes sense to you.
Here’s what shame tells you: the experience tells you that shame’s lie is the Truth. And it is not. Here’s the Truth, you ready? Experience is unbiased. Experience is something that happens to each of us. And then, we get to decide how we’re going to project, how we’re going to perceive every experience, and we can perceive it in Truth, and in Reality, and in humility, and taking responsibility for ourselves, or we can perceive the experience in shame, and distortion, and distraction, and fear. You get to choose. You can go either direction, and most of us, most of the time bounce between those two. But I hope that you more so land on that right side. And it takes consciousness for you to do that.
That is a lot of information I just shared with you, and I want to do another podcast that follows up with these concepts of perceptions, emotional honesty, and boundaries. I didn’t quite get to the emotional honesty piece and the boundary piece, but stick with me and on next week’s episode, we’ll be talking about emotional honesty. There will be a part two of this part one series around perceptions, and emotional honesty, and boundaries.
But my invitation for you this week is to carry that diagram with you or memorize it in your head and notice, every time you have an experience—which you have thousands of experiences during the course of the day—when you have experience, notice which side you go to. Just notice it. Someone pulls in front of you, where do you go? Do you go to I can‘t believe they did that, how dare they do that to me? Or do you go to, wow, I almost hit them, they must be in a hurry.
The Truth is that someone pulled in front of you. That’s it. It’s not personal at all. But the left side distorts it, like they did it to me. The right side just gives the facts—that person just pulled in front of me. Period. And it’s my perception that I almost hit them, it’s my true that I most hit them, it’s my true that maybe they’re in a hurry. But I don’t know any of those things, but it keeps me more on the right side where I can stay open to more data coming in instead of being closed and taking things so personal and going into shame. So, just notice, because experience is going to continue to happen, it’s not going to stop happening. It’s an opportunity for you to really practice living in Reality versus living in a place where there’s pain—not pain because pain doesn’t only come with distortion—but it’s like self-induced pain. Experiences can bring opportunities to feel pain, but so many of us have pain because we hold things in a distorted way which creates more and more pain.
That’s my invitation for you this week. Take care of yourselves, know I’ll be thinking of you. Thank you so much for listening to these, it really means a lot to me to get this information out to the world, and I hope it’s blessing your lives. And between now and next week, stay connected. Bye bye.
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