After reading a blog article on the topic of 10 Ways Men Can Combat Sexist Entitlement in Public it brought to mind a life event of mine. First let me say that referencing the article does not mean I give the ideas my personal approval. I do believe that we should all look at our HAB (Habits, Attitudes, and Beliefs) and determine if they need to be changed to help first ourselves and by helping ourselves then help those whom we come in contact with in our daily lives. And from here it spreads throughout the world, one person at a time.
In this regard my story takes place forty years ago and involves two people who are known to each other but are not friends. By this I do not mean they are adversaries, they lived in different circles within a greater circle, within an even greater circle. The story begins while waiting for the buses to come and take them to their next life destination. It is spring time, and the air is warm, the sky light blue with those fluffy white clouds floating by. You know the ones people can see images in, and for a while, if we let ourselves go, we can float along with.
While doing so, on this warm afternoon a man, a boy really, staring at the sky, alone in a crowd of his peers, a woman, a girl really, walks up to him.
I break the story here to state my reasons for telling this story. People believe that the world is how they perceive it. This is not true. Perception is based on our position in the relation to the unfolding events around us. Our perception is not only determine by our physical location but our mental, emotional, and yes spiritual position as well.
The subconscious main purpose is to keep a balance between what is perceived through our senses and the picture of our world that it holds within the neurons of the brain. This picture is a creation, colored by a lifetime of events and the interpretation of these events by the individual. Anything that makes what we perceive diverge from this is filtered or masked so that the two fit together without causing discomfort.
It is important to understand what this discomfort is. Anytime what we perceive does not match our picture of reality we feel uneasy, we have a gut feeling that things are not right. And since most of us know that we should listen to our gut, that the gut is always right, we start looking for what cause of this feeling. We seldom look inside ourselves for the cause. Since our perception is external we look externally, it is how our mind works. We must come to understand that our feelings are triggered by external events but exist previously internally. If they did not we could not bring them to the surface so quickly. While our feelings are deeply rooted in us we are in full control of them. Nothing outside us can control them, we choose them based not upon perception but upon the filtered images that the subconscious allows the conscious mind to see.
Now back to the story.
The boy is slapped hard on his left cheek. After his eyes come back into focus both from his daydream and from the slap, he is looking into the eyes of his attacker. She cries, “Stop staring at me.” and swings herself around and storms off back to her circle, within the circle, within the circle.
The boy is left alone, not really understanding what has happened. Only knowing that his peers are looking at him and feeling somehow ashamed even while believing he had done nothing to merit it.
Who is wronged in this story, who is the victim, which of them had truth on their side, who could claim the higher moral ground? I do not know and I was he, the boy, the man, the daydreamer. I can tell you from my point, that up till the moment of the slap I had not noticed the woman, had not even seen her beauty. Then her beauty vanished with her and all that remained was the shame. What does she now think of this event in our joined life? It was the only interaction we two would ever have. Does she remember it to this day like me?
Why have I told you all this?
I go back to the issue that our feelings are deeply rooted in us individually and we control them even though they appear, at times, uncontrollable. We choose how we react. While I cannot talk first hand about the woman’s feelings we can imagine that she feels, insecure, loathing, self or otherwise, pride maybe contentment, after her action. The man, me, felt pain, shame, bewilderment. Each felt the emotions that were already inside them previously. My staring was the trigger that brought her feelings of pain, insecurity, maybe self-loathing to the surface, because any person staring at her was a danger to her self-image. My feelings of shame came to surface after being slapped by another person. Just as I would have felt shame if my mother had slapped me.
We need to understand that our feelings are not caused by these events in our lives. Our sub-conscious mind using our Habits, Attitudes, and Beliefs that have been molded over a life time uses these as a filter to make our perceptions of the world coincide with the picture of reality that exists only in our mind. These images of our day to day lives, that the sub-conscious passes to our consciousness, act as triggers to our emotions and only then do we allow them to surface.
More to come.
Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much. Smile!