I woke up in the morning to feel my inner chaos. Once again, I was overwhelmed by a blend of desperation and powerlessness. I couldn’t see an easy way out of this mess, a state of being I was well acquainted with.
This time, it was triggered by an accident: My car was hit by a waste collection truck. Although the damage was covered by insurance, it was too much to handle for me. I couldn’t help but panic. I had to spend the little money I had to fix my broken car hoping that the insurance company wouldn’t take ages to reimburse the amount. I had to fill in all those forms, and find a solution for commuting to work while the car was in the repair shop. All this struggle just to do a job I hardly could pay my bills with. I was paralyzed and close to a total breakdown. I couldn’t think clearly and I simply couldn’t stop crying.
So, I called my friend, the insurance broker, to get more information on how long the process would take. I was longing for comfort, just someone to turn to, someone that would tell me, I’d be okay. When I told him how desperate I was, he wouldn’t want to listen to me and shut me off rather quickly. I started crying again and ended the phone call calmly but with great disappointment.
I couldn’t understand his reaction. I knew, he was busy, but why would he show no compassion at all? How could he push me away, when I needed him the most? My whole world fell apart. I was so disappointed: I always tried to be compassionate – and just wouldn’t get much back in return.
I kept on pondering why he had acted as he did, and assumed that he must have felt offended and not trusted. Those thoughts made me even feel worse because I had caused a misunderstanding. Should I call him and apologize? Should I explain what was going on inside me?
When I was about to grab the phone, an inner voice held me back: Was there any need to call him? After all, it was me feeling bad, not him. Why did I care about the perception he had of me? Was I responsible for fixing misperceptions? Why was it so important to me what he was thinking about me? Why did I suffer from prejudices he might have against me? There was a turmoil in my head with all those questions.
And all of a sudden, I had the answer:
I had been running around fixing perceptions people had about me and others. I was convinced that it was my task to establish or re-establish fair perceptions. I spent a lot of energy to do so. What for?
In that very moment, I decided to focus on me! To spend all this energy on myself, not on others’ perception of myself.
Becoming aware of this pattern changed my entire life.
Now it’s clear: Whenever I’m tempted to fix expectations and perceptions in the outside, I take a look to my inside first.