Changing Your Perception Can Change Your Experience
Pre-covid, my wonderful husband and I were in Italy on a week-long bicycle trip. We dreamed up vacations where we could travel through Europe and be active. This was our third bicycle trip. We’ve now bicycled through Croatia, France and Italy. We’re thinking that our next bicycle adventure may be in the Dolomites or the Greek Islands.
During our trip in Italy, there was one day when we would be riding “the wall.” There would be three hills, one right after the other, with at least a 12 percent grade. 12 percent grade on a bike is steep. The third hill was the longest and steepest. If you didn’t want to ride the wall, you could get in the van or push your bike up the hill. To me, these weren’t real options. I wanted to climb “the wall.”
I began to climb and started telling myself that it was easy and that I could do it. I continued chanting, “this is easy, I can do it,” until somewhere along the way, I lost track of which hill I was climbing.
In my mind, I was on the second of the three hills. I focused on my mantra knowing that I still had the hardest climb ahead of me and that I could climb one more hill. When I got to the top of what I thought was the second hill, I realized that it had in fact been the third and final hill! It had been easy, and I had already accomplished the big climb for the morning.
Because I believed that the hardest part was still to come, the true hardest part didn’t seem so hard. My perception made all the difference.
The definition of perception is: “A way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something; a mental impression.”
Each one of us has the ability to change our perception about anything at any time. When we change how we think about something, it changes our relationship to it; and in turn, that changes our experience.
A few weeks after my only child died, I was sobbing and saying, “This is the worst thing that could ever happen.” Then a little voice in my head calmly said, “Now, is it?” This quiet voice got my attention. I immediately stopped sobbing and thought about what I had heard.
I brought to mind a few things that would have been worse: What if I had never had my son? What if I hadn’t had the opportunity to get to know him? What if I had never had the experience of being a mother? Realizing that my son’s death was not the worst thing that could ever happen changed how I looked at my loss. This change in perception helped me through a very difficult time.
Where in your life would it help to change your perception? Are you going through something, that if thought about differently, things would be easier?
When we make something “big,” by comparison, we are making ourselves “small.” What if we stayed aware of the truth that we are connected to a power that is greater than anything we may be experiencing? Because of this connection, we can remind ourselves that we are “BIG” and that our challenge is “small.” I know this isn’t always easy, but it’s worth practicing.
What is one small change in your perception that you can make today?
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