This post is part 8 of the series 31 Days of Lessons I Learned in Therapy.
What is your outlook on the world in general?
Do you see strangers as potential new friends? Do you see new places and experiences as full of positive potential?
After I discovered the subconscious beliefs I’d assimilated, I began to understand that I viewed the world as a frightening place where danger lurked in every corner and could pounce at any moment.
My perception of the world as a dangerous place impacted my day-to-day living.
I dreaded meeting new people. I always ended up feeling tense and wary as I struggled to determine whether this person was friend or foe. Because of this perspective, I avoided being thrust into situations where I would have to speak to strangers.
Take, for example, banking. The following is the order in which, given the choice, I would conduct my transactions:
- Bank online.
- Go to an ATM.
- Use the drive through.
- Go inside to the teller.
If I couldn’t avoid dealing with the teller, I was uptight, nervous, on edge, and waiting for a negative reaction from the teller. Most of the time, nothing bad happened, but I was always sure that the potential existed.
Once I understood that my view of the world was darkened by past experiences, I made another important discovery.
If I view the world as dark and dangerous, it is.
You see, what I expect is what I will find.
- When I subconsciously believe that everyone in the world is out to get me, I will view all interactions through that lens and will see every negative experience as confirmation of my nagative bias.
- When I believe that an enemy lurks inside every friend (more about that belief later), I will always be looking for the knife to the back that I am sure is coming. And I will find the knife where none truly exists.
- When I subconsciously believe that people are generally kind and have good intentions, I will view all interactions through that lens and will see positive experiences as confirmation of my positive bias.
- When I believe the best of others, I am able to give the benefit of the doubt when I encounter grumpiness, rudeness, or other negative actions and attitudes.
This summer, a wonderful friend shared with me that she is deliberately approaching the world with love and joy, looking for the good everywhere and in everyone. She has noticed a change not only in herself but also in the way others treat her. She has seen more positive reactions and interactions than before she chose love and joy as her default attitudes.
I’ve worked to change my view of the world, too.
My friend’s experience inspired me to expect good from others instead of harm. I’m happy to say that, just as when I expected negative outcomes, I am finding that my expectation of positive outcomes and interactions are fulfilled more often than not.
How do you view the world? What type of treatment do you expect to receive from others?
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