©2011 Joan M. Newcomb
I remember years ago coming to the revelation that most people are so preoccupied with their own stuff that they aren't even noticing yours. Later I realized that even when they're reacting to you, it's never about you. It's still their own stuff.
This is a good thing to remember as today I'm going to a family wedding.
It's been different for me, because I've gone to thousands of weddings, but only about five as a guest. As a wedding officiant, I get to show up for the rehearsal, and perform the ceremony, get fed a nice meal, and usually leave before they cut the cake.
Weddings are usually a chick thing, but I've never gotten carried away by them. My focus is as a minister, a professional. I think about the ceremony, the vows, the relationship and the blending of family.
Many women, I notice, go a little nuts about weddings. They all want to be involved, they all have strong opinions, and the focus is on all the external details. The invitations, the colors, the flowers, the food, the music, the decorations... I've forgotten something... oh, the dress.
I've been surprised at the things that have triggered me. Deep rooted family patterns are being played out unconsciously by everyone. I have my 85 year old mother staying with me, who's newly diagnosed with Alzheimer's (which she doesn't remember), and even she's noticed how others are acting.
Yesterday was the rehearsal dinner, and I got to see some family members for the first time many years. When seeing someone who I haven't been on speaking terms with in nearly a decade, I spontaneously gave them a hug.
Later on, I said to myself, 'well, I didn't expect I'd do that!'
And for the rest of the evening, I felt curiously devoid of story. None of 'they did this, I'm right about that' stuff floated through my head. I noticed others with their own stories, towards me, towards my mother. And it wasn't about us.
From the moment we're conceived, we start absorbing and creating pictures about ourselves and the world. We are constantly viewing things through these perceptions. It's never entirely accurate. There's always a distortion somewhere. The stronger the conflicting feeling, the greater the untruth you are looking through.
There isn't anything you can do about other people's impressions. If a number of people believe a rumor about you, it's like a wildfire of lies. You'll go crazy trying to put them all out. The best you can do is stand in your own Truth, and clear your own viewscreen.
Because it's never about them, either!