One of my all-time favourite TV shows is The Affair.
Apart from the great acting, it has a unique way of playing out its storyline. The events in the show unfold by viewing it through the perspectives of both the main characters, Noah and Alison. Each episode has a Part 1 and a Part 2, and each part gives you their unique perspective on the same events.
It can be both intriguing and very entertaining to see how differently the story is shown from each person's perspective.
The same event is altered to reflect how differently they recall past events and interestingly, how they see themselves and each other.
Whilst watching the most recent episode I got to thinking about how realistic this actually was.
How could they both have sometimes quite different versions of the same event?
But then I realised that this actually happens to us all of the time, without us even realising what's going on. And it's down to a simple truth about how we actually experience life day to day.
We all go through life living in our 'own world'. We throw this statement around a lot without realising just how much truth it holds.
Every day, we get up and experience the same things other people do, but we will have an entirely different experience of it, because we live that experience through our own thoughts. The very nature of thought itself, means no two people can have the same thoughts, or think the exact same way. It's why we can often watch the same movie as other people, but leave the cinema with an entirely different experience of it. Our thoughts create our experience, so when we're in a particular situation, or we're watching a movie, or having a conversation with someone, we're experiencing it all through our own thinking.
And because of this, no two people can have the exact same experience of something.
So with this in mind, the focus can switch from wondering why two people aren't thinking the same thing, and perhaps even thinking that there is something wrong with one of them because of that; to understanding that everyone will always be living in their own separate reality and it's 100% OK if someone doesn't think the same way we do.
When we stop wondering why someone isn't thinking the same way as us, we end up dropping all of the unhelpful thinking and reactions that we may have previously had.
We accept that they cannot think the same way we do, even if we believe it would be better if they did.
The natural consequence of this in our relationships, is that we become better listeners, better communicators and better at just being there and being present with whatever is happening in the moment, rather than wasting our time and energy wondering why our partner does not think or feel the same way we do.
We see through the illusion and accept each other's perspectives, rather than being annoyed by them.
If you’d like to experience this shift in your relationship and learn the secret to dropping so many of the often unnecessary and unhelpful expectations that we have of our partner and ourselves, then you’re going to love this.
Do you ever wonder about this? Do you wonder how you ended up in the life you are in right now, where things just haven’t turned out the way you thought they would? That your marriage is not how you dreamt it would be back when you were young, free and single. Do you reflect on your life and wonder what happened to being with the man of my dreams? What happened to being swept off my feet and saved by my Prince Charming? What happened to my aspirations of living with a great family life where the love for my husband effortlessly grows and blossoms every day? Why aren’t I living happily ever after? Do you then start to wonder that perhaps because your life isn’t like this, that maybe, just maybe, you’re not with the right person and perhaps you should separate so that you can start again and try and have that perfect, blissful marriage
with someone else?
From the moment we’re old enough to understand fairy tales, we are sold a Disney fantasy of how life should and will turn out for us eventually. We will struggle, and then miraculously our Prince Charming will come along and save us. And we will live happily ever after.
As we grow up, we continue to be surrounded by movies and books that sell us the idea of a perfect romance and a perfect relationship that we all then end up aspiring to. And then when we do get married, we naturally start comparing our own marriage to this perfect standard. Unfortunately, as our marriage matures, what then can and does happen is that we grow bitter and resentful that the man we have at home, no longer looks like the man of our dreams and is not similar in any way, shape or form to the image of the man that we are consistently exposed to and which is being sold to us as the ‘ideal’. We may all too often sit there, silently judging our spouse for not living up to the perfect standard that has been subconsciously indoctrinated into us from such a young age.
But what are we really comparing our husbands to? We’re comparing them to something that does not exist..