"My Perception is my Reality"
I do not know why, maybe its the Literature geek in me, but I have a big thing for context. Perhaps it is the curious cat in me. I can't say for sure, all I know is that I feel it is central to pretty much everything along with perception and perspective. I guess I better make like a philosophy and literature essay and define what I mean by these three words:
Perception: Ones interpretation and understanding of the world and all in it.
Perspective: Ones views and attitude towards what has been perceived.
Context: All the 'stuff' people do not necessarily see or understand behind the scenes of our lives, decisions and views. The 'cause' that results in the 'effect'.
Our perception on where we have been and what we have seen and experienced gives us perspective and makes us who we are today giving us the context to our lives. Cause and Effect. I see context as the journey which gives you perspective, if you like. It is interesting. I am on the never ending quest of knowledge and love nothing more than getting to know someone, what made them who they are, their context, their perspective and indeed perception on life. Such a treat it is to get to know and understand another human being and what makes them tick. Who cares if they think me a little eccentric and inquisitive- because, lets face it, I am!
One thing I have come to realise: we are masters of our own experience. And we use our experience to contextualise the world and interpret it- our perspective. Thus, what we know is always subjectively laced by our own experience, values and beliefs. The saddest and happiest feelings we ever truly know are of our own. We can sympathise and rationally acknowledge that a greater sadness or love may exist, but the greatest we know truly is our own.
I am aware this sounds like intellectual indulgence right now, but bare with me. There is a point that I am pedalling towards. I promise ya.
Although it may feel like we have the worst life, or the worst pain, or the worst luck, it is simply a case of being in the worst pain we know, and the worst luck. You do not spend every second with another person, shadowing their life and seeing just how unlucky they really are. And even then you cannot read their thoughts. If I may quote Atticus Finch "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."
Damn straight Finchy, and remember, there is a difference between understanding and fully experiencing. For example, I understand there are people who have a worse time with their endo than me, but in terms of my life, mine is the worse and I can't imagine it actually being any worse.
I may feel the pain I have experienced is the worst ever period pain imaginable: to be screaming uncontrollably having had 40mg of IV morphine, 20mg of IV Buscopain, codine, napoxine, paracetamol, suppositories, sucked three tanks dry of laughing gass and god knows what else every two weeks is pretty extreme. But I know that there are people who have lived with greater pain, being partly blown up, eaten alive, lost limbs slowly with blunt objects, torchered, the list goes on (fun thought I know, I know). I know there are people out there worse off, but I cannot imagine that kind of pain. Likewise people probably think I am being dramatic when I try and articulate a pain attack for the same reason. Its all about the context and experience of our own lives. So try and remember this if people aren't particularly understanding, they're experiences don't match yours... I don't begrudge these few people, I feel kind of sorry for them that they can't think beyond their own experiences.
I'm warming up to my point now, I promise.
Our experiences educate and inform us, they challenge our beliefs and open our minds. I held slight prejudices towards people that I felt purposefully went out and abused their body and abused good health with things I formally view as self inflicted such as eating disorders.
When you have spent time in hospital with kids who will never go to school- you tend to develop a fierce attitude to how precious life is and how lucky you are to have it- irregardless of what you are dealing with. I used to get angry at the thought of people throwing their health away because I knew children who had no health and no choice.
However, last year my prejudices were challenged (it is very hard for my to write this as I consider myself an open minded person). Due to privet reasons, I realised that things I previously thought of as self inflicted, such as eating disorders, in many cases are as inevitable, tragic and helpless, as things thought of as unlucky and predetermined, without choice like my endometriosis.
My experience taught me that something I previously had thought of as self inflicted, is not the case at all. In fact it is wrong, very very wrong. But I would never have believed that until I experienced it first hand. My perspective was challenged, changed and dramatically opened up.
Like Endo, mental health disorders are made taboos by the British Stiff Upper Lip (I would happily make you into a fat lip, you oppressive, close minded bigot).
I know this is controversial, but I believe this to be the truth: some people cannot help a mental health disorder no more than I can help develop endometriosis. Life is made up of cause and effect and our gene pools.
Something I was fiercely opinionated about and actually offended me, within a year my mind had been radically challenged and resulted in my opinion being changed, due to my experience.
The only time I struggle begrudging something is needless drug abuse. I understand the tragedy of addiction- but if you are the sort of person that can stop yourself getting there, then bloody well do. Because I would probably die for your body.
Although I am about to become a student, I know I will never try any drugs (I am not stereotyping all students into druggies here, just sayin'). Not because I'm a square. But because I appreciate the little health I have and will never do anything to jeopardise it. Plus the stuff I get on prescription is probably better and free anyway! So ha!
My point is this:
It is easy for people who suffer to begrudge others who seemingly have it easier and still moan. E.g. if my friends were to complain endlessly about cramps. But this is a selfish attitude to have because pain is relative to our experience and life isn't equal, and unknowingly I almost certainly complain about problems other people would die for.
This is the main thought that keeps me calm: I ask myself this- What do I really know of suffering? Have I ever worried for the saftey of my life? No. Have I ever worried when I will next have a meal or be able to have something to eat? No. If I get sick, do I know that I cannot access free healthcare to look after me? No. Will I always have a roof over my head? Yes. Are all my family still around me, live and kicking? Yes.
God, I am so lucky.
Instead, I like to think of my problems in terms of a global scale. I contextualise my suffering to put it into perspective, make me realise how lucky I am. When I look to the developing world, I cannot help but feel better, even, god forbid, thankful, as an educated, strong, happy woman living in the society that facilitates every opportunity. But I also bare in mind that not everyone has my perspective or experience and so when they are complaining about problems I may prefer to my own, I never compare and treat them with the same seriousness I do my own.
View your problems separately to your friends, do not compare who's are greater, it is very unhealthy, unhelpful and unproductive to do so.
So what is one person has a cold and the other has flu. Neither is going to detract or cure the other, so there is not point in involving egos. The base facts will remain the same, so you may as well get on the best you can.
I am grateful for the burdens I have carried because without them I wouldn't be me.
I use my strife to empower myself to view the bigger picture and view it positively.
Use your own experience to fuel your happiness and philosophies. You are in control of how you think and feel. Without turning this blog into Buddhist propaganda- "Every adversity, every failure, every heart ache, carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit."
You can become a victim of your history, or use it to fuel positive thoughts and proactively make your life better.
The worst pain you feel is no less valid that the worst pain I feel, or what Jow Bloggs feels.
It is that simple.
Life is all about context. And perception. Oh, and most importantly, perspective.
Be brave, Be happy, Think big and just be greatful for life,
All my love,