When I lived in Arizona I had a job not too far from my house so I usually went home for lunch every day. I enjoyed being able to leave the office and be in my own space for a bit. Even if it was only for a half hour. One particular day as I was heading back to work I saw the cover of my husband’s golf bag in the driveway. I thought it was odd but got out of the car to put it back. However, I didn’t find his golf bag. “Hmm” Uncertain of the situation I returned to work pondering the oddity of it. The pondering was interrupted by feelings of overwhelming violation once my husband confirmed that his golf bag was gone, as were a number of other things.
We had been robbed!!
Shock, guilt, and feelings of violation overwhelmed me. I had left the garage door opened and the house unlocked while I ate lunch. I felt safety and danger mix. I had been kept safe but I could have been hurt if the thief had entered the house.
Being stolen from feels awful. It attacks your trust muscle.
Home is where you are supposed to feel safe. Not only physically but emotionally. Sadly that is not always true.
What about relationships?
Good relationships are the ones that we feel safe in.
In fact getting to that place of safety within a relationship has requirements and obstacles. One of the biggest requirements for safety is trust, and one of the biggest obstacles is misunderstanding.
I have had success and failure.
I felt robbed growing up.
I never felt the love I deeply craved. I never felt my feelings were valid. I never felt my voice held any sway.
I felt robbed of value at the hands of many.
After growing up I held deep feelings against my mom and blamed her for many things.
A few years after I got married my mother invited me to lunch and asked me a question. This single act by her changed the trajectory of our lives.
She simply asked me if I wanted to be friends. I responded that I did.
That day we began to build a bridge.
The major components to building that bridge were vulnerability, questions about perception, understanding, empathy and forgiveness. Knowing that we held the same goal of connection gave us the bravery to unpack our perceptions in front of each other.
We explained how we felt when the other one had done something we were hurt, angry or upset about.
We saw through each other’s eyes and learned our misperceptions told us lies about each other. Understanding removed the perception of malice that fueled the anger behind the pain.
My mother and I became extremely close.
I give her the credit to the success of the bridge.
My father died before I could finish growing up.
Before he died I felt unloved and after I felt abandoned.
While I wrote my book Emerging With Wings I learned how to process those feelings with the help of a counselor. I shared with her my reasons, my guilt and how I thought my mom had told me he loved me when we built our bridge.
But I lamented that I wasn’t sure if I was making it up simply because I wanted it to be true.
She helped me address perception…
…because we react to what we believe is true whether it is true or not.
“Perception is reality to the one in the experience.”
A few months ago my daughter found a scrapbook my mother had given her with bits of information and a few photos. In this book was written Your grandfather loved your mother very much.
When my daughter showed me, a flood of emotion followed. Gratitude, validation and the feeling of being robbed.
Robbed of knowing that “very much” love because I failed to perceive it and my opportunity to build a bridge was gone.
I had two brothers growing up.
One I adored and the other became almost like an enemy. I have no idea why I adored the one. I perceived him my hero for unknown reasons. Sadly he passed and opportunity to know the truth is lost.
The one that became like an enemy actually acted on my behalf many times and I failed to see. He suffered in similar but different ways as I did growing up but we hid that from each other.
Until after some small baby steps of connection I opened up to him while writing my book.
We took courage and shared our differing perceptions and built a bridge.
After he read my book he sent me a text saying …we have been separated by lies for over 50 years. I love you. I still weep when I read that.
Everyone deals with inaccurate perceptions but we are not always aware of them. People process information differently and unless we open up and share – we become robbed.
When we think we know what people are thinking without them saying, we are wrong in what we believe – we are believing lies. Lies separate.
We all see differently – look how perception changes things: CLICK HERE
You have heard of a generation gap. Today I just learned a new term. A Perception Gap.
My mother and I bridged the gap.
My brother and I bridged the gap.
My dad and I had a perception gap we never had the chance to bridge. I was robbed.
“The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy.
My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.”
Jesus (John 10:10 TLB)
Have you been robbed? Do you still have an opportunity to build a bridge?
Please share in the comments or send me an email.
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Free download of Dare to Believe.