Our personal meanings

A Note From Dr. Beverly Nelson, Director

Every one of us experiences life in a different way. Sometimes we find some actions, words or attitudes upsetting; while others may find them normal. Has this ever happened to you?

Dr. Beverly Nelson (Photo: Michael Amici)You see: getting offended is very easy, but it is also a lot of work. How many times do you find yourself feeling angry, or even personally attacked, when somebody acts a certain way or says something that ‘bothers’ you? Do you make it a point to stay angry, or even react in defensive ways? Perhaps – hopefully – you try to talk to the person and find out what they really mean. Why not go the extra mile and explain why what they did or said bothered us?

We all attach particular meanings to every situation in our lives. We all have a history – it can be something as basic as hating the taste of grapefruit since infancy; and therefore not being able to stand the very smell of it when we visit someone else’s home. Sometimes it’s more complex; for example: we react badly to people who speak too loudly because we were raised in a very stressful and loud environment ourselves; therefore, when people raise their voice while speaking to us, we might get edgy and stressed out – and we may have a negative reaction, feeling disrespected.

Think about how many hours of your life are spent in discomfort and anger because of the personal meanings that you’re not sharing with others. Wouldn’t it be great if we could speak about these things, in a calm manner, so that we can all get along? This world is so wonderful in its variety and complexity – opening someone else’s perspective, and opening our own perspective, gives so much ground for understanding and diversity! Whenever we are in a situation that is uncomfortable, it would be great to open ourselves to the possibility of understanding what is bothering us and why; and, if necessary, we can share this with others. What a gift to give them the knowledge that allows for a better understanding of who we are; and what a joy to be able to see life, and its multiple situations, as opportunities for growth rather than anger-triggering events!

As always, I’m listening to your comments and questions! docbeverly@aol.com

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