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I Thought She Was Mysterious But Actually She Was Just Depressed

We are all reaction machines. Something happens and we react. In fact, we can’t not react; our only choice is how we react. medium_3694927599Each of us reacts in our own unique way, based on our individual interpretation of “what just happened”—and we all may see it differently. That’s why, no matter how close we feel to someone, that person may react to the same situation differently from the way we react to it. The key is to accept that we all live in our own virtual reality, even though most of us mistakenly assume that the other person will see “what just happened” exactly the way we do. We forget that everyone has his or her own one-of-a-kind programming or “virtual reality,” which includes its own unique belief systems.


Our perceptions are formed or influenced by our past experiences. When we’re on automatic pilot–not mindfully aware about what we’re experiencing in the present moment—our default programming—the software with which our mind operates when it’s on automatic pilot—is running us. This default programming determines our reactions to current situations by evaluating them in the context of how we felt about previous situations it judges to be similar. It affects the way we see, experience, and—if we let it—react to the world.


When our default programming triggers us to misinterpret something in the present, no matter how wrong our perception may be, we view our interpretation as “the way it is”; we believe that our feeling is a fact instead of simply our interpretation.


For example, I was in a romantic relationship with a woman who was often quiet. At first I thought she was mysterious, and that was a real turn-on. She seemed wise, and her silence made her seem even wiser. I thought that she never needed to say or do anything because she was waiting for us “smaller brains” to work our way to her conclusions. I thought my perception of her was a fact.


It took me a couple of years to gradually recognize and accept that her mysterious ways were actually masking a lack of self-esteem and the depression that accompanied it. I also came to recognize that my misperception was an outgrowth of my own default programming; I had built her up in my mind because I wanted to see her as possessing something I was lacking.


Strong and Silent or Just Insecure?


A woman friend of mine met a man she experienced as being sure of himself, quick to take control, and a born leader—and she married him. Eventually she realized that her husband’s take-charge actions were a result of a deep-seated insecurity that made him too fearful to trust others.


Both my friend and I had partners who rarely shared their deepest feelings or apologized. We each thought our partners were so “together” (in the security department) that they didn’t need to share or apologize. Like me, my friend gradually realized that her first impression of her partner was based on her own lack of self-worth. Eventually we both broke up with our partners.


 What Makes a Good Relationship?


For me, the important point to recognize is that although our relationships start off with our first impressions, ultimately they continue or break up based on our attunement to each other. We may start out with a misperception of another person we become romantically involved with, but that doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed. The vital quality in a relationship is communication. If both people are interested in growing together, they can find common ground and learn to become attuned to each other and to fulfill each other’s needs. What broke up the relationships I described was the lack of attunement; we and our partners didn’t find a common ground and stopped sharing our thoughts and feelings, so we simply couldn’t be attuned.


I’ve learned that where you start out in a relationship is never as important as where you go from there!





  • 6 Feb, 2014
  • Posted by Steve Fogel
  • 1 Tags

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