A friend of mine was thinking about re-painting her living room because she is not in love with the original color she selected. Although everyone she asks loves it, she was still lukewarm about it.
When we talked about it, which was often, I told her to trust her instincts and make a decision. That didn’t help because she couldn’t make up her mind and she would still talk about not totally loving the color. While listening to her, sometimes I would think, “C’mon, make a decision already.” But she wouldn’t.
As I was driving one day and thinking about how we, in general, vacillate about things (and of course I am no exception!), the light bulb went on in my head. This is a classic example of the idea spoken by Anais Nin – “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
My theory is that my friend’s mood is already in place when she opens her front door at the end of her workday. And how she perceives the paint color is dependent upon her mood. When she’s in a good mood, she feels good about the paint job. When she is cranky, she doesn’t like it.
I discussed this idea with her and invited her to do an experiment: for five days she would observe what kind of mood she is in before she opens the front door, and to gauge how she feels about the paint after she opens the front door.
The results were:
Day 1 – She was tired but felt okay, the paint looked just okay.
Day 2 – She was peaceful and the paint looked pretty good.
Day 3 – She was cranky and the paint looked terrible.
Day 4 – She was happy and felt pretty good about the room.
Day 5 – She was happy and the paint job was okay.
Afterwards, she told me that this had been a beneficial exercise for her. Although overall she was okay about the paint color, she wasn’t truly in love with it. She thought that if she came home and was cranky, ideally, she wanted to be cheered up by the room. Therefore, she got the clarity she felt she needed and decided to change the paint color.
And there it was. She was true to her decision and changed the color of the paint, and she has been very happy with it ever since.
I appreciated going through that exercise with her because I learned a lot about myself as well. There were times when she talked to me about the color of the paint and I was okay with hearing about it for the umpteenth time, and other times I felt so annoyed about it. She was, at all times, being her truest self, and, it was my own mood that was the driver on how I felt about our interaction.
When I’m cranky, many things look bleak or damaged. However, when I’m feeling good and balanced, those very same things appear to be just fine. So, what is constant and what is moving? I am moving. All of the time. The thing I am thinking about, whatever it is, is existing in its truest state, and it is me who is changing. My perception is changing, based upon how I am feeling at the moment.
If you are willing, try this for yourself. First observe your mood and then notice how you feel about someone or something. Chances are your mood will impact your perception. Again, everyone and everything is just being itself and you are the one who is doing the perceiving. And based upon your mood, your perception may change.
Finally, when you find yourself happy and balanced, chances are you will be at peace with everything and everyone around you.