It is human nature to judge what we experience through our own personal lenses. I’ll give you an example. Let’s say you open your monthly therapy bill from me and see that I have charged you for a session you did not have. What you automatically think about this is dependent on your lens. Here are some possible lenses: 1. She made a mistake. It’s okay. I trust she will fix it. 2. She made a mistake. I better show her proof that I wasn’t there because she might not believe me and make me pay for something I didn’t get.1. She made a mistake. I’ll let her know and she will easily correct it. 3. She overcharged me probably hoping that I wouldn’t notice. People are always trying to get over on me. 4. She overcharged me because she is squeezing me every chance she gets. This stuff is too expensive anyway and it doesn’t help. I’m not going back. 5. How dare she overcharge me! This stuff doesn’t work anyway. I’m not paying this bill and I’m not going back. There are a zillion more lenses I could guess at, but YOU get my point. Your lens is based on your upbringing, your learning, your experience, your biases, your beliefs, your emotional state, your situation, and your internal compass. Everyone has a unique lens. Beware the lens through which YOU see your child’s behavior. For example, if you see your child’s chronic lying as immoral, manipulative, hateful, offensive, soulless or criminal, then YOU might react personally with anger, hopelessness, harshness, punishment, or cruelty. If you see your child’s chronic lying as the outcome of a hardwired brain reaction to fear of being “in trouble,” caught, exposed, rejected, seen as bad, or unloveable, then you are more likely to respond with empathy, understanding, careful correction, and comforting. There is a huge difference between the first and second response. One will ultimately create “felt safety” in your parent/child relationship, while the other will contribute to maintaining the cycle of fear and more lying.
Love Matters, Ce Eshelman, LMFT
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