“Misperception Interception” by Alli Mifflin-Groce, Communications Team Member, Unity of SA
I recently participated in the creation of a new Vision, Mission, and Core Values for Unity Church of San Antonio. I was excited and honored to be a part of the process. There were several valuable takeaways for me. One was an immense sense of pride in how each member of the team was deeply committed to finding the perfect words. I admired the way meanings and expressions were chosen to best describe who we are as a community. They were also selected to reflect who we strive to be and how we choose to live our lives in Oneness. I am a lifelong lover of words and their meanings and of how they fit together to communicate information, ideas, and emotions. Don Miguel Ruiz reminds us to be “impeccable with our word”. I witnessed nothing less while our new Vision, Mission, and Core Values were being created. The whole thing made me think about what else should we strive to be “impeccable” with? Surely our thoughts, intentions, and actions. But what about our perceptions? Is there anyone out there who hasn’t misheard, misread, or misinterpreted the words or actions of others? Just think of all the misheard song lyrics, simple typos, or misspellings that totally change meaning or intent.
As we all know, the road to transformation is paved with dreams, goals, plans, stumbling blocks, set-backs, achievements, victories and, perhaps most of all, advice from those who’ve gone before. If you have any doubt, try typing words like fitness, weight loss, dieting, debt management, financial planning, relationship tips, or parenting into any search engine and you’ll have more advice, opinions, and testimonies than you could read in five lifetimes. Pick your favorite bookstore, magazine, blog, or online news source. You’ll be overwhelmed with someone else’s ideas about how you can achieve your goals. I know from personal experience that not one of them has the “one” answer that works for everyone because it simply doesn’t exist. We each have to do our own exploration of all the tips and tricks and well-meaning advice to find what specifically works for us.
These last few months, I have been traveling a road of self-discovery, forgiveness, and self-care that is both multifaceted and taking place on multiple fronts. To name a few, I am settling into a new role in my family dynamic, seeking greater financial security and independence. I am also working towards a number of fitness goals and, perhaps more so than ever before, the advice pours in around me. I know that I am surrounded by loving hearts and faithful friends who wish nothing for me but that my greatest good is realized. I am grateful beyond words for that knowledge. Still, I find myself needing to step back sometimes and breathe. I need to ask, “Is this really what I’m hearing, or is what I’m fearing coloring my perception?”
A perfect example is a friend or family member who says “Go for it, make that leap, you can do it!” I can choose to take this as a faith-filled encouragement, or as an invitation to just dive off a cliff without a parachute or a plan. My perception is the key, you see; obviously, no one who loves me and wants the best for me would say “Just jump, it will all work out somehow.” But my fear can color every interaction if I’m not careful and impeccable with my perceptions. When I take a moment to think and clear away my own fears, I see that my friends, family, and community have faith in me and are encouraging me to have faith in myself. The moment that I stop to examine my interactions with others and allow fear to fall away, I see the love in each and everyone’s advice, tips, tricks, how to’s, and testimonies.
I have adopted this as a daily practice along with prayer, meditation, working out, eating healthy, saving my pennies, and telling those I love how I feel. That, as they say, has made all the difference. I encourage everyone to give yourselves this time to breathe and know that the Universe, God, Spirit, whatever you prefer, is working always for our greatest good even through the perhaps unsolicited advice of others. Choose love over fear.