My daughter looked at the pumpkins on the table and immediately declared, “Something is wrong with these pumpkins! Why did dad buy these?” She continued to comment for a few days how she did not like the bumps on them and felt they should come off. Her father had a different view and liked the pumpkins because they are unique and have character. They looked a bit more like squash rather than smooth traditional pumpkins.
It is just a small example of how we are each having ideas about how things “should” be and how we tend to make situations and others wrong when they don’t meet our expectations. Of course, our expectations come from our past experiences. My daughter had seen many smooth pumpkins and had never been exposed to pumpkins with bumps.
We are making these kinds of assessments each day. We continue to believe our assumptions and stories are correct and others are wrong. We see a polarized society and we face the same challenges in our homes. For example, I thought we should have lunch with my daughter and her friend. My spouse felt we should go out and give them time together and my daughter wanted to order in and eat in her room alone. We each believed our idea was best and the other ideas were “wrong”. When we listened to each other (after believing our idea was best, noticing our judgment and then shifting to being open) we found an easy solution. My daughter ate on her own, visited with her friend and we met for dinner together.
It is useful to notice how often we feel “right” and notice our ability to catch ourselves and be open to other ways. It is one of the most valuable skills both at home and at work.
Notice your sensations when you believe that an idea or something is “wrong.” Catch yourself from reacting and become curious about your expectations and shift to be open to new possibilities.