Recognizing the difference between perception and reality

It was the custom in my family of origin to eat dinner every night promptly at 6:00 p.m. My brother wanted to play in a football league but practice would have required a 6:15 pm dinner schedule and that was not going to happen. Instead, my mother had him sign up for basketball - a sport my brother never had a bit of interest in playing. She sent him off to the local high school to sign up. She gave him a bouncy kickball to take with him to practice. His coaches took pity on him and brought him a regulation basketball to use, picked him up and returned him home after each practice.

We saw nothing unusual about this situation. This was part of our family system and we did not know anything different. Were we kids often disappointed when we did not get to do what our friends were doing? Yes, but that felt more like being ungrateful than living in a home with rigid rules for daily living.

As we inventory and unpack our life events, we may need some help realizing that some of the things that we thought were normal, or the things we blame ourselves for, were not as they seemed to our child’s eyes.

It is also likely that some of the patterns we developed as a result of our particular family system will carry over into all the other areas of our life. My worldview is profoundly affected by the family and culture in which I was raised. This PERSPECTIVE is so deeply ingrained that I am unaware that there may be other perspectives out in the world that would better suit my core values and my sense of self than the ones I was raised with. This tension between my own sense of self and the life I want to create and the world in which I was born into can contribute to my compulsions and eventual dependencies. They may be coping strategies (not particularly good ones) that serve as relief from the tension between what I have been told and who I want to become.

How about you? Are you absolutely content with your life? If so, great. If not, maybe there is more to the story than you ever considered.