Saturday, January 9, 2010

Polarity & Perception

I just had a disagreement with my best friend - or rather she had one with me. There is a difference after all. I was dropping her at a friends house and asked which way she wanted me to go. She responded with "Risa, you don't know how to get there?" Of course I did. I know many ways to get to any place. I told her normally she's driving so I don't pay attention to that particular route she wanted us to take. Somehow the conversation turned to "Risa, when I ask you how to get somewhere, I ask what the best way is." I responded that "the best" way is relative to a person's definition of best. She said "Fine. The fastest." Even then, it depends on the time of day because of traffic. Then it turned to "Risa, you always have to debate and argue. You always think you're right, and I'm wrong." Which couldn't be further from the truth.

When I was little, yes, I saw a very black and white world, was extremely opinionated and argumentative. Over the years I've learned to see the various shades of gray in between however it hasn't been until recently that I've truly made an attempt to shift my own perception and do away with polarities. Good vs bad, right vs wrong etc. Because the truth is, polarities only exist if we allow them to. Perception, is everything.

I was not trying to argue nor debate. I was simply pointing out all the variables. I may not have a desire to get somewhere quickly, instead, my desire may be to take a road without a heavy flow of traffic so I have the option of driving 10-15 mph and taking notice of what I'm driving through. That may be the "best way" for me to go at that moment. As I said, perception is everything.

Growing up, my mom always took different routes to take us to school or on errands. And because of that, I know my way around nearly every neighborhood in San Francisco. Too often, I find that we (myself included) rush through life. When you focus on the destination, you miss the best and most important (IMO) part - the journey. Cliche but, true. Anything can happen in the future. We don't even know what's in store for any of us so rather than stress over something that hasn't even happened yet, focus on today. When you're so concerned about the future (or past) - both things that don't even exist; illusions - you miss out on actual Life as it's happening.

I was going to write more. I may come back and add to this, but I lost my train of thought.


  1. I've had silly arguments like that with friends before, but I think she was probably already a little irritated and you taking a route that was unfamiliar to her may have just set her off. What you said about best being such an opinion based word, I have to agree,

  2. i have that same problem...i get told that i'm argumentative and always have to be right, but really i am just trying to point out all of the variables. if i'm wrong i'll go ahead and say so, but that's not my goal!!! so frustrating, right?

  3. I have that problem a LOT, but I'm a Scorpio, so a lot of how I determine "best", "right", "wrong", etc. is based on how I'm feeling. I tend to not be very analytical that way, whereas others tend to think of things in terms of "shortest = best" or "fastest = best", I might think more in terms of what you mentioned- if I want the scenic route because I'm feeling pensive and perceptive, or maybe I want to travel the way with the least traffic because I'm feeling claustrophobic and antisocial, even if that means it takes longer. Not all of my friends get me, but I definitely have been told that I am "argumentative" or that I either have a hard time admitting others are "right", or thinking I'm the one who is always "right". I just don't see things so black and white. I'm not analytical, I'm emotional :)

  4. That conversation with ypur friend... well, it just sounded like the kind of conversation I get involved in so many more times that I would like to... I hate it when it happens, is like if you want to be kind and, at the end, they make you feel like if you want to bother them more than help them.

  5. It sounds like your friend was waiting for an opportunity to bring up that she thinks you argue and debate too much. She probably got mad at you for it recently and was waiting for you to do it again to mention it. She probably saw this as her window of opportunity even though from an outsider's perspective it was completely out of left field.

    She is reacting to experiences in the past, while you are reacting to the current situation.

    From your recent posts about friends I think you would really enjoy the book "Friendshifts."

  6. I totally relate. To everything. :)