Today, while talking to a friend, I was struck by the difference between “real” vs “perceived” especially when it pertains to emotions.
Take social isolation or loneliness for example. The definition here in Holland includes ” the perception of being alone, the difference experienced in the amount or quality of contacts one would like to have versus the amount or quality of contacts that one does have.” What I’m trying to say is this. Someone may feel really lonely but be surrounded by people. So the “reality” of the situation is that there are plenty of friends around, but the “perception” of the situation is loneliness. Does that make sense?
Why am I even bothering with this explanation? Well, I was talking to my friend about how my total lack of energy and jitteriness has come about. Because really, if you look at it, my life is not all that bad. I’m at home two days a week. During those days, realistically speaking, I should be able to keep a relatively neat and tidy house. I have two older kids who don’t need me to chase after them with clean diapers and such stuff. I have a job I enjoy. I am free to do things I like to do (like find the time to write two blogs, read a lot of books, go for bike rides, bake monkey bread or whatever). So why the stress?
It’s because of how I perceive things. I don’t feel I have a lot of time for myself. I feel like there’s demands being made on me all the time. My time hardly feels like my own, I feel like I’m at the beck and call of all and sundry. I worry about my husband being sick, my daughter feeling ill, if my son is going to adjust at his new school and I feel I need to be the one with the solutions. I want us to be a warm friendly family who gets along with each other. There’s always something that needs to be done better, done more, or not done at all. Are all of these demands on my time real? Maybe not. But I perceive them as a huge drain on my energy reserves. That’s something I’m going to have to look into. “Real” demands versus “perceived” demands. Most likely I’m the one making the most demands on myself. Leaving my head in a tizzy and my heart thumping, even though “really” I should be perfectly capable of dealing with, and even enjoying, the life I have.