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In Your Relationship, What You See Is What You Look At

Maude in frameThe other day we were discussing a concept from psychology professor and neuroscientist Dr. Lisa Barrett’s work that basically states that “the part of the brain responsible for sight, the visual cortex, receives only 10% of its connections from the retina. The other 90% are connections from other parts of the brain, making predictions about what they think we might be seeing. What does the brain do when its predictions are wrong? It can change its prediction to match what the senses are telling it. But it is just as likely to do the opposite: stick with the original prediction, and filter the incoming data so that it matches the prediction. (as restated by Tiago Forte)”

This fascinating concept about what determines a large part of people’s feelings and experiences led us to look at the reframing of reality, and how that frame can support or prevent a peaceful joyful relationship. So often, the reactions people have and the way they interpret what is happening come from their past experiences imposed upon the present.

In our relationship, we have matching core values that we vowed to each other at our wedding and have, during the course of our relationship, developed into our shared reality. We also have intentions for our mutual lives together. We are dedicated to supporting each other as individuals, and to always want the best for the other’s personal development. At the same time, we both have the intention of a shared life filled with kindness, love, peace, and respect.

We speak these values and intentions aloud to each other, particularly when one of us has feelings of confusion.

This confusion comes when one of us has responses that relate to our individual past and not from our mutual values and intentions. In the moment of doubts or feelings of separation, it is so helpful to have the framework we have created together. It becomes a natural response to switch, to reframe the feelings to that stated shared reality, and to realize that what is causing a sense of disparity or distance is not from us as a couple, but from one of us being pulled into our individual stories.

No matter how long you have been together, whether you are just starting your relationship or if you have been together for many years, it is important to create and maintain a place of shared viewpoint, a mutual frame.

When you have created this sacred space of mutual intention, you can move into it whenever one or the other of you is being pulled into your individual past. You will be more readily able to choose your shared present, and respond from there. When one of you gets lost, the other can be an anchor to your present together, avoiding many misunderstandings, unnecessary distance and separation.

Try it, and we are sure you will find it an amazing and effective way to keep your relationship joyous and connected.

We wrote about reframing a couple of years ago from a different angle; you might like to read that one as well.

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An Exciting Evening of Book Reading

Phil and two other local authors will be reading and discussing their books on September 12th at Maravilla, 5486 Calle Real, Santa Barbara CA 93111 at 6:30 pm. starting with a reception. Hope to see you there!

Successful Relationship Reading Corner

BookshelfThis week we wrote about how our perception of a situation is based on the past more than the present, and how we can get past that by reframing. Here are some excellent articles to help you reframe your relationship and your life.

Reframing Your Marital Problem "I don’t care what kind of couples therapy you do, you will be eventually be invited by your therapist to start reframing your marital problem. Why is reframing your marital problem such a fundamental part of couples therapy? Because how you see your problem is directly related to how stuck you are in it."

Cognitive reframing – it’s not about what happens to you, but how you frame it "All situations that happen to you in life have no inherent meaning. You are the one who signs a meaning, seeing a situation through a certain frame. With cognitive reframing, you can change the way you look at something and consequently change how you experience it."

Visual Perception Theory A very clear description of two theories of perception and where the 90% figure come from. "In order to receive information from the environment we are equipped with sense organs e.g. eye, ear, nose.  Each sense organ is part of a sensory system which receives sensory inputs and transmits sensory information to the brain. A particular problem for psychologists is to explain the process by which the physical energy received by sense organs forms the basis of perceptual experience."


Spreading peace one relationship at a time
Phil and Maude
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