What aren't you seeing?

A couple weeks ago, my mom, my 13yo daughter, and I traveled to Santa Cruz, California. One of our planned activities was to visit Natural Bridges State Beach to check out the tide pools. 

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The 13yo had done lots of research on what we might find there. 

“They have starfish, sea anemones, nudibranchs, crabs, and octopi!” she informed us on the car ride there, reading from a helpful website. 

I’ll note here that we live in Central Ohio, where there are no oceans. There is only Buckeye Lake, which is basically a dirty, over-commercialized puddle barely 5 feet deep. The most aquatic life I’ve ever seen there were some angry Canada Geese and two nondescript fish floating belly up. 

You can understand how the 13yo would be excited for the abundance of sea creatures we were about to witness. 

When we arrived, she ran gleefully down the beach and up the rocks to the tide pools. After spending several minutes examining them, she moved her attention to the rocky shoreline, peering at hundreds of mussels and limpets strewn with kelp. 

“This is lame,” she declared. “There’s nothing here. Not even any starfish.”

We kept looking around, a bit let down by the lack of starfish, but still happy to be next to the ocean. 

And then.

Then! 

I spotted something on those rocks. 

“Hey! I think I found a starfish!”

There are at least 7 purple ones in this tiny-ass cell phone pic.

There are at least 7 purple ones in this tiny-ass cell phone pic.

Sure enough, a starfish had appeared. He was adorable and orange. And he wasn’t alone. Once we noticed him, we also noticed dozens of his friends. We looked in all the places we had just looked at minutes before. They were now starfish studded. 

THEY HAD BEEN THERE THE WHOLE TIME.

We hadn’t seen them, because we hadn’t known what to look for. Until we did. 

Then, we saw them everywhere. 

The perception of what we can and can’t do is exactly like this. 

My view of drinking used to be filled with perceptions like:

  • It will be hard to never drink again.

  • Only people who are alcoholics with severe problems need to quit drinking.

  • I could never go to happy hours/parties/weddings/on vacation and not drink.

Seeing things like that held me back for a looooooong time.

None of that is true for me anymore. Whew. 

I see drinking completely differently now. I don’t have a problem not drinking. I didn’t have a severe problem but still quit. I go to stuff all the time and don’t drink. I even have fun.

Those truths were there the entire time. I just had to look at things in a new way.

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I’m still working on my views around other problematic issues like

  • I never have enough time

  • I can’t eat just one cookie

  • I wish I was just a little bit thinner (GOD JUST A FEW POUNDS I’M NOT ASKING FOR MUCH HERE)

  • I hate vacuuming

What’s a perception you’ve had that held you back, or a perception you’re working on changing?  

Laura ReesComment