Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Where Is Your Reality Marker?

A year and a half ago, I made what I thought to be a friend. I took out with that person a shared lease on an apartment. It turned out to be a disastrous decision. The man kept going around back-stabbing people, pitting people up against one another, playing Iago and poisoning people's family relationships. He kept threatening to get my former wife and her new husband in jail and was talking about getting the power of attorney over me. He would get up at 6 am talking; I would tell him, “I need to go to sleep”; he would accuse me of having a sleeping disease and would go on talking. Eventually the landlord kicked him out after he broke a glass table.

I had exercised bad judgment. I trusted someone whom I should not have trusted. There are many people who make the same error, and for many of them the consequences of that error have been far worse than they have been for me.

How does one correct errors in judgment? Some say by being more cautious; but it is possible to err in the direction of caution as well. I was with a woman who had been treated badly before she had gotten together with me. She was ridiculously going on about how I was supposedly conning her and did I think she was stupid. She was a cat who had jumped on a hot stove and then decided that all stoves were hot.

One line that we hear all the time is “if something seems too good to be true, it is.” The problem here is what one sees things being too good to be true to be. Different people have their reality markers in different places. If your reality marker is the Second World War, then anything would seem too good to be true. If you are a beautiful and talented woman who keeps winding up with scumbags, that is not a valid reality marker. What we see here is not things being true, but things being too bad to be true.

The real question to ask here therefore is, Where is your reality marker? In some cases it will be too high, and in some cases it will be too low. A person who comes from a good background will have their reality marker in a different place than does someone who comes from a bad background. Know where is your reality marker. And then recognize whether it is too good to be true or too bad to be true.

One's personal experience is therefore not always a valid place for a reality marker. Sometimes you will be undershooting reality, and at other times you will be overshooting reality. You can err in the direction of rashness, and you can err in the direction of caution. The first would expose you to all sorts of nastiness. The second would deny you good situations and opportunities.

How does one find out whether what one is dealing with is genuine goodness or the false front of a con man? Do more research. Find out the person's actual values and actual beliefs. More than that, find out their character. And there are any number of ways in which this can be done.

One thing that people who are naturally naïve have to learn from bad people is what they are dealing with in people. Then they can understand people enough to have their good values count in the world. Thomas Jefferson learned a lot of the tricks of the British empire, including all sorts of strategy and calculation. Then he was able to set his people free and found a country that eventually outdid England in world power. He was able to learn from the villains the tricks of villains in order to make his superior values count in the world.

If you've been taken advantage of – in relationships or anything else - that does not mean that you have brought it about through low self-esteem or negativity in your consciousness. In many cases you simply exercised bad judgment. The world is full of all sorts of scammers, and any number of them are good at what they do. Most of them have not deceived only you. Most of them have also deceived many other people. Learn from them what you have to learn and then move on.


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