What are the "Reality Circles", and why are they important? What do we think SHOULD happen, or what do we think people SHOULD do? That word...SHOULD. That one simple one-syllable word, SHOULD, takes us completely out of reality, and into a place of disappointment, anger, resentment, heartache...because that one singular word does not have any place in reality.
I learned about this phenomenon from a gifted Counselor, Lynn Busch, and each time I speak with her, we always make it back around to the reality circles. To explain, from my own perspective, there are two circles that exist, one circle is labeled "Reality", and the other one is "Non Reality". They could not be farther away from each other, but come together so quickly when the word "should" comes out of my mouth.
Lynn has drawn this illustration for me so many times. With my Type A personality, of course I think that I always know best: what people should do, where people should go, how people should act, where people should put things or people should apologize, people should be happy, etc. Each time my Type A self gets into that situation, all heck breaks loose, and my anger, resentment, disbelief, frustration...any and all negative feelings start coming out. Why would I do that to myself? Why take myself out of Reality, where I can feel at ease, and know that the only thing on this earth that I can control is myself?
These reality circles are everywhere, if you think about it - listen to this, and see if you can tell what I mean, "God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference." You might have heard that prayer before, but what it does, for me, is takes the pressure off of me to try and make everyone and everything else "perfect" by my standards. All we can control is ourselves, inside and out. There are so many more teachings of this thought and act in prayer, literature and songs.
This relief is comforting when I realize it, but geez, it is hard to remember all of the time. Most of the time, I am not all that successful. That's when, in my mind, I have to be able to see the Reality Circles and pray the Serenity Prayer. After that pressure is released, I can then, hopefully, be mindful enough to pray for the person that "should" be doing something. In that case, I can put it in God's hands.
So, the reality is this...we SHOULD always try and remember the Reality Circles. It takes me a moment, and takes me quite a bit of practice, but practice makes perfect, right? At least that's what my Type A, Type 1 Enneagram, ISFJ wants me to believe anyway - perfection should always my be in reach. Dang, now I'm back in "Non-Reality"! See how quickly that happens?! 😉