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Alice or Malice in Wonderland? Monday February 20, 2017

We all live in a wonderful land. Sometimes, what happens is less than wonderful but the potential is always there for wonder. Our biggest and most prevalent wonder is:

I wonder what this means?

Humankind's quest for meaning haunts us every day. We may go deep and seek the very meaning of life itself, or we may just try to get through the day wondering what the meaning is behind the actions and words of our colleagues, customers, friends, and family. We may even question the meaning behind our own actions as in,

Why did I do that? What was I thinking?!

Our answer to, "I wonder what this means?" can easily lead to the positive adventure of Alice in Wonderland, or it can just as easily lead to the nightmare of Malice in Wonderland. This was brought home to me recently when a third-party informed me of how a
friend had allegedly criticised me behind my back. I had no evidence - just what the third party had shared. The 'witness' was a credible one, as was the criticism, so I began to wonder...

On this occasion I chose Malice in Wonderland. I was hurt, offended, and I lashed out. A better path to choose would have been one where I either ignored the unsubstantiated report, or spoke directly with the alleged critic, or even better, asked a better question. This one:

"What else could this mean?"

As soon as we ask, "What else could this mean?" we open the door (or the looking glass) to Wonderland. It is the question of the philosopher and the scientist - that leads to deep discoveries, but it is also the question of the expert in relationships. By settling
on not one but multiple meanings, we can soften the blow of Malice.

When a loved one says or does something that grates against our emotions, asking this magical question can help us think twice, or multiple times before jumping to conclusions and making harmful assumptions. It can give us pause for thought, and even help us
become wiser.

Whether my friend criticised me behind my back or not, I know he has my well-being at heart. Who hasn't ever said something about someone else behind their back? Isn't gossip the tastiest delicacy - especially in delicate matters? Asking instead, "What else could this mean?" could well save a friendship, avoid conflict, and open positive possibilities to rival Alice's Adventures in Wonderland!

If you're having a tough time at the moment, it may not mean that the Universe is out to get you! Ask yourself, "What else could this mean?" and let healing thoughts flow bringing comfort.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Anne Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 5:48am

Morning Lex

Timely blog THANK YOU

I'm having a difficult time and I have no idea what it means. Just aware that my Malice in Wonderland feels incredibly personal and I'm contributing to my own sabotage.

I will work on healing thoughts and seek meaning x

Lex Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 8:28am

Hi Anne, thanks for your encouragement. Even getting three alternative answers to, "What else could this mean?" will open up possibilities and diffuse any malice. Sending healing vibes your way, on your way to an "Aha!" moment! x

Sally Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 6:02am

Very helpful piece Lex,, and one I need to heed. I'd never thought of Alice/ Malice! Ingenious...
you giving a personal example was so brave, too. I generally go away and lick my wounds if I receive criticism...or hear I have been criticised. I need to think more deeply about why I do this, and Bingo! You have come up with some very apt and interesting reasons or possible reasons....mmmmmm, food for thought indeed...
And I very much like " What else could this mean?"
Thank you, thank you, Lex, for generously sharing. I feel sure this blog is going to generate a lot of comments!!

Lex Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 8:30am

Hi Sally, I'm so glad this is a helpful piece for you... and I hope it brings a measure of peace to many. As to the sharing of personal material - I've recognised for years that my biggest challenges are within myself and not in outside factors!!! Have a great day and be gentle with yourself.

Mary Wednesday Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 7:18am

One positive thing about this kind of thing, it can pave the way for a new understanding - but only if you go to the accused party and have it out with them (my own marriage is a case in point. A lot of hurt feelings, but some honest conversations that needed to be had). Generally, I find, greeting this kind of thing with the non judgemental stoicism of Forrest Gump.

Lex Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 8:32am

Life is like a box of chocolates, Mary... but no-one expects the Inquisition! Having these 'difficult conversations' can be truly transformative - if framed in the right way with the right mindset. I feel some more blogs coming on like yours, last week.

Jul Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 7:44am

I love this blog Lex. You are very clever and I really like the way you think about life, how our minds work, our foibles and so on. Thank you. I so often have to ask myself what else could this mean? Also if I find I or my OH and I are talking about other people too much and in a lazy quite derogatory way, I remind myself that they are probably saying much the same about me or us. We don't hold the monopoly on talking negatively about friends etc. However I don't talk about anyone in my close circle of friends to the others. That's a no no. Great blog Lex and a big thank you. Julxx

Lex Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 8:34am

Hi Jules, thank you for the many encouragements. If I could knock gossip on the head (though not the gossip!), I think I would have grown wiser. I think I'm getting better, so I'll follow your lead and make sure it doesn't happen with the close circle of friends first. Have a meaningful day! xx

LP Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 8:59am

Hi Lex,
Curiouser and curiouser! In situations removed from the personal, ie dealing with cases at work i find that as there is often alot for me to find out before I can help, a curious approach is far more productive than a judgemental one. I havent thought about adopting it closer to home or indeed for my own troubles, maybe because I assume that I know the answers!
It feels like this could really take the sting out of the kind of negative interactions that have got to me on a deep level. I hope that I remember your Alice or Malice concept if/ when I need it most.
Many thanks for sharing your journey Lex. Hugs to all.LP xx

Lex Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 9:44am

Curiouser indeed... there's so much magic in Alice, isn't there? I'm such a fan of the question now that I think it could lead to deep inner peace for you and for me and for all of us who are open to feeling things deeply... xx

Milliecat Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 9:06am

Hi Lex
This is such a good blog - it'sa bit quirky and it's a lot clever...where i am just now is causing me much distress but if i look at it through the Looking Glass and ask what else could this mean, then i feel a bit lighter...maybe less of a Mad Hatter?!...but def there could be other processes going on that are more relevant than the ones i am focussing on. Today i will ponder this and watch the Alice/Wonderland films. Thank you xx

Lex Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 9:45am

You're so welcome, Milliecat. And you've inspired me to take this further with the Looking Glass. Another blog is brewing! Enjoy the films and may they inspire you xx

Valerie Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 9:13am

Your friend may well have your best interests at heart.We all say things in private that we would never say directly to the person's face.This does not mean we don't really like or love them.Were it otherwise society would fall apart.The real spite in your account came from the "kind" third person who felt obliged to inform you about your friend's comments.

I once spoke too freely about a loved-one to someone I thought I could trust.The result has been a rift that has never really healed over 20 years later.I would find it hard not to give your messenger a clear warning that you are on to them,and ask if they are happy with the hurt and anger they have caused you and your pal.

Lex Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 9:47am

Hi Valerie! I am in 100% agreement. And thank you for nudging me in the right direction of having that 'difficult conversation' with the third party!

Orangeblossom Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 9:41am

Hi Lex. Thanks for the thought-provoking blog. These are constructive thoughts to mull over.

Lex Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 9:48am

Thanks, Orangeblossom... and I was thinking of you the other day when re-reading the glorious, "My Family And Other Animals," by Gerald Durrell. In it, there is a story about art and orange blossom!

Leah Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 10:04am

I was once accused by a third party of saying bad things about a second party all people I knew. I felt powerless as no one would believe me and I could not tell anyone who would trust me.
At the time I was too stressed to think about what it meant but now I see the 3rd party was struggling and had problems and coped by telling lies.
Thanks for helping me make sense of this, Lex.

Lex Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 10:12am

Always happy to be a catalyst to support your own brilliant brain, Leah. Delighted this has helped you make sense of what was a horrible situation to be in.

The Gardener Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 12:26pm

Quirky, I like Quirky, I DO Quirky. Anne, I, too, am having a terrible time - hope I do not indulge in self-delusion, but don't THINK I self sabotage. No sleep, usual root of problems, and Mr G SO awful, has gone into the street and upset the neighbours' kids - unforgiveable to me - even allowing for his illness. He's no longer content with taking it out on me - but started on the rest of the world. He wanted to go to to the police and complain that I was abusing him. So sad, in town, gendarmes taking papers from a man - his son of 11 in tears, loads of stuff in back of car - man kissed son good-bye, obviously going to be arrested - had he not returned the child to the mother, if estranged? It was SO sad, real novel material. Lex, do you know anybody who can TAKE criticism? Brush it off if unwarranted, later, perhaps, admit, that just possibly they may have contributed? When Mr G had the equivalent of a nervous breakdown when he was 47 I had to take over the reins of the business. Knew the background, but was not a technician and hated giving orders (still hate it). I got on my bike, and rode round the farms asking questions. Nearly every reply was the result of poor management, quarrelling management, having a smoke in the toilet when they should have been starting a gang of 10 - not going to the end of the row with the sprayer or irrigation machine. This is very technical, but very important. Because this could result in un-irrigated land, or a very invasive week taking over. I was, as you can imaging, deeply unpopular - and, a woman criticising a man's technical ability! Heavens. Excuse me Lex, straying, BUT, as so often here, people's experiences in the workplace often reveal it as hostile, back-biting, and not having the firm's best interests at heart

Lex Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 12:45pm

Dear Gardener, my assessment of people at work is that the vast majority are not engaged. Perhaps the greatest challenge of leadership and management is to manage motivation rather than skill set? I do not know of anybody who has ever taken criticism well, so I flip to encouragement whenever I can see something to encourage! ...and I'd encourage you to keep writing - I'm convinced this helps.

Nicco Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 1:37pm

Thank you for your very thought-provoking blog, Lex. I sometimes over-burden myself with trying to over-think what something someone has said could mean (where ever there's a way to complicate things, you can depend on me!) So I have to tell myself not to read too much into what some people say ie, if, say, it's an excuse for not keeping a date, maybe its not that they don't actually want to see me but could very well be that they are afraid to tell me the real reason why they can't make the date, and leave it at that. Thanks again.

Lex Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 3:13pm

Hi Nicco, for us 'over-thinkers' I think this technique is only useful if our currently assigned meaning is not a positive one! In that case, it's great to generate some positive alternatives! Sounds like you and I need to think a lot less!

Maria Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 2:55pm

Hi Lex, "What else could this mean?" is a brilliant question to ponder! I'm very lucky in that my inner circle of love is comprised of family and friends who don't (or rarely) engage in gossip. I trust implicitly that any conversations within this circle are spoken out of love and concern about my best interests. I have spheres of influence, and if a gossiper is further removed from my center then their words carry less weight. I attended a personality workshop (to help mediate a hostile work environment) and one of the messages delivered declares that everyone looks at the world through a screen. Every screen is unique and comprised of an individual's life it their current situations or inherent traits. It helps me to wonder "what else could this mean?" in any given situation, and I often try to imagine what is going on with a gossiper. That being said I found my work environment harder to deal with. I don't work now but when I did it was hard to operate in an atmosphere of "me first". I felt especially uncomfortable in one particular office where gossip ran rampant. I occasionally think about returning to the work force but won't until I find an opportunity that feels just right, and that includes team dynamics. It's easy when I can choose my associates but "what else could this mean?" is a brilliant question to ponder when associating with all. Thank you for stating it so succinctly!

Lex Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 3:15pm

Thanks for such a lovely encouragement, Maria. For your example, I think there is a new question for us all, "What does this look like through their screen?" Another blog perhaps...?

DAVE Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 4:22pm

Thank you for your blog Lex,
My thoughts refer to contention of any sort.
Personally I don't have a problem with other people because over the years others have caused me problems, but in the last 5 years, I question my actions and motives...I maintain that always doing and saying the right things at all times, does not require me to have a good memory.
Consequently if I hear detrimental comments about me I go straight to the source and address these issues...otherwise non-speaking silence and all associated repercussions cause more trouble.

Now if the remarks are justified I still go to the perpetrator and appologise, that doesn't mean I become a 'doormat' but shows who is in control, and shows example of self confidence, and does not give anyone power over me to abuse my persona.
Life really is quite simple, it is a beautiful world, but some try to destroy the ambience through contentious attitudes, we have in our power (if used correctly) to accept or reject other people's opinions....Its how we live this life, either in kaos or orderly, that is our choice...We either sink or swim...solely dependent upon logic.
Have a trouble-free day Lex

Lex Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 5:29pm

Thanks, Dave. Sounds like you're continuing to find peace in logic. I swim still with my emotions. Perhaps there is a positive accord to be had between the two!!

The Gardener Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 7:37pm

The day has been so grim - and I'm looking for any glimmer of humanity. The thought at the end of the blog - and about annoying people. Our eldest son gives us the 'Oldie' as a present, and a cartoon calendar comes with it. In one, two ladies are lunching. One says 'I'm not gluten intolerant, I just like annoying people'. Best, from 'The Far Side'. In a city, probably Paris, somebody is moving from a top flat. Furniture has to come down by hoist. The grand piano is trussed up - a gentleman is passing far below. The subject matter is 'God at his computer'. He looks at the keys, and, joyfully, hits the one 'smite'.

Jane Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 8:25pm

The perfect blog for me today Lex. I wish I had read it this morning before I let my negative 'overthinking' overtake everything......

Lex Tue, Feb 21st 2017 @ 7:58am

Glad it was the perfect blog for you, Jane. Hope it continues to help going forward...

tatty Mon, Feb 20th 2017 @ 10:09pm

I usually enjoy these commentarys but todays just felt like a knife in the back. Too closely related. My friend named alice is just about to have a 10yr memorial party. I find it highly stressful and it seems to be occuring on my birthday and at one of the lowest points ive had in a while. They call the party alices wonderland. Its become a political subject. This is just randomly coming across quite twisted and accusatory in itself. No malice meant im sure. Encouraging people to overanalyse themselves isnt always a good idea. Not your intentiom im sure.

Lex Tue, Feb 21st 2017 @ 8:00am

Indeed not, Tatty. Way too many of us over-analyse in the wrong situations at the wrong time. This one's sole purpose is using analysis to improve the situation and see it in a better light. Perhaps it needs an extension, "What else could this mean that would make you feel better about it?"

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