I’ve been thinking a lot about filters. A filter is a lens that you see the world through. That is perhaps why even our own account of events is always biased, as we are always viewing it through our own lens, which is different than someone else’s and different than pure reality. Granted, whatever lens we view things through at the moment is our own individual reality. There is a book that touches on this in recovery. It is called Rose Colored Glasses. Here is the thing I find interesting, each of us has a box of these lenses, and it seems to depend on the emotional state we are in as to which ones we put on. For example, that time of the month (I know TMI), but still, during that time, my lens is not a particularly bright one. It is a bit dark and unstable. When I have on that pair of lenses, the world seems more untrustworthy and dangerous. It is a weird circular loop where my emotions control my lenses, and my lenses control my emotions. The lenses really are just our thoughts and perceptions. But still, the analogy is good. There is a pair of lenses or a filter we all assign to people in our lives. I think this is why they say that first impressions are everything or that love is blind. Once a filter is assigned to someone, it can be hard to see them in a different light. This is unfortunate in most cases since humans are so complex and multifaceted.
I have struggled with certain aspects of my mental health for much of my life. This has made interpersonal relationships a particular challenge for me. Certain qualities are just not as fluid or as natural for me, such as empathy or compassion. Who I am, of course, is a mixture of nature and nurture. My nature, my mental disorders, and my personality dictate part of who I am. I am an introvert, that is just a part of my personality, and this means that I don’t enjoy small talk with strangers, among other things. The other part of who I am is from my upbringing and my experiences. My mom, for example, has very little empathy and has a hard time forming close friendships, and this was my role model growing up. I explain all this because my boss is an example of someone who has had a few experiences with me, which has formulated a pair of lenses that he now sees me through. Regardless of who I can show up being from day to day, there are many days I can show up well. I can be giving and jovial, and even outgoing at times. However, he has a hard time seeing that. He sees this untrusting person who perhaps doesn’t necessarily play nice with others. While this may be true at times, this is not who I am day to day. This is not all that I am or am capable of being. There are many people in my life like that that have had some experience with me and now see me through this particular filter. I am not blaming them. If anything, I am blaming our human brains and human nature. We all do it. I am sure at some point, this served our ancestors in some way to help them survive. I know there are people I view a particular way, even at work, and it is not all who they are. I would do well to remember that so that perhaps I could be less reactive and upset when they do or don’t do certain things. I could be less upset in the realization that I am human too but also that they are multifaceted and that whatever I am seeing at the moment is not all who they are. It is easy to forget these things in the moment when you are living reactively and not being self-aware. I am so often in a mode of action at work. Which in some respects benefits me well; I am extremely efficient and productive. However, it can cause me to oversee alternative solutions, and it causes me to be less open to discussions and alternative points of view. My biggest issue, perhaps when it comes to work, is just remembering to slow down and have more patience. I suppose this makes me a bit of a Type A personality.
It often makes me wonder if people at work take and receive constructive feedback as much as I seem to. It sometimes feels like this Type A stuff overshadows my efficient and productive work output. I don’t know if that is my perception or not. I am sure I am particularly hard on myself right now. It is PMS time right now, so the world is shit lens is on at the moment. All you men out there, be blessed you don’t have that added on to just dealing with being a human and being alive. What is nice, however, is when I have hard days like yesterday and today, where I feel shame for maybe not being who I would like to be all the time. For not being able to consistently show up how I’d like to show up. For not being perfect, god forbid. Is that I have this beautiful girlfriend who reminds me of how much I am loved. Hard days like this make it very easy to forget that we are all always worthy of love and affection exactly as we are. We don’t need to be fixed to be worthy of those things. I am very grateful for her reminders. It helps dissipate feelings of shame and fear. Anyway, I am going to try to let it go today and do my best to show up how I’d like to show up. That is all one can ask of oneself. Is each day getting up and trying to show up the way we would like to each day. Some days we will be successful. Some days we will not. Wishing you all peace in present moments.
Cover Photo by Bud Helisson on Unsplash