Thursday, July 30, 2015

Are you sure? 7 Steps to Removing Dysfunctional Filters From Your Lens.

I recently encountered a situation where someone I know believed something to be true due to information she'd been given from another person and based on a situation she had observed. However, I became privy to additional information on that same situation, about events that happened just prior to when this person came to observe. Most of us involved knew bits and pieces of the situation. We each had gained this information from different people and were not present for most of the situation or any of it. All of us had come to our own conclusions of what happened, who was at "fault," and what should be done to remedy the situation.  Needless to say, highly charged emotions ebbed and flowed. And I continue to wonder, who was actually "right" and who was at "fault?" And the truth is, unless we remove our own filters and try to see things through the filter of others, we'll always think we are "right," the others are at "fault" and we'll never see how we may have made mistakes too and how the lines are much blurrier than we originally thought.

In life, even when we are physically present and being as mindful as possible, we can and will perceive each experience and situation differently than the others present because we are viewing it through our own lens. Our lens is filtered with our life experiences, cultural background, gender, age, race, ethnicity, education, religion/spirituality, etc.  Our filters influence how and what we see and how we interpret the information we take in. And we are often not even aware of this filtering process, it becomes automatic.  In addition, we may avoid communication, won't attempt to engage in open, real communication, or we may blame all others involved. We can experience deep pain and discomfort based on how we interpret what we see and experience through our lens. We can also be treated harshly based on how others' lens' are filtered and what they see through their lens. Here are some steps to take to remove your filters and to gain deeper understanding.
  1. Ask yourself, "Are you sure?"
  2. If your answer is yes, then ask yourself again, "Are you sure?" Try to take a moment and allow yourself to be unsure, and wonder how it might look or be if you aren't sure.
  3. Ask yourself, "What might the other person think/feel/know/hear/experience?" Try to see if you can view the situation through the other's lens.
  4. Take time to speak with and ask the other person about their thoughts, feelings or understandings.
  5. Be sure to FULLY listen to them, even if you disagree or have a different perspective. Let them finish before you speak.
  6. Explain your perspective, thoughtfully, kindly and respectfully. This doesn't mean agree with everything. We can disagree respectfully. And you might find some ways you misunderstood the other person/situation.
  7. If no agreement can be made or mutual understanding, remember that everyone is on their own path and we cannot force anyone into an understanding or a change that they aren't ready for. You may have to make difficult decisions about what path to take for yourself, depending on the situation.
These steps give us mindfulness. Mindfulness gives us the ability to gently remove filters from our lens so that we can see clearly the experiences we personally encounter but it also gives us the ability to recognize when we do not have all the information so that we may take care and not paint a false picture of reality. Mindfulness can be the ability to stop and ask ourselves, "Am I sure?"  We may have developed an insecurity or a chip on our shoulder that makes us prone to certain assumptions or judgements or false realities. Our assumptions, judgements and false realities feel very real. And our feelings are important. And sometimes we are right. But sometimes we are not. If we are mindful, we have a better chance of being able to see when we are right and when we are wrong and perhaps we can even remove some of the filters from our lens and take positive action so that we can avoid being hurt while also minimizing any hurt towards the people in our lives.

Look closely. Look clearly. Look mindfully. Breathe. Smile.

The image for this post is from Black-HardArt Studio's profile on Free Digital Photos.

1 comment:

Rani said...

So true, there's always another side to every story and we should be mindful enough to be aware of that. Communication is key and egos are much to blame when we refrain from it. Very well written Jyoti!