Thursday, February 14, 2013

What evidence do you see?

In a conversation last night I was reminded of how easy it is to be so focused on seeing ourselves negatively – as somehow lacking, in need of improvement, or otherwise deficient – and how quickly life will serve us evidence that what we think is true. For example, if I think I’m imperfect, the enormous bruise on my leg (and my stupid clumsiness that led to it in the first place) will convince me I’m right. If I think I need to be better than I am, the feedback from my boss will convince me that I’m no good at my job. And if I think I’m deficient, not hearing from the guy I gave my card to will seal the deal on that one.

However, and this is the part that takes reminding, the reverse is also true. If we’re focused on seeing ourselves in a gentler, more accepting light, life will serve us evidence of that, too. If I think I’m human, I can laugh at the bruise – it is really nasty and a good story. If I’m patient with myself, I’ll see the helpful kernel in my boss’s advice. And if I believe I’m whole, I’ll let that guy sort his business out without me.

It’s all about selective attention.

Look at the video below and you’ll see what I mean.

Unfortunately, I knew what I was getting into before I saw the video, so I saw the gorilla walk right through the middle. But I could also see how, if I were focused intently (like I am sometimes on being hard on myself), I could miss it.

Think about what you gather evidence for, and if it’s what you really want to prove to yourself. If not, what can you do differently to prove yourself perfect, just the way you are?

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