What Lens Do You See Life Through?

I had a great talk with a client recently about the way everyone sees and interprets the experiences they encounter in life. And it’s a good thing to remind ourselves, that everyone sees and hears what goes on around them through their own individual filter.

So often we can feel hurt by the way people respond to us. Or even by a lack of response. We can take things very personally, wondering why that person didn’t see how great that thing we did for them was or how come they don’t notice all we do for them.

But because we all have our own definitions of what we see and experience in life, what someone else might think is a super helpful thing to be doing may go unnoticed. Perhaps in another’s world view they see what was done as a normal, customary thing that people should do for one another.

In other words, we all have our own ideas about how we think people “should” act. We are pretty familiar with how we would normally respond to situations, and it is rather habitual to expect others to behave the same way we would.

But others did not grow up exactly like we did. Others did not learn all the same things we did. Others are not at a simliar self awareness level.

Yet it is not our normal response to remember those things when assessing other people’s behavior. We usually interpret what others do through our ego’s construction of how life needs to look and how others have to behave in order for us to be happy. And let me be clear, I am not bashing the ego here. I do not find the value in belittling parts of ourselves, especially the parts that have constructed the way we view things for the majority of our lives.

But I want to put language to it so that we can begin to become aware of the difference between the various parts of ourselves. Because there is another part of ourselves that we can connect to and operate from, and that is our higher self.

One of my missions in life is to respond to life from a heart centered place, recognizing that we all, for the most part, fight the same demons and deal with VERY similar head trash. This is not always an easy task.

When someone makes me angry, or responds to a situation in a way that I never would, it can be difficult not to blame and not to label another as “wrong.” My task is to just let it be what it is. Allow that other part of myself to use the experience to learn and to love and to withhold judgment.

However, I can still choose whether or not what that person is doing works within the boundaries that I have set for what I desire in my relationships. And I can still choose to remove myself from things as much as possible when they make me feel terrible.

I can always remind myself that I do not walk in anyone else’s shoes. And I really have no idea exactly how another human being is interpreting their life experiences.

Because we see things that happen to us in so many ways. Painful experiences will bring up within us what Eckhart Tolle terms our pain body. Very often when we get upset about a present situation, it actually triggers feelings about unpleasant events from the past. So then that becomes our own work, to feel into what is about now and what is about what already happened that we can choose to work on letting go of.

We see things via they way we have defined what we think will make us happy. We hear things that others say to us through the filter of our own self judgement. And we can love others only as much as we love ourselves. So when we desire love from another and it is not forthcoming, that is not always about us.

Therefore it can serve us well to remember this the next time we feel angry, sad or hurt by someone else. Again I am not suggesting that we excuse things that make us feel awful and I am never suggesting making it OK to stay in any kind of abusive relationship.

But what I am suggesting is to remember that others see life through their own lens. And it probably is not the same size, color or shape as yours. And that is OK. When we can move our responses into a more heart centered space after recognizing this, we have the potential to save ourselves from many lower level emotions. We can choose to handle the situation with compassion and less judgement, and then we can decide if we want to walk away or not.

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