“We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are” – Anais Nin
Our minds process information from the outside world through a filter. Words are scanned for tone and meaning, body language is read and processed against learned socially accepted behaviour. Any given situation will happen the way it happens and the best control, if any, we have for this situation is through this filter.
If we approach any interaction with other humans with nervous beginnings then our natural mental defence is to use a self conscious filter. We analyse information surrounding us and focus on any details that affect how we are being perceived by others. Even our own actions are internally judged as ground gained or lost in being viewed better by others. A failed joke, a comment that went unnoticed, a small stain on clothing we’re wearing that seemingly appeared out of nowhere. Alternatively, a joke could have received a laugh, you felt confident knowing your attire was immaculate, you maintained the attention of everyone with your tales of adventure. It is assumed from allowing only these bits of information to filter into our minds that a certain situation has been deemed negative or positive in our minds.
This is hardly, if ever, the true outcome of a given situation. Especially if everyone involved is digesting information with their own self conscious filter. The only sure way to truly and objectively gauge a meeting, conversation or encounter with anyone, is through empathy – to feel safe and secure enough to shift our attention and focus from ourselves – from our feelings and needs to theirs – and ultimately to an unfiltered mind . By focusing on information that other people would deem to be in the interest of self preservation or ego boosting, you can allow the flow of positivity to be in their favour. By engaging in the needs and interests of those around you, you can provide genuine positive contributions to a conversation. This has its own rewards. You will be viewed as trustworthy, compassionate and a generally nice person. If others walk away from an encounter with you with a good feeling about themselves. This feeling will be associated with you.
By focusing on the other people involved, you can open your eyes to how they are responding to a certain situation through their filter. Are they nervous and talkative, shy and retracted. Are they easily frustrated or angered, or aloof and inattentive? By seeing these traits in people by not focusing on yourself, a direction can be determined towards a positive outcome for all involved.
This way of learning about others and their interactions can help us learn more about ourselves and how we respond to potentially challenging situations. We worry less about how we are perceived when we realise that we are not the centre of everyone’s attention regardless of of how many pairs of eyes are on us. A filtered mind is an incomplete mind.