The Right and the Wrong Lens
The world today feels divided. Have you noticed? There is an amplification of who is right and who is wrong and what to believe and what not to believe. It reminds me a lot of my couples in counseling. One partner desperately wants their point to be validated and agreed to by the other person. People pay a lot of money to come in and experience this feeling of validation from their partner. We seek validation from “experts” and “science” and “religion” and other such places outside of ourselves in the same way.
What is missing is the real understanding that you don’t need anyone outside of you to validate your feelings or your experiences. When we seek outside validation, it takes away from our own self-empowerment and authenticity. Believing there is a “right” way and a “wrong” way to experience feelings and a “right” lens to which to view something and a “wrong” lens is not an accurate expectation in a world with millions of people. Shoot, It’s not even an accurate expectation in a household with 2 people. Ask any married person.
I often use this example to explain my point:
Imagine you are at a fine dining restaurant, and you are sitting there with a friend and the waiter comes and spills water on your lap.
There are an unlimited number of lenses you can perceive this through and the lens you are looking through will most definitely impact your reaction.
Lens 1: “He did that on purpose!”
Reaction: You stand up and get super angry and make a scene.
Lens 2: “He is so clumsy, why can’t he be more careful, now I am cold!”
Reaction: You say something mean and tell him to clean it up.
Lens 3: “He is so embarrassed, poor guy, I wonder what his day has been like, I feel bad for him, good thing it’s just water”
Reaction: You help him clean it up while making a joke.
None of these lenses are “right” or “wrong”. No one must agree on the lens either.
The definition of empowerment is: “to give (someone) the authority or power to do something.”
When you can take full responsibility for your own viewing lens, you can then take full authority and power over your reactions. This also allows for others to take full responsibility for their reactions as well (because you are not trying to). Which means you don’t need to attempt to control the way in which they are seeing something.
You can ask yourself, did my reaction feel good? Did it give me the results I wanted? Could there have been another way to view that situation? Where was the other person coming from?
Perhaps when we open our minds with another, seeking to understand, rather than seeking to self-validate, we can learn something about ourselves and others and create space for openness. Creating a safe space for different points of view is real maturity and acceptance. It can transcend you past the child-like neediness of being “right”, which, let’s be honest, never really feels that great in the long run if it costs you your connection.
Your feelings are ALWAYS valid. Feelings are what they are regardless of what judgment you want to slap upon them. If you understand and really honor that your feelings are always valid, then it eliminates a need for seeking outside validation. This creates tremendous empowerment and freedom.
Think about going to the doctor’s office with a list of symptoms, if you are there to solve a problem and not seeking validation, what would be different? Think about going to work, and feeling passionate about a project you know could work, and not seeking validation, what would be different?
Think about how your relationships might be different if you don’t seek validation there.
Where did we get in this trap of seeking outside validation? What could we do if we all created space for our differences…?
So much to ponder.