We see things differently from one another. Two people can be viewing the same situation yet have markedly a different interpretation of the event. Yes, we all use our eyes to see, but my vision is filtered through my experience, my beliefs, my attitudes. And so is yours!
This doesn’t make one right or one wrong but I have found that viewing through a positive filter is empowering and life-giving. A negative filter, on the other hand, is where we look for evidence to support our already negative thoughts. We will pick out a negative detail or event and dwell on it exclusively so that our vision of all reality becomes dominated by it.
In many cases our negative filter can be so strong that it completely disregards the countless positives that may have been present up to that point, giving such power to one negative aspect that we believe the entire situation, our reality, is hopeless. As we may not even be aware of this filtering the conclusion that ‘everything is negative’ appears logical.
This is a learned behaviour meaning that a replacement behaviour can also be learned! Negative filters can be combated by us actively choosing to consider a few points before reaching a conclusion…
- I will consider ALL the facts
- Look for the grey
- Do I want to be right or happy?
The facts… Gathering as much information as practically possible may force us to accept there is positive in this situation. It also aids in avoiding generalizing about the event – when we have more information, our generalisations are mostly inaccurate.
The grey… Life does not have to be all or nothing. Nothing is perfect nor is it completely terrible. We can be intelligent people who sometimes do dumb stuff – this is the grey!
Right or happy? Am I so stubborn, so committed to my interpretation of my environment, that I miss opportunities and do not even consider an alternative point of view? Is being “right” worth trading my personal serenity?
Whatever filter we use, we need to understand like attracts like. Negative will build up an arsenal of negativity yet this can be countered by adopting a positive filter which attracts happiness and possibility.
Is it time to change your filter?
LET HOPE RISE
Image credit: semion / 123RF Stock Photo