Be Your Unique Self
When I was ten years old, I got glasses.
My eyesight is horrible. If you were to put my glasses up to your eyes, you would wonder how on earth I can see anything. That’s because my glasses are adjusted to my eyes, not yours.
We all see through a unique lens based on who we are, where we’ve come from, the experiences we’ve had, and the beliefs we’ve adopted.
My lens is shaped by my gender, my age, my small-town, my parents, my travels, and my life experiences (good and bad). I go into the world and react based on my unique perspective.
When I find myself asking, “How on Earth can that person think that way or behave that way?” I try to picture what life looks like through their lens.
And when someone asks me, “How on Earth can you believe that?” I try to explain what I see through my lens.
One day I was describing to my husband how women walk differently in the world. We are always practicing situational awareness. We avoid walking alone at night. We don’t park next to vans without windows. We go to the bathroom in pairs.
He never thought about those ideas because he has never felt vulnerable in those situations.
Now, the next time he is walking in a parking lot at night, he’ll think about our conversation and have more understanding.
As a recovering people pleaser, I alleviate my guilt by reminding myself about the lens.
Recently, I was approached by someone soliciting money for the local zoo. I have strong feelings about zoos. I don’t support zoos and the confinement of exotic animals for human entertainment. The last place I will donate my money is a zoo. That’s my lens.
In the past, I would have felt guilty saying NO, even at the expense of my personal values. I would have donated the money and berated myself about it.
I also went through a time when I would passionately espouse my beliefs about zoos, raising my blood pressure and unleashing a negative diatribe for anyone within earshot.
Now, I try to see through the lens of the solicitor. They clearly believe in zoos and are trying to help create a better habitat for the animals. They are entitled to love zoos and donate their time and energy toward zoos. Good for them.
Understanding the situation from both perspectives gives me the clarity to make a decision and act accordingly, without guilt and anxiety.
I can easily and confidently say, “No, thank you. I am not interested in donating to the zoo, but I wish you good luck with your campaign.” I can see their perspective and still maintain my beliefs.
You have your lens and the other person has their lens. Neither lens is right or wrong. It helps us understand the perspective of others when we try to look through their unique lens. This understanding helps us walk through the world with empathy.
You be you. I’m going to be me. Let’s all work toward being and accepting our unique selves.
How can you utilize this strategy in your interactions with others today?
For more tips and tricks to Create Healthy Boundaries and Say NO With Confidence, download my free People Pleaser's Toolkit and begin practicing today.