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  • Writer's pictureLinda Buchanan

From Change Your Story-Change Your Life: What Lens Do You Use?

For small children, it is impossible to be self aware, therefore everything that we are told tends to be accepted without question.

Most of us have struggled with seeing ourselves through other's eyes rather than our own perspective. For small children, it is impossible to be self aware, therefore everything that we are told tends to be accepted without question. I remember hearing a speaker tell the story of being slapped by her older brother in the face. When she told her mother, who was in bed drunk, that her brother had slapped her, her mother replied that he certainly had not slapped her. She became confused trying to accept this as truth. As she started out of her mother’s bedroom, she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror and noticed the red print that her bother’s hand had left on her face. She believed that seeing proof of what she had experienced may have saved her from a life of doubting herself and her emotions.

As adolescents, we are still very vulnerable to seeing our beauty through the eyes of our peer group.

Transitioning out of our parents realm into the big world brings with it a new kind of dependence. We now look to our peer group to define us. Of course what we’ve begun to believe about ourselves as children will affect how we present ourselves to our peer group. John, whose parents divorced when he was three, had assumed that it happened because wasn’t lovable. In high school, he had lots of friends but none that he would truly open up to. He wasn’t comfortable letting people

get very close based on his assumption that people would eventually leave anyway.

It isn’t until adulthood that we can become fully self aware. However, by then, many of us have believed falsehoods about ourselves for so long that it’s as if we have dug our heels in and refuse to let them go. One of the saddest things I encounter in my work as a psychologist is to hear about the painful experiences people have lived through and then watch as they create the same pain in their adulthood due to their early false beliefs.

Is there distortion in the lenses you use to view yourself?

What if the things you believe about yourself are actually distortions of the truth? If you could correct your "identity" eyesight it would be like getting glasses for the first time and being able to see things as they really are. Those of us who have worn glasses remember the first time we put them on. I remember thinking that I couldn't believe how beautiful trees looked and how sharp the leaves appeared. Imagine if suddenly you could see yourself with no distortion. Would you notice more beauty? Would the flaws become less shameful?

If you think about yourself from a wise adult perspective you are able to see the truth. You can see both what is beautiful about yourself and where you would like to grow. From a wise adult perspective, it doesn't hurt as much to see your flaws because you know that all people are imperfect. You can smile with affection at your shortcomings because you also claim your beauty.

Try this:

Practice feeling kind and accepting of yourself. Hold onto this attitude as you consider one of your best qualities. After a few moments hold on to the same frame of mind while you consider one of you flaws. Consider, out of kindness, the first step in dealing with this flaw. It can be especially powerful if you smile slightly while you are practicing this mindfulness activity. It signals your brain that you are calm and safe.

I am currently publishing a book titled I'm Not Good Enough: How the Stories You Tell Yourself are Ruining Your Life. By following my blog, you will be notified when it is ready for purchase. I would love to hear from you. Please scroll down to the bottom of this page (past the banner of recent posts) to leave a comment.

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