Sometimes you have a history with someone, and you have pain around the interaction, and it clouds your ability to see the person clearly, even years later. We are all in process all the time, it never ends. The way you were three years ago is not the way you are today. There’s been growth, and change and movement. And so it is with everyone else. People make mistakes, and no one is operating from their highest selves in every moment. We've all made choices we’d love to go back and redo. Sometimes people have so much heat and pain between them, even when something small happens, the reaction to it is huge. As if every single way the person had ever disappointed you or hurt you is also in the mix. And maybe they just forgot to pick up their socks. (Not that it’s considerate to make a habit of leaving your dirty socks around for someone else to pick up, I’m just saying that’s all it may take to tick a person off sometimes, and before you know it, you’re screaming about something they said 10 years ago to your mother. Or something.)
Sometimes the inability to see a person clearly happens at the beginning. People write or make mental notes and lists of qualities they’d like in a partner - It’s good to know what you’re looking for as far as your “non-negotiables” are concerned, which might include things like loyalty or a good sense of humour, but I’m talking about lists that include eye colour and hair color and six-pack abs and an interest in croquet and salsa dancing, etc. Then they meet a person with the “right” colour eyes, and start projecting the entire list on to the unsuspecting person. Who maybe doesn’t like croquet. And they miss the chance to get to know someone as they are. And then see if it’s a good fit. This can come out of a deep desire for intimacy and connection, which is totally understandable, but can create a tendency to sweep things under the rug. And hormones can also fog your lens right up.
It’s not just romantically, either. Familial relationships are a classic context for this stuff. You may be a full-grown adult who functions well in the world, but find when you go back to your parents place it’s as if you regress - you go back in time to the you you were when you were fifteen. Or that your parents still treat you like that kid who should get a smaller portion at dinner. Siblings often interact the way they did growing up, either supporting each other, or blasting each other, or some combination of both.
If you’re feeling incredibly lonely, that can also clog your lens. Maybe you think every person who says 'hi' to you might really want to sleep with you. Or you think everyone hates you. There are all kinds of ways we mis-perceive reality, and it’s important to recognize that, or at least factor it into your mix. To ask yourself if you’re feeling heated over something, or defeated, or confused or angry or rejected or mistreated, if there’s any possibility you’re not seeing things clearly. If maybe you have some part in what’s happening. Because you do. You have your experiences and your outlook, and it’s essential to understand how those things are helping you filter the data that’s coming at you, or not.
If you think you suck, or people suck, your lens is distorted. If you think another person is only ever going to be the way they were with you at some given point in time, your lens is also in need of a wiping. You also might want to throw into the equation your dynamic with someone. Sometimes two people bring out the worst in each other, or push buttons or bring up past pain unintentionally. Just because your interaction didn’t work doesn’t mean other relationships will face the same demise for you, or for them. You can’t “peg’ people. I know we love to do that, but people are in flux just like everything else is in flux. And it feels awful to be pegged, right? To be unforgiven, to have every mistake you’ve ever made reflected back at you every time you talk to someone with whom you were once so close.
We often fear too much; that eventually our own fears cheat us out of our dreams; right now God is bigger than whatever you're worried about, even though life puts you in tough situations; don't ask why? Just say try me. Understand that every day is a challenge but not every day is the same challenge, its like a test; you pass or you fail, but that doesn't mean give up on yourself, believe in yourself enough to know what's your worth, and don't overlook the people, answers and signs He places in your path...
Life is not perfect; it never will be. You just have to make the very best of it and have to open your heart to what the world can show you, sometimes its terrifying and sometimes its incredibly beautiful. So, ignore the next person's ignorance, hate, drama and negativity - it stops you from becoming the best person you can be. Mistakes made are proof that you are trying; it's not proof that you'll never be successful - God hasn't given up on you, why would you want to give up on yourself or make somebody else's reality your own? -
(adapted from the writings of Ally Hamilton)