How Our Filter Messes With Our Relationships
Years ago, I had a housemate that I could never seem to please. While I harbored no ill will towards him, he seemed to be offended at everything I said or did, regardless of my intention behind it. If I tried to apologize or explain my intentions, he wouldn’t hear them. I started to feel like everything I did, regardless of my intent would be taken as being rude or inconsiderate, and I felt like I was walking on eggshells. It was exhausting!
In a calmer moment between us, I tried to explain to him that he (like everyone) has a filter, which paints our perspective about how we see the world. If there is someone that he has negative associations with in his past that I subconsciously remind him of, then he sees me through that filter. I believed he had an opinion of me that he was subconsciously trying to hold on to, because he wasn’t willing to hear that my intentions were not what he perceived them to be.
This filter we have can make or break relationships.
You know what I am talking about. You’ve met people that you feel like you have to walk on eggshells with. You know people that get easily angered or triggered regardless of your intentions, right? On the other hand, you probably also know people who you can laugh and joke around with, and even tease, and they seem to be fine with laughing at their own expense.
Often times this filter changes regularly in the same relationships as well, and it all depends on our mood and the context.
We often forget this about this filter, but because it is SO powerful at shaping our story, it is important that we fully appreciate its impact. Below is a true story about how it even shapes how we view an image!
A client walked into my office, and admired the cherry blossom screen that stood between her and my desk. She commented on its beauty and the gorgeous colors and was so moved by it that she even composed a song instantly in its honor!
She had come to me because she felt incredibly angry and distressed by her ex. She felt she had devoted her life to him, and then he ended up leaving her for someone younger. As we released the anger, the betrayal, the disgust at herself and him and those feelings of hopelessness and loss, the branch that held those beautiful blossoms was now evolving in her mind into a viscous dragon! She now could no longer see the blossoms, but also saw angry spiders evolving from the main branch! She was so disturbed by the new image she saw, that it gave her shivers. She was clearly bothered by it, so I told her to not look at it for now. Instead, I gave her my LifeLong EverPurr brochure, full of adorable cats, thinking it would soothe her, and told her to focus on it.
She took one look at a wide-eyed cat on its back, and told me that it looked terrified. But when I saw that same picture, the cat looked to me like she was in a playful mood! She looked at another cat in the brochure with its eyes closed, to me looking like in a blissful purr. But she told me that the cat looked like it was in incredible pain!
What was going on?
When we release trapped emotions, negative beliefs, and other unpleasant energies, most of the time, clients end up feeling lighter. But sometimes they feel the emotions we are releasing as they are on their way out. This negative filter was shaping the way she saw the world. She declared that everything was frightening, and she just wanted to run away!
I worked with her to clear those thoughts. After releasing the negative emotions that were shaping how she perceived her environment, she described how the dragon was disappearing and the cherry blossoms were returning! Then she looked at the cats, the same images she had seen only minutes ago, but now she saw a playful cat (on its back), and a happy, but sleepy cat.
The images did not change. But the emotional landscape of her filter changed how she perceived them!
This happens to all of us, but the effects are not usually this pronounced. If you have relationships where you alter from getting along to having conflict or tension, much of this is based on the changing of our filter.
Unfortunately, the effects of our filter however, are usually below our conscious awareness. We often fool ourselves in to believing that we are seeing the true and “pure” version of the story. This can cause us to get married to our story, and it becomes harder to access our wisdom to solve disagreements.
So what is this filter made of? It is developed by our accumulative lifelong experiences, and even our epigenetic (emotional imprints passed down from previous generations) experiences. It is also based on our mood, which is shaped by what is going on in our lives at the time.
When we release subconscious barriers, we are regularly changing the filters through how we view our lives. This does not mean we will be able to go from hating someone to loving them instantly. But releasing the negative story gives us a helicopter view of what is really happening. Because we are no longer so attached to our emotions and our story around the issue, we have greater access to our wisdom. We can then note patterns, and decide whether this person is worth or safe to keep in our lives. It can also help us find more compassion for their past and their needs, and it becomes easier to forgive them for their imperfections. Often it allows us to see our role in the relationship more objectively as well!
I’ve helped several clients save their marriages through this process. One client decided after this process to leave her husband who wasn’t capable of meeting her needs. Another returned to her ex after being divorced for 3 years, and did so with a new awareness of how to have a loving and successful relationship that met both of their needs! Regardless, clients have always ended up with more peace of mind around the relationship.
Image “Sisters Arguing” courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image “Sisters Showing Victory Sign” courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net