We humans form opinions of one another all the time. And while we’re busy looking at other people, they’re busy looking back at us. Some people will see us as wise and inspiring. Others will see us as naïve and foolish. Some will see us as beautiful and magnetic. Others will see us as unattractive and unworthy.
How can we be all that wrapped up in one? If we are good, shouldn’t we seem good to everyone? If we are bad, shouldn’t we seem bad to everyone? What’s up with all these different opinions? Which ones are real?
The answer is: none of them. The way people react to you has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with them.
I look at it this way: every person on earth walking around with their own custom eyewear. Some wear dark, reflective lenses and have a tendency to project their own insecurities back onto others. Some wear rose-colored lenses with a constant sense of optimism and perhaps a propensity to turn a blind eye to reality. Some wear clouded lenses and are too busy carrying their smudgy pasts to see clearly in the present. Others wear magnified lenses so they constantly inspect and analyze every single detail of life but have a difficult time seeing the big picture. Still others wear completely blacked-out shades, completely oblivious to the outside word (and sometimes I envy them).
There are very few among us that wear crystal clear lenses. Those are the ones that should be running the world, but are typically too intelligent to get involved in politics and choose to be awesome elsewhere.
Our lenses are created by our choices, reactions, experiences, and upbringings combined with our innate personality. They are relatively malleable if we want them to be, but it’s not uncommon for people to get stuck slipping on the same specs day after day. We are creatures of habit, after all, and most of us prefer to stick with what we know.
It’s important to remember that you’re not an optometrist; you can’t change someone’s prescription and alter the way they see the world. They are more than welcome to head to the nearest Sunglass Hut and pick up a fresh pair of Ray Ban’s any time they’d like but it’s not up to you to do it for them.
At the same time, be self-aware enough to recognize when you are viewing the world in a biased way. Step back and notice the patterns in your own life. If you are constantly getting screwed over by your “friends,” could it be because you are wearing lenses that subconsciously look for opportunities to get yourself screwed over? If your life feels like it’s falling apart and nothing is going right, could it be because your current prescription only allows negative light to filter in? Remember that although you don’t have the power to change the views of others, you have all the power in the world to change your own.