Let it go
Life is experienced differently for each and everyone of us. We all have “filters” that colour the way we see the world. These filters are created throughout our lives. They are moulded by our upbringing, our past experiences and our genetics to a lesser degree. For example:
A neutral event occurs: Two people are sitting in a room and a dog walks in.
One person could be really excited to see the dog while the other person could be frightened. It’s the same event but 2 different reactions. This can be explained by the two people’s different filters. One person may have grown up with dogs and feel very safe around them whilst the other may have had a bad experience with the dog.
A lot of the events in life are neutral and can be perceived in many different ways by different people depending on their filters. psychological research has identified some common filters that people possess. A fewer examples of these are:
The above are just a few examples of common filters that influence how we perceive the world around us. Someone with an “abandonment” filter may be hypersensitive to the behaviours of a partner in a romantic relationship. If they experienced abandonment in their childhood, they may be looking out for signs that they will once again be abandoned. As a result their behaviour would be different when confronted with a neutral event such as a partner not returning their calls immediately compared with a person who has a “self sacrifice” filter. Someone with a self sacrifice filter would more likely be worrying about their partner and want to offer them their spare phone in case their partner’s phone has been stolen or lost. When we do not possess the filter that triggers our emotions we are more likely to let it go, move on from the upsetting situation.
As you can see from the examples above, certain events in life trigger different filters within us. What filters do you possess? Think about past experiences that have caused you distress. Try to see whether there is a common pattern. Are there certain “triggers” in life that set you off? Be aware of how your thinking maybe distorting reality. Take the emotion out of the equation and try to see the underlying neutral situation. When you become aware of your emotional filters it becomes easier to deal with life in a calm manner.
Understanding our personal filters takes a little practice. It is worth the effort and encourages rational thinking in the face of chaos. When something regularly upsets you, it is vital to learn how to let it go.