Yesterday, the windows at my work were cleaned. As I watched the woman carefully and methodically wiping the sudsy liquid from my view, I thought to myself, "Wow, those windows were dirty!" Apparently it had been years since they'd been cleaned and there was a barely noticeable layer of filth that I'd been looking through for the past few months. This, of course, got me thinking. For months I've been looking through a dirty window, thinking it was fairly clean. I'd noticed a smudge or two, but until the window was scrubbed clean I'd had NO idea how dirty it really was.
Where am I going with this? Well, this whole window washing situation got me thinking about my life and wondering what kind of window I was looking at it through. Is my view, I wondered, a clear one? Lately I've been working a great deal on my personal development. I've been doing my best to take in different opinions, to listen, to read, to learn. I'm trying to understand what exactly is going on in this life. But yesterday I got to thinking: am I looking at the world with a clear view? And, more importantly, what is a clear view?
To me, a clear view is a matter of opinion. Some might think one type of clear is good, while another might not consider that view clear at all. Of course I'd like to think that my view is perfectly clear, but one always has to wonder... after all, our opinions, our pasts, are tainting everything we think. So I gave this some thought and came up with some ideas about how I could make sure that my view was a a clear one. Never will our perceptions of the world be flawless, but I do believe there are ways we can adjust our viewpoints so that they are a bit clearer. After all, wouldn't you rather look through a clear, clean window than one that is dirtied with misconceptions and biases?
How To Clarify Your View
Notice the smudges.
Just like with my window washing experience, most of us probably don't realize when our perceptions are smudged. We don't realize, more often then not, when we're seeing things from a distorted viewpoint. So, the key here is to recognize what's mucking up your view. What is distorting you from seeing things as they really are? For me, the past has a lot to do with how I view the world. I let it impact how I see the present and that is not a good thing. But, now that I'm realizing this, I can start working on it.
Wipe off the dirt.
Once you've recognized what the issues are -- where the smudges lie -- you can begin the hard part: cleaning up. Most of us don't even want to think about what the issues are, let alone try to clean them up. It's not easy to admit to ourselves that we're not seeing something clearly, but once we do that, we have a great starting point for seeing the dirt and cleaning it up.
Check out other views.
Even if your view seems sparklingly clean, there are always little tiny specks of dirt you're not necessarily noticing. For this reason, I think it's very important to look through other windows, see things from other people's perspectives. Looking through other windows gives us the opportunity to see things from a new point of view. Sometimes it's a clearer view. Sometimes it's not. Either way, it's new view and that is something that's always worth taking a look at.
It's not always easy to admit that we're not looking through a clean window at the world around us. It's not always easy to admit that it's been a long, long while since we've taken the time to clean our windows and re-evaluate our views. As for me, I once preferred to just let the dirt cloud my view, not really worried about how my own prejudices, perceptions, or past were getting the way. Well, maybe I didn't prefer it that way, but I certainly allowed it to be that way. Lately, I'm starting to see that it's worth taking the time to grab a rag and some soap and clean off that dirty layer of filth. I'm starting to see that I'd rather deal with the dirt (annoying as that might be) than go on seeing the world from behind a smudged piece of glass.
How do you clarify your view of the world?
What tactics do you use to wipe away the smudges from your personal perspective?