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do you have a clear view?

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?

Comments

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Awesome analogy of human-ness!

To wipe away smudges from my personal perspective I keep vigilant of judging others, when those thoughts creep in I peer inward and see what in myself needs working on.

And I'm super-good at saying I'm sorry, and meaning it -- I need to be, I mess up on a continual basis. :)

Hi -

I just came over from Giovanna Garcia's Imperfect Action blog. This was a great first post to read. I'm at a point in life where I'm really beginning to see how much my "view" has been affected looking at the world through a dirty film. Doesn't the world shine when it's wiped away?

Carla Mercer
Miracle Life Solutions

Jannie - Thank you! :) We all mess up all the time but it's great that you're good at saying sorry and actually meaning it. That's SO important.

Carla - Welcome! Thanks for stopping by. The world DOES shine when you wipe that dirty film away. What a great point!

Love the idea of a biiiiggg swath of suds running down and washing everything clean.... :)

How about the times it's not just dirt we don't see but rose colored glasses?

Allegra - Me too! What a great image to imagine when thinking about creating a clearer view of the world!

Nicole - Excellent point! Rose-colored glasses are just as negative in many cases as prejudices...they can do a lot of harm and prevent people from truly seeing what's happening in their lives. Thanks for making this point. It's an important one!

Hi Dani,

I'm like Jannie - awesome analogy!

Our life up to this point has created the lens we look through - including any cleaning we do to that lens. I find some clarity, or a way to "clean the lens" through reading material that helps me grow into the person I desire to be. And through that reading, and application - I hopefully end up with a lens with a few less smudges on it. Reading here is one way that does exactly that - thank you Dani!

I loved your analogy today. I try to keep a clear view by asking for other people's opinion. I think we are all inherently biased in the way we look at the world -- Biased by our own perceptions, distortions (like what you wrote about earlier), and the way we were brought up. So, asking other people how they see the situation can help form a more realistic picture.

Lance - Thanks for the kind words! :) They made me happy. I completely agree that reading and learning more about the world and ourselves definitely helps us to clean our lens. I LOVE reading. Check out my list of "Brilliant Books" to the right if you haven't already.

Vi - So glad you enjoyed the post! I agree that asking other people about their views of a situation is a great way to get a fresh perspective about what's going on. Thanks for the comment!

I find it's most helpful to check out another view. The catch with it however is that checking out another view is probably the hardest of the three on the list.

Do you have any ideas on being more open minded?

You are so self aware. Love it!

I'm pretty good at realizing the present is fleeting. I know I will feel differently, think differently, etc. about what is going on when looking at it in hindsight...and context. It's amazing how different the situation is when viewing it from inside the confines of ourselves in that very moment and then, later, viewing it on the outside -- without the emotions, feelings, thoughts and influences of others layering on top of one another.

Also, I try to live without judging. If I catch myself doing it (I am human after all), I refocus and go on with life. In the beginning of doing this, I realized how much negativity and life wasting uselessness comes with the act of judgment, whether it be internally or externally focused. This has drastically improved my view when I "look out the window" because, spotted or not, it's OK just as it is.

If I want to clear away some smudges, that is great as well...because I always appreciate the clean without loathing the imperfect. :-)

This is such a great analogy for seeing clarity in your life. It's cool that you could see something as simple as window washing and extract this from it.

The first thing I do is realize that we all see things through our own little reality illusion. Also we can always choose higher ground were the view is better due to the presence of acceptance.

I like your distortion question. That's a good way to pose it.

Hi Dani

This reminds me of the imperfection of live: sometime there are smudges. We do our best to clean our window and the way we look at life. All we can do is the best of what we can.

Thanks for sharing.
Giovanna Garcia
Imperfect Action is better than No Action

Dan - Good point. It's definitely hard to look at different perspectives. You might want to check out a couple of my posts -- "unlock 10 ways to be more open" and "stop judging." You might find them helpful.

Suzanne - Thank your for your wonderful comment. Your insights are awesome. I love what you've said about appreciating the clean without loathing the imperfect. Such a great way to view the world.

Srinivas - Glad to hear you liked the post. It's not always easy to example our own views on life, but the window washing really sparked something within me that made me really want to think about how I'm viewing the world.

Tom - Love the idea of seeing things from a higher ground. What a great way to think about it. Thanks for your comment!

Giovanna - You're right. Life (and our perceptions) aren't perfect, but we can do the best we can to clean our views. After doing the best we can, we can only see things from our own unique perspectives.

How interesting: I was thinking about this the other day, too. I've become quite aware that I don't see things the same way another might, especially myself and my life. My vision is clouded by self-criticism, low self-esteem, perfectionism, desires for more. negative thoughts I assume others have about me.

It's also clouded by judgment. Sometimes I really long to see me, or my life, or even the town I live in, through fresh eyes, an uncluttered mind. I'm working on that. :)

Steph - I think it's inevitable that we all see ourselves and our lives from a tainted view. It's pretty hard not to. But I do think we have an option to step back and try to see our world through new eyes.

What an interesting post that was inspired by your windows being washed! I think it is important to "notice the smudges" and realize that we see our life through lenses shaped by our experiences. I'm not sure it is possible to "wipe off the dirt" but just noticing the dirt might be enough to help.

I love the part about checking out other views. When we do that we usually find that other people are just like we are, only they are seeing life through their own unique lenses.

Diane - Thanks for your comment! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I agree that some things cannot be simply wiped away, just like real smudges and marks on the window. I bet if I looked really closely I'd notice things on the window that really can't be removed (like maybe a tiny little crack), but we can do the best we can to see the dirt and clean up the dirt and smudges that are within our cleaning capabilities. Great comment. Thank you!

Lovely analogy you have here!! I can totally relate to the idea that our views of the world can be distorted, tainted or colored by our very own perceptions. If we are in conflict with others, it may be a good idea to ask ourselves if our "window" to the world may be giving only one perceptive.

One technique I find useful, particularly when I dislike a situation in my life, is to say to myself "I'm experiencing this situation as irritating," as in "I'm experiencing this traffic jam as frustrating" rather than "this traffic jam is frustrating." Just reminding myself that there's no such thing as an objectively bad situation, and that any "badness" I see in it is the result of the "lens" through which I view the world, helps clean up that lens.

Funny...I just washed the windows in my kitchen and living room...I immediately felt better! It's interesting, because I felt like I needed that clarity. It was a metaphor for my life. I need more clarity and I think I am finding it.

I found your blog only a week or two ago, and I absolutely love it.

I'm a negative person and I'm quite unhappy. But lately I've been trying really hard to change that. After reading your posts, I feel so inspired. You have such great ideas and views, it's really creating an impact on me.

I was wondering if maybe you could give me some advice on how to live a fearless life, not being afraid to take risks. To be spontanious. Because I think something that is lacking in my life, is that I'm too scared to actually live.
When I go on holidays with my family and my friends once a year, all my friends and my two sisters are jumping off rocks into the water and surfing waves, while I just sit back watch. I don't want that anymore. But I don't know how to go about letting go of the fear, and just going for it.

If you have any advice at all for me, it would be very appreciated.
Thanks so much for your wise words, you are an inspiration and you're really making a difference in the world.


-Hannah

Evelyn - Thanks for your comment. So happy you liked the analogy! :) It's definitely important to try to get a different perspective. Even looking at the same thing from a different window pane can really change what it is that you see.

Chris - That is a GREAT technique. I love it and I'm definitely going to put it to use in my own life. Thank you so much for sharing that here!

Caroline - How funny! I guess everyone's up to a little window washing these days. I'm so glad to hear that you're finding the clarity you've been seeking. That's a wonderful feeling.

Hannah - Your comment made my day! :) I'm so happy to know that I'm making a difference in your world. I am also a very negative person and it's hard for me to focus on the positive, but this blog has helped me immensely. Writing about and thinking about positivity all the time has changed the way I view the world BIG TIME. However, I still struggle with negativity on a daily basis so know that you're not alone... Interesting topic of living life spontaneously...I'll be honest with you. If I were in that situation, I would not be jumping off of rocks either. I don't spend all that much time in the "wild" and I certainly wouldn't be getting into any unfamiliar waters! I don't even go on roller coaster rides! I'm pretty much a scaredy cat when it comes to things like that. However, I'm okay with that. I don't need to do those things, don't want to, and don't feel like it harms me not to. If you want to do those things though and you feel like something deep within you is holding you back, I would take the time to understand what it is you're really afraid of. Are you afraid of getting hurt? Are you afraid of dying? Are you afraid of not doing these things as well as others? Look inside yourself and you will find the answers. One great way to do this is by going to therapy. I LOVE my therapist and she has helped me to see the reasons why I do things. In your case, you could find out why you're scared. I believe in living life to the fullest and enjoying every moment. However, that doesn't mean I'm not scared of certain things or think that some activities aren't for me. If you don't want to do something, don't. Be true to who you are. If you do and you're just stopped by fear, figure out why. I thank you so, so much for your comment. It means a lot to me and I hope that in some small way I was able to help you out.

This is great, and ties in with a post that went live today on my blog re: judgment. I think the clearest view we can have as humans is to look at things without judgment. Just see them without placing labels on them from our conditioning.
I also liked Vi's suggestion to ask for other people's opinions, too. Interesting technique and great comments from everyone!

Megan - I agree that there were some great comments on this post -- including yours! :) I'm looking forward to checking out your post on judgment. I wrote about judging last week (I think?) and I think it's such an interesting topic and something I struggle with all of the time (in relation to both myself and others). Off to check it out...

I just analogies, and this one works really very well. Thanks for sharing it.

How do I clean my windows? If I'm honest, not as often or as well I'd like. I take myself off to retreats and workshops to learn (or more often than not, help others learn) how to see more clearly. That helps. I'm not into regular window cleaning - more like periodic major clean-ups. But the dirt always comes back and needs wiping away.

Writing my blog helps too. Going public with my writing somehow urges me to check my viewpoint.

Great post, Dani

Thanks so very much for your advice! Greatly appreciated and I'll definitely take what you said on board.

Thanks again.

-Hannah

LOVE this post, Dani ~ Thanks!

most of time, when i need to clear my view - i try to remember to OPEN MY EYES .

Ian - I definitely agree that blogging helps to clean up some of the dirt in my life. I tend to be like you and do the big clean-up which, I think, is okay (though maybe constant cleaning would be ideal).

Hannah - You're welcome! I'm glad I could help out a bit.

Lisa - Opening our eyes is KEY. It's funny how often we are looking at the world from a squinted or hazy viewpoint.

Hi Dani .. thanks for getting us to see through a clear screen .. my windows always look better once John has gone .. it's now the inside parts I need to clean!

Think before acting .. clear the motes from our eyes and from our thought process .. giving us a clear brain to view from ..

Thanks for letting us see the light -
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters

Love your analagies. Smudges, don't we all have them from time to time. I think each time I clean my glasses I'll ask myself what in my life am I not seeing clearly.

I like to clean mine up with silence, meditation and prayer.

Shifting my perception is key for me. It's always a good thing to put myself in another's shoes as well. Great post!

Hilary - Ah, the insides are the hardest part, aren't they? If you think about how great it is to look through a clean window it will really inspire you to clean up your view of life, getting rid of all those little smudges.

Tess - What a great idea -- asking yourself what needs cleaning every time you clean your glasses! That's an excellent idea, to have some sort of little trigger that makes us think more about how we're viewing the world. Thanks for your comment. I'm inspired to think of my own little trigger now!

I always tell myself, "Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle."

It's funny, (or maybe not so funny,) but I've reflected on this post over the weekend - wanted you to know of its wonderful positive impact.

And I've been going around singing "On A Clear Day." You know that song? Sinatra. Love it!

Meream - What a wonderful quote. Thank you so much for sharing it. I am really going to think about that when interacting with others.

Jannie - I'm so happy to know that this post has had a positive impact on you -- AND to know that it's inspired some singing. :) YAY!

I saw through a smudged lens for so long. I think that things are much clearer for me now.

Syd - Me too! YAY for both of us! It's not all that easy to clean up the view, but it's so refreshing to see the world through a clear window.

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