How would you feel if I told you that you shouldn’t always trust your own thoughts? What if the reasons for your undesired results were hidden from you, like a blind spot. How would you ever know?
Blind spots are a part of human nature, we all have them. Limitless possibilities are all around you and within you. However, your conditioning, ideals, beliefs, and desires are limiting and twisting the way you absorb information. This creates blind spots that obscure your perception and steals your access to the enormous potential in life.
What is a blind spot?
Have you ever driven your car and just as you were about to change lanes another driver laid on his horn? Your adrenaline spiked, you panicked and swerved back into your original lane. The driver you were about to cut off or collide with glared at you with a perplexed look as if you were from Mars. At that moment you might have felt confusion, embarrassment, or fear. “UGH!! How did I not see that car?”
You were so certain the lane was clear and it was safe to move over. So, why were you unaware of the fact that another car was right there? We commonly refer to this situation as having a “blind spot”. This means there is something specific you can’t see. Other drivers may have seen it coming, as they had a different perspective, but for you, it was obscured. Much like blind spots in our car’s mirrors, our minds are also full of them.
What creates blind spots in your life?
Have you ever felt so sure that you were right about something only later to realize you were incorrect? Even your own arrogance can blind you. Blind spots are like illusions that are created by your mind. Ironically, illusions by their very nature can not be seen, as they are hidden from view. When we think our perceptions are reality, we generate a blind spot. Your view of reality is filtered through your memory of past experiences, your ideals, your beliefs, and your desires. Essentially your mind paints a subjective picture of situations that you like or dislike and then it stores those images in your memory. Our memories create the foundation for assumptions and keep us mentally living in our past. Along with being skewed by our perspectives and opinions, our memories are also quite inaccurate. We create unreliable mental imprints that can bring snap judgments, a false sense of confidence, and even righteousness.
An example of how the mind creates a blind spot could be when a person craves “love” and seeks it through infatuation. Typically, we see what we want to see: Therefore, we scan for evidence that supports what we desire. So, when a person is infatuated with someone, they track the qualities they like about them that fit with the mental picture they hold of a desirable partner. This admiration satisfies their need for “love”. At the same time, they omit less appealing attributes of the person that do not match their ideal mental image. The omissions generate a blind spot. Repeating these learned behaviours over time conditions us to develop opinions, conclusions, and limited perceptions.
Over time you identify yourself with your memories, opinions, beliefs, and desires. Thus, your mind can really play tricks on you. It’s a strange riddle for the mind because your thoughts mask who you are from who you think you are. Therefore, who you think you are, become more real.
What do blind spots steal from you?
Do you want to enjoy great relationships? Do you want to have profound and meaningful connections with people you care about? When your mind creates and stores images and stories about a person, it greatly affects your ability to accurately see them in the present moment. You are not seeing them for who they actually are. Instead, you are seeing them through the images and stories you’ve created about them and now hold to be true. These assumptions erode, even destroy, your ability to develop meaningful compassionate relationships. Blind spots limit your ability to truly understand and relate to a person because your personal bias distorts your perception.
Blind spots, also limit you from gaining effective control of your life. When your misdirected attention is focused on what you want to see, it blinds you to other valuable information. To be solidly grounded within yourself and make high-level decisions, you need an open and neutral mind that observes information objectively. With a clear mind and self-inquiry skills, you’ll understand your part in creating situations in your life. Developing these skills will bring you enormous self-worth and confidence.
What is the antidote to blind spots?
In order to “look behind the curtain” and discover your blind spots, and eventually remove the blind spots, you must find ways to increase your self-awareness. As well, you must take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, and actions. How will you do this?
- Acknowledge we all have blind spots. Accepting the fact that you have blind spots creates accountability and opens the door for change.
- Become present!! As much as possible get your mind out of the past! Use self-inquiry to gain insights, turn your attention inward, and focus on what you are saying to yourself.
- Reflect on the present challenge. If someone else is involved, question what you believe about this person’s behaviour. Is it possible you’re doing something similar? Is it possible you are in a blind spot? If so, what might it be?
Question your thoughts, challenge your assumptions. If you believe someone is being unreasonable, ask yourself: “Could this be a blind spot? Is it possible that I am being unreasonable?” Your idea of what’s unreasonable could be radically different than another person’s perception of unreasonable. When you judge them as “unreasonable” you give yourself permission to wrong or diminish their perspective. Once you clearly understand your part in co-creating in a situation it opens the opportunity for a conversation.
Self-assessment through questioning your thoughts is a great way to discover and remove blind spots. An effective way to achieve greater awareness is through self-reflection journaling. Most styles of journaling are “mind dumps” where a person vents their complaints and opinions. Self-reflection journaling is focused on being responsible for your thoughts, feelings, and actions through answering questions that dive into your inner world.
“Unpacking” what’s going on within yourself brings deeper clarity, insights, and accountability that uncovers your involvement in creating situations.