Most of us have such psychological “blind spots,” aspects of our personalities that are obvious to everyone but ourselves.There’s the mother who complains, “I don’t know why little Horace is so violent—I’ve smacked him for it a thousand times.” Or your gorgeous friend who believes she has all the seductive allure of a dung beetle.
A client I’ll call Shirley recently complained, “When my sister was fired, I thought we’d bond because we both had the same bad luck.
But then she started her own business, so it turns out that for her getting fired was good luck.
All three have gone through life blaming their relationship patterns on other people’s shortcomings. Many of my clients have lost jobs in the recent economic downturn, but those who were previously doing well in their careers are finding ways to learn from their experience and bounce back.
Those who complained of relentless bad luck before being laid off have slid further downhill.
We only “go blind” to information that is so troubling, so frightening, or so opposed to what we believe that to absorb it would shatter our view of ourselves and the world.
On the other hand, becoming fully conscious of our perceptions—simply feeling what we feel and knowing what we know—is the very definition of awakening.
Complete the following sentences as accurately as you can, and you might be closing in on a truth you haven’t fully acknowledged.
If you heartily agree with all the information that pops up in response to these phrases, you’ve simply reinforced an accurate self-concept by recalling times when others have validated your perceptions.
These people don’t know that they carefully choose friends and lovers who match certain psychological profiles or that their behavior elicits similar reactions from almost everyone they encounter.
It would take you about five minutes with Macy to see that she’s so self-effacing she actually resists normal friendships, gravitating only toward takers.
Or the coworker who complains that, mysteriously, every single person he’s ever worked for develops the identical delusion that he’s shiftless and incompetent.