We all have a lens through which we view the world. This lens is created over time, starting at a young age, and is the result of our life experiences, what we have been told about ourselves, others, the world, and what we think about ourselves. This lens impacts the way we see things and can be very subjective. This is the reason why two people could be in the same situation and think and feel very differently about it.
It is important for you to know that this lens exists, but also for you to check in on your lens and assess whether it is working for you, or against you. This lens is heavily tied to your belief system and your mindset. For example, if you were going on a job interview and your belief system was that you were not good at interviewing and you were not one hundred percent qualified for the job, you would likely show up to the interview differently than someone who was very confident in both their interview and professional skills. In addition, if you believed you were not good at interviewing or not completely qualified for the job, when replaying the interview in your mind, you would highlight the things that went less than perfect. On the other hand, if you were confident, you would highlight all the things that went well during the interview. As you can see, your lens impacts both your actions and how you think about yourself and things that are happening in your life. It would be the same interview, however the lens you have would filter information in or out, based on your beliefs and mindset.
Your brain does not care whether what it highlights is helpful or not, it just follows what it thinks you want it to do. If you spend a lot of time focusing on the ways people have wronged you in the past, mistakes from the past, negative messages you have heard about yourself from others, or current challenges, you are telling your brain that these things are important. In return, it will highlight anything that fits into this narrative and try to give you more evidence to support it. This is when your brain is working against you instead of for you because thinking patterns like this result in negative emotions, that can both reinforce the unhelpful thinking pattern and negatively impact the actions you take (or don’t take) in your life.
The good news is that you can change your lens. If you find that you tend to be pessimistic, critical of others, critical of yourself, or you assume the worst-case scenario in many situations, you can change this way of thinking. What is important to note about this process is that it does not involve you lying to yourself or pretending that limitations and challenges in life don’t exist. Instead, it is about awareness, choosing what aspects of a situation you will focus on, and managing your brain instead of allowing it to manage you.
If you notice that you are feeling negative emotions about a situation or about yourself, try going through the questions below. If you do this consistently, you will start to rewire your brain so that your lens focuses more on the things you want it to be focusing on which will result in better feelings, which will then impact the actions you take.
Once you go through the questions above, note any themes in your thinking that you may have noticed. Sometimes people with lenses that don’t work for them have themes like the one’s below:
Even if you don’t find yourself saying those exact words to yourself, do you have your own version of one or more of these statements? If you do, you are not alone. We are all wired to focus on the negative or hard things, however, this can result in unnecessary negative feelings and suffering. If you experience this, and would like to start to have your “life lens” work in a way that feels better for you, try going through the questions above each time you see your lens working against you. When you do this, you take back control of your mind and can have it working for you, instead of against you.
Live your best boss lady life!
Karen Vincent Solutions
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