And so do I.
We all look at life through filters. You’ve probably heard the phrase “rose-colored glasses” used to describe people who are looking at life optimistically.
Well, not every filter is as innocent and positive as that. Sometimes, we filter reality in such a way that it gets distorted. We start seeing others — and ourselves — in ways that aren’t realistic, aren’t positive and aren’t healthy.
I won’t get into the psychology of things. There’s a ton of great info out there, and it’s a huge subject. I bring it up because if we start looking for this, we can catch it and make better choices. I will mention one book, simply because it opened my eyes in a big way to one aspect of this phenomenon. Leadership and Self-Deception is an excellent resource, whether for business, personal improvement, or even in the context of church and faith communities.
Case in Point: Feeling Superior on Facebook
Do you know how easy it is to self-edit your own experience so you feel superior to others?
This just happened. Yeah, to me — even me! (Go ahead, look shocked. I’ll wait.)
I discovered an article on a topic of interest. It was a good article, very informative, but there was an obvious piece of information missing. There were many hyperlinks in the article to other sites, but none were obviously linking to the missing info. I guessed at one and found the info I was looking for.
I shared the article on Facebook.
Someone commented on my post, saying they wished the article author had included certain information. Somewhere, faintly, I heard, “She’s criticizing the article you shared.”
I wanted to defend myself. I started typing a response:
“The article links to that information.”
As if to say, “There’s nothing wrong with that article. I always post wonderful articles. If you’d read it carefully and followed the links you would have found the information you’re looking for. That’s what I did. You must be lazy. Unobservant. Nothing like me. I thought it was obvious and noticed it right away.”
Now, all this runs through my mind in a tiny sliver of a split second as I type those six words. I almost posted the comment.
And then grace and truth slipped in, and His gentle voice reminded me: “Teddi, you had the exact same experience she did. You looked for that info and was disappointed that the article didn’t have it. Are you really going be terse with her? Possibly make her feel silly for not having figured it out? Imply that it was obvious?”
That convicting whisper went on, “Why don’t you help her instead? Why don’t you admit that you had the same trouble finding the info that she did and share the link to it so she doesn’t have to search it out?”
I edited the comment:
“Hey, I thought that, too. Her article links to a page with that info, but she doesn’t label the link very clearly. It goes here (scroll down a bit for the missing info)…”
And I pasted the link so she wouldn’t have to go look it up herself.
Easily Missed, But Worth Looking For
This behind-the-scenes look at the thoughts that flash through my head isn’t shared to make me look good. I don’t think it does, really. I mean, it’s great that I was nice after the fact, but my first instinct was to selfishly try to look superior and defend what I’d shared.
That’s the first instinct of all humanity.
There are things, deep things and subtle things, that flash across our minds all the time, informing our decisions and influencing what we say and do to others.
Moment by moment, we are choosing who we are. With every word we say. Every deed we do. [tweetthis url=”http://ctt.ec/9fxVZ”]
Choose wisely, my friends. Choose wisely.