We all have blind spots.
Recently, I noticed that I felt triggered — frustrated, irritated — by someone (let’s call him Jay) after a conversation. Jay had made some bold (and I thought offensive) generalizations about a group of people that I identify with. I couldn’t believe the audacity of his comment, the brazenness of his generalization. During our conversation, I noticed that I was triggered, so I told myself to slow down, to breathe deeply, to give myself some time and space to understand why I was so upset.
Afterward, I called a friend (a fellow therapist) and told her what had transpired. I could feel the part of me that wanted validation, the comfort of knowing that my feelings were “justified.” At the same time, I already knew that I had missed an opportunity with Jay to contact the feelings that lay beneath the surface of his statements. I had missed a chance to connect more deeply with him, to be curious about his point of view, and to stand in my own point of view, even as it differed from his. I also know that I called this particular therapist friend intentionally, knowing that she would hold me to a higher awareness, that she would challenge me to look more closely at my role in what I was feeling.
I had a blind spot and my friend helped me see it. Instead of telling me I was right and that Jay was wrong, instead of pumping up my ego and creating more separation, she held me accountable to myself.
We all have blind spots.
They are innocent and unconscious, and also potentially troublesome as we make our way through the world. Having someone we trust to help us see our blind spots — in an atmosphere of positive regard and lovingkindness — can be invaluable in our personal evolution and in learning to live more comfortably and honestly in the world. External reflection challenges us to see what we otherwise wouldn’t see — and maybe don’t want to see.
I returned to Jay and owned my blind spot. I apologized for any impact it may have had and asked him to share his experience. And from there we had an honest, engaged conversation about our differences, without generalization, without irritation, and with genuine appreciation for one another.
♥ ♥ ♥
Rafia Rebeck, MEd, MA, LPCC, is trained in the Hakomi Method of Psychotherapy. She offers a warm, sincere, and safe approach for those who seek personal transformation through mindfulness. Please feel welcome to get in touch by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. If this blog postcard was meaningful for you, please feel free to share it with others who may benefit.