You're Not Seeing What I'm Seeing

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I have known one of my very dear friends for over eight years and she also happens to be one of my long-term clients whose flyers, cd covers, and newsletters I create. I really enjoy working with her because of her passion, drive, and Purpose. She’s delicious, really, and someone I have continually experienced as compassionate and loving. A multi-talented artist who can pick up any instrument and know it in 15 minutes, who sings with the voice of embodied angels, Leraine is one of those people who I count myself so very blessed to have in my circle.

Because I do her regular newsletters, I monitor her database. I follow up on bounces and keep her database clean so that we have a great open and click-thru rate. It is fun to watch her reach growing and to be witness to how she interacts with others. As I prepared for her most recent newsletter, I logged into her account and a report popped up about her last newsletter. Generally, I don’t pay attention to the opt-outs, but I noticed there were three on this last one and that was unusual for her. Clicking further into the report, I discovered that one of the exiting people had left this comment:

You're Not Seeing What I'm Seeing

I was stunned. I sat in front of my computer, staring at the words with my jaw flapping like a dying fish. I couldn’t make myself understand what this person had said about someone I love and know so well. My brain cascaded through the years of being in Leraine’s presence or in witnessing her with others to find an example of this person’s experience of Leraine. However, there was nothing that aligned to this description. It just isn’t what I know to be true about Leraine. I was so kerfuffled over this description of her that I even ran it by another person who has known Leraine for several years. She was shocked and stunned, as well.

I have thought about that person’s parting words for many days, my brain warping and bending around another’s experience and still being unable to conform to their experience. Try as I might, I couldn’t make myself believe the words. It was a very stark example of what happens when others are experiencing life through filters that do not match mine. My filters tell me that Leraine is pure love, accepting, humane, and an activist for the Divine. This person’s filters showed her a Leraine that was intolerable, judgmental and unkind. Our filters were polar opposites of one another.

My relationship with Leraine has developed entirely different lenses than that of this person and I feel sad that she is missing out on seeing the Leraine I see. While she is entitled to her own experience of Leraine, as painful as that must have been, the good news is, she doesn’t have to change her filter to match mine. Thankfully, I don’t have to change mine to match hers either.

When we are faced with experiences in life where we are viewing things with “hard” eyes that are firmly attached to viewing someone or something in a specific way, we have a choice. We can continue to use our “hard” eyes, or we can invite open, gentle vision to show us something we may not be seeing. And when we view the world through open, gentle eyes, we experience the world as open and gentle.

photo credit: pni via photopin cc


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10 Responses to Apparently You Aren’t Seeing What I See

  1. Kimberly says:

    What a great story! Filters and mirrors and it is a fabulous moment when we can see them in play! Happy New Year!

  2. Hi Angie
    Well we can’t control others opinions and we mustn’t let them control ours. It’s a challenge when someone is polar opposite to us but it is a good lesson for us when this pops up in our lives! Lots of love xx

  3. julie says:

    Hey Angie,
    I did finish your book BTW .. wonderful! This post really resonated with me. I had a friend who made a judgement about me this year that I found unbelievable. I mean, it truly was unbelievable that she could think something about me of that nature when we had been friends for decades,I was totally in shock for months actually. Then I woke up. It’s her stuff, her unhappiness, her life right now. Our friendship has altered dramatically, but it’s ok, it really is. It took me understanding exactly what you’ve talked about in this post, that everyone has a filter and each person processes through that. So perception is reality to them, not reality in general:) Thanks, great post.

  4. Suzie Cheel says:

    I remember being told to ignore unsubscribes and opt outs, We all see the world through our own thoughts and feeling. I know a recently had one that was critical of my art and I surprised myself in allowing that to wash away and sending that person blessings
    An interesting story

    • Angie K. Millgate says:

      It’s an interesting line to walk… paying attention to the unsubscribes or not… being detached, either way, is the best for me.

  5. What a good story to illustrate the idea of filters, and how we bring our individual stories to whatever we experience. Since there were 3 opt-outs that day, did the other two give any further insight? It’s so hard when someone has a negative perception of someone we hold dear and trust. It ultimately is a reminder of how subjective our experiences are. Whether that person brings negative perception to a great deal in her life will never be known; or perhaps something triggered her in a way she didn’t even understand. I very much like the expression “hard eyes” – just saying it I can feel a tightness enter into me. When I relax and breathe, I get gentle eyes!

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