We See What We Want to See

We often ignore facts and choose to see what we want to see.

Blues and greens are my favorite colors. To steal a line from James Taylor, deep greens and blues are the colors I choose. Always have. Believe I always will.

My preference for blues leads me to ignore other colors, even when they are obviously more prominent.

Case in point.

I call one of our couches the blue couch. This couch also has some tan, orange, and brown in it. To be truthful, it has a LOT of tan, orange, and brown with very little blue.

No matter.

This couch is the blue couch.

At various times friends have visited and I’ve shown them the couch, asking what color they think it is. I do this to prove the point I’m right in how I describe said couch.

None say blue.

I point out the blue and they say something like, yeah, okay, and give me a strange look.

No. I’m not color blind. I just happen to see what I want to see.

But don’t we do the same when we look at people?

We see what we want to see.

If we want to see their failings, that’s what we’ll focus on. That’s what we’ll choose to see, and that’s how we will define them.

It won’t matter a whit if that one negative thing is the only failure in a life of accomplishments. The failure is what stands out to us. That’s the lens we see them through. It’s how we view them. That’s our blue couch.

We don’t view them as a composite of multiple colors which combine to create a beautiful masterpiece. We choose to see them only as the one color with which we choose to paint them.

I have a theory on why we tend to do this based on nothing but observation and personal experience. It makes us feel better about our self to point out others’ failings, even when their failings are often our own. By some perverse reasoning, we believe making others look bad makes us look good.

If we go around looking for the bad in people, we’ll surely find it.

And you know what?

If we go around looking for the good, we’re gonna find that too.

It’s all a matter of perspective, don’t you think?

We can concentrate on a person’s failure, but that doesn’t make the good go away any more than me focusing on the blue in my couch makes the tan, orange, and brown go away.

It’s not what you look at that matters. It’s what you see. Henry David Thoreau

It’s okay if you think my blue couch is tan. Really. It is.

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Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults—unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier. Luke 6:37 (MSG)

I wish you well.


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