When pre-conceptions cock block reality of finding a partner

What is your view? What do you see? What is your perception of what you see? What we think we see can determine how we react if we are not fully aware in the moment. 

I have come to realize that much of what I see, even with my physical eye, is learned behavior. Things I have been taught to see. Things my mind has been preconditioned to see and believe.

I recently went to an outdoor summer dinner party at a dear friend’s house. It was filled with the beautiful energy of loving friends. 

As people finished eating, I went around gathering up the dirty plates. I had a stack full. I walked into the house looking for the trash can. 

The host said, “It’s outside on the chair.” I walked back outside and looked around for 10 minutes and could not for the life of me find that trash can. Eventually, the host came out and pointed at it and said, “It’s right there in front of you.” The trash can was literally right in front of my eyes. 

I had spent 10 minutes walking all around that trash can and did not see it. Why? Because I already had a preconceived idea about what the trash can would look like, so I was looking for that.

I had an epiphany moment right then and there. I would apply this lesson to my personal life and begin looking more with the eye of the heart as opposed to the physical eye or eye of the mind.

I have passed up some incredible potential partners in my life because I was looking with the physical eye only.  Since I had already developed this ideology of what my partner should look like, I passed by others because they didn’t fit the mold. I was only looking at the package, so to speak.

I have allowed thoughts, teachings, ideologies and concepts engrained in my mind over the years to block the eye of my heart from seeing the truth on many occasions. What we see is rarely what’s actually there, but because we have been taught to see things a certain way, we miss out on what’s really there. 

That trash can, and so many other aspects of our lives, are different than what we always thought they would look like, so we miss it. 

Growing up in a Pentecostal church, I was taught that Christian women never wore makeup. They always had long hair because it was a “sin” to cut it. They weren’t allowed to adorn themselves in jewelry because that was “of the world.” If you did not abide by their definition of what a Christian is supposed to look like, then you weren’t a Christian.

Are we sometimes looking at people and situations, judging them based on what the physical eye sees, or thinks it sees? Or do we take the time to open our heart and pour out love and compassion for all of God’s creation?

Perception is not reality. We perceive a lot by what we see with our physical eye and by what we’ve been taught to believe. Looking only with our physical eye has been the source of much conflict. We look and judge based on color of skin, size of the person, how they are dressed, what religion they are, what they are driving, and whatever else our eye picks up. 

It is my intention moving forward to always look with the eye of my heart. We are given the opportunity multiple times a day to choose warm heartedness, kindness and generosity, as opposed to judgement based on what the eye sees. 

Let’s break the cycle of hatred and judgement by looking with the eye of our hearts. 

Vince Shifflett is a nurse practitioner and writer living in Atlanta. Read more of his work at vinceshifflett.com.

This column originally ran in Q magazine. Read the full issue online here:

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