Have you ever noticed how curious it is that you can see right through a friend’s problem that they can’t seem to see at all? You have the same conversation with them over and over and they never seem to be able to figure out what to you seems obvious. And your inner dialog might sound something like “Of course you two broke up. You had completely different goals. Quite frankly, I’m surprised you are surprised.” Or maybe your partner gets upset over the same issue repeatedly and doesn’t seem to recognize that they are getting all ‘worked up’ over nothing and that its possible to see the problem coming from a mile away….at least in your view. There are numerous more examples of these types of situations. I refer to these types of patterns as our blindspots. They are those issues that everyone else in the car can see but because the driver’s mirror is at a certain angle they are blind to it. In these instances we might have no idea what’s over our shoulder or coming up on our right, yet others around us can see it clearly.
I don’t consider blindspots to be weaknesses or shortcomings. They are both understandable and correctable. Fixing our blindspots involves trusting relationships and healthy communication.
It begins by having the courage to notice a certain pattern in your life that you might like to change or improve upon. From there, it requires opening up a safe conversation with others whose opinions you trust to inquire about what you are noticing or wondering about. The person you speak to has to have your best interest at heart. They need to be able to be kind, supportive, and non judgmental in their feedback. And they need to be capable of gentle honesty. In this context of a safe and healthy relationship, you can name your question or the issue you’d like to ‘look at’ and you can have a healthy conversation with this trusting relationship figure. In this space, you can change and grow, beginning to see patterns and perspectives to which you were previously blind.
Some of us are not fortunate enough to have these types of relationships or people in our lives. Or maybe those trusting people have helped as much as they can but you still feel there is something more to be resolved. That is one of the best uses of therapy or personal coaching in my view. Supportive therapy is an opportunity to enter into a conversation in which you can begin to see your blindspots. And once you can see those for yourself, then you can see when and how it is safe to take that next left turn. After all, once we’ve fixed a blindspot the whole world looks different.