What do we really see?

Picture of Sarah Parker

Sarah Parker

Change coach, therapist, human being, and founder of Well of Being.

Looking in the mirror

I have been looking to update my website recently and searching for pictures of myself to put on. It has been a fun, and at times, perplexing process, which has surprised me a little.

I see myself when I look in the mirror every day – to brush my teeth, comb my hair, check out I haven’t got my skirt tucked into my pants………… You get the idea! And yet, looking at photographs of myself has somehow created a whole story in my mind about how I look and how I should look which I haven’t noticed for many years.

This extra thinking about my appearance has reminded me how we can all so easily get caught up in stories which seem very convincing when our minds play tricks. I shared my thoughts with my dear friend and fellow coach, Maria Brigantino, who had some fun with one of my photographs. This was the result:

These are 3 photos of the same person – me!! They all look very different, AND they are all still me.

The first is me – no filters, no additions, or subtractions, simply me. The second and third have filters. I do not know which you prefer, if any. I do not think it really matters. What I do know, though, is that in every photo, whilst I may look different, I am not. My spirit remains the same. My energy remains the same.

We are SO much more than what we see; than what others see. We have a spirit which remains unchanged despite our physical appearance. Our spirit has a freedom and a flow that our human minds cannot limit. When we get caught up in our minds, in believing our thoughts about how we look, as I did myself, we naturally restrict and limit ourselves to a visual concept. What a shame that is!

Of course, when we meet people for the first time, we create a ‘story’ of who they are, how they are, what they are, based on what we see. That’s a part of being human with a creative, thinking mind. I love to sit and watch the world go by, creating stories about the people I see – what jobs they do, if they have a family, if they are married, where they go on holiday…….. I know my musings are totally made up and untrue – because how can someone’s appearance tell us anything other than what they look like? The truth is, though, that someone’s appearance cannot even truly tell us anything about what they look like either, because:

What we see is never what we see. It is only what we think we see

And this is key. What we see, or who we see, appears to us through the filter of whatever we are thinking in that moment. Our thoughts influence whatever we are focused on in all sorts of curious ways. That is just the way we work. It is not a problem; it is something simply for us to be aware of, to know. When we know this, and we see ourselves or others with something less than loving kindness and acceptance, (as we all will because of our inbuilt human-ness!) we can know that we are looking at a picture based upon our thinking, rather than truth.

The photos of myself on my website and elsewhere, will always be filter-free, even though it is very tempting to my ego to enhance them. I know that if I look at them from a place of love and acceptance, they, and all humans will look beautiful.

With love to beautiful you from beautiful me x

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