Friday, August 21, 2015

rose-colored life

i live in new york city, so i've heard a few car horns. ok, i've heard a lot of car horns. this morning i was walking with a friend and he screamed back at a car stuck in traffic "why are you honking? what do you think is going to happen?" i laughed and said that the people honking in the cars were likely very upset about a lot of things, and that they didn't know how to express those emotions in their lives. so? they honk.

"honk" is my new shorthand for "wah wah wah, i don't know how to properly process this!"

we're all guilty of this occasionally, of course.

what's funny about my response to the above story is that i immediately replied with compassion to the people polluting my environment with noise. but when i fail to process something well, i rarely reply with compassion toward myself.

last night a friend told me that they were dealing with some depression/anxiety issues. i replied with compassion. but when i think about my own issues? i reply with the opposite. "why do i feel this way today? what's wrong with me? why can't i feel this way? why can't i act this way?"

mid-blog writing, i paused for dinner. i ran home while listening to a podcast and then over to a friend's to watch a tv show while eating pizza. in those two instances of media mid-writing, i heard two instances referring to the saying "rose-colored glasses." i've never particularly liked that phrase, because i thought that it kind of makes fun of optimists, and i consider myself to be one most of the time.

in the latest freakanomics podcast, they interview dan gilbert (a harvard psychology professor) about some ads he helped prudential with. when he discusses happiness, and people planning for their hopeful futures, he stated the following:
I love the metaphor of rose-colored glasses. That’s the way to view the world. They’re rose-colored, meaning there is a tint. You are seeing a rosier future than we will really experience. But they’re glasses. They’re not opaque, right? They’re not blinders. You actually are seeing the world. And if there’s a train coming, it’s a little bit rose-tinted, but it’s a train.
i really really liked his interpretation of the glasses. it made me feel hopeful.

and then, mid-pizza, i heard another reference to rose-colored glasses on bojack horseman. a character on the show said "when you look at the world through rose-colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags." ...and then i felt compassion for that character. it was a potent line, but it didn't dissuade me from wanting to be optimistic about the world. perhaps cautiously optimistic, but still optimistic.

and all of this rose-colored talk reminded me of the compassion i was trying to cultivate toward myself. what if i just slightly altered my perception of myself instead of something more drastic? practicing on others has given me the tools; i just have to reflect the rose-colored tint back inwards.

a rose-colored mirror, if you will.

self-compassion. self-love. hands on heart.

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