I’ve been likening the perception of reality a bit like tuning into different frequencies on a radio. I realized that I have more ability than I once thought to control what kind of world I live in. And a lot of this has to do with the ‘frequency’ of my own program that I’m broadcasting to others. Here’s what I mean:
Last Thursday I had an appointment which required me to take two buses. The first bus I hopped on was pretty packed, but I was able to find a seat. At the next stop, a few people got on, including a middle-aged woman who looked like she needed to sit down. If there’s a disabled person, or an elderly person, giving up your seat is a no-brainer. This woman didn’t fall into either of those categories, but I just had the feeling she needed the seat more than I did. So I offered it to her. She sat down and I moved toward the back of the bus where a younger girl gave me a very simple smile, presumably because I had given up my seat.
It was a simple gesture, but all of the sudden I began to ‘tune in’ to kindness, for lack of a better phrase. During the rest of the day, I kept seeing people being kind to each other. People smiling. People hugging. It was really magical.
This is probably a function of Confirmation Bias, which is “the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.” Usually this is a negative and limiting function. It’s a type of cognitive dissonance that prevents a person from seeing a more neutral and ‘realistic’ version of events. But does this really have to be a bad thing?
I’ve been making small improvements lately as far as being comfortable in my own skin. Most of the time I lug around in ‘don’t want to talk to anybody’ mode. Keep to myself. So what did the world give me in return? All I saw was people keeping to themselves. Store clerks doing their rote tasks. I was somewhat miserable, so all I saw was misery.
I’m fascinated by cognitive dissonances. But what’s at the bottom of all that? It’s totally impossible not to be affected by them. But what happens if one could really experience reality as it is? Wouldn’t it be incredibly neutral? It would be like listening to all the frequencies of the radio at once. Extreme joy, extreme misery, and everything in between?
In the meantime, I’m going to choose to be kind whenever possible. And if it’s confirmation bias that is tuning me into a kinder world, then so be it. I’d like to follow this thread in future posts and see where it goes. Do something kind for somebody today and see if it changes your outlook. I’d love input on this, so feel free to comment in the box below.