Few people can see themselves as they really are.
Let’s imagine a guy who every morning wakes up and scrutinizes over his collar and his tucked in shirt and other little details of his appearance. He gets nervous about how people will see him, think of him, and talk about him. But deep down, what he won’t acknowledge to himself is that nobody cares. He’s invisible. Nobody even notices him, let alone the details that he worries about.What if something happened that made him realize that he had been wasting all of his time and energy investing into a ritual that was completely meaningless?
He has a close female friend for whom he has a secret crush. Every weekend they get together, and he puts on his best cologne and cleans up his room… just in case.Someday he’s going to make a bold move. She always says that she wants friendship first. And she’s always complaining about how the guys that she dates don’t treat her right. But he would. He’s the nice guy she’s been waiting for.Tonight, they have a hot date. She’s been having boyfriend problems, and he’s the only one that she can trust to talk about it with. He takes her out and treats her to shopping and dinner, and then they go out for a few drinks. Then some random guy that neither of them ever met comes over and strikes up a conversation.
He tries to keep up with the conversation, but his girl seems to be focusing in on this new guy and filtering out everything he says. She doesn’t seem to hear him. So he buys this random new guy some drinks and laughs at all his jokes. The new guy even rewards him for this, by telling him how cool he is.A few minutes later his world collapses around him, as he watches his girl making out with this other guy. They come up for air every few minutes, to sip from the drinks that he bought them. And then she tells him, “I have to go home early, and this guy is friends with one of my friends and I’ve known him for a while and my house is on the way to his house so he’s going to drive me home. I’ll call you tomorrow. Thanks for everything, you are such a sweetheart.”
He has two possible interpretations in front of him.
Interpretation number one. “This guy has known her for one minute! I’ve invested six months! She’s acting like a total ditz in front of him! Whatever, I’m just glad that I was here to find out what a slut she is! This guy is a total player, and he doesn’t even care about her! He’s misguiding her and she doesn’t even see it!”
Interpretation number two. “This guy owned me. I’ve been indecisive for six months. He came and took what he wanted. She’s attracted to him because he’s more charismatic and interesting than I am. He’s taking her on a wild ride, that’s the fun of the flirt, and she’s going to go along with it.”
He chooses number one. It may be years and years before he chooses number two. Or he may never choose it. Blind spots can be a real bitch.We do not act according to reality. We act according to what we believe is reality. Our construct of reality comes from what society has taught us, and what we have learned through our own experiences in that context.
A sense of psychological certainty is a part of our identity and our entire world view. Without some sense of psychological certainty our minds could not cope with even simple decisions on a day to day. But because psychological certainty is not always built upon empirical facts, things can arise that threaten that certainty. And so we develop “blind spots” to anything that falls outside of our world view.
Blind spots are very powerful. In the act of focusing on a self concept and reality that makes us feel good, we will slowly accrue blind spots to that which consistently falls outside of our focus.If something threatens the way that we perceive ourselves, then the bad emotions will kick in. To make the bad emotions go away, we will rationalize the threat in a way that allows us to still see ourselves in the way that we want to be seen.
by Tyler Durden (RSD)