For as long as I can remember, I’ve been searching. Churning through endless inner dialogue and existential exploration in search of purpose. That one thing that will tie all of the loose ends of existence together in a perfect circle. That one thing that will give my whole life meaning, and finally put my self-doubt and anxiety to rest. Like an iceberg, I would hide the bulk of my self under the surface. Not out of fear, but out of a deep desire to find worth. I viewed the world through a speck. A tiny opening from myself to the world. The speck allowed me to take in what I wanted. It allowed me time to process the overwhelming vastness of the world in manageable chunks. The speck kept my focus razor sharp. It allowed me to process perplexing information through the inner filters I had developed over time. Like holding up a telescope to the stars. Most of us view the world this way. Through our own speck. A self imposed restraint that keeps our truest self safe. Or so we think.
The most powerful thing I’ve ever done is to let go of the speck. It’s a scary thing to consider, and for most of my life I wouldn’t have known how. Widening your speck, your view of reality, requires vulnerability, invites failure, and will send your ego into a tailspin. It will force you to deal with your prejudices. Expose your fear of worthlessness, and highlight your personal flaws. It will change your view of the world, but perhaps more importantly, it will change your view of self.
As the speck widens you will let more of the world in. Defensive walls will crumble. You will listen to critiques with an eager ear. Process their truth and let what is false melt away. Widening your speck will bring you peace. Bring you closer to finding your purpose.
If you’re still with me, you’ve already taken the first step. Widening your speck requires you to erase the filters you’ve placed in your mind. Filters that refuse to allow you to see anything that your ego deems too difficult. These filters have grown in you from the time you were old enough to speak. They told you how to view the world, regardless of what information you were given. Most of these filters are given to us by others, but the blame for continuing to use them rests with us.
One of the filters I was given early on was that being anything other than cisgender and heterosexual was a sin. This filter was placed in me at a very young age and reinforced by the community I grew up in. While it is true that this filter on the world was not of my own design, I was responsible for its continued use. I went through the difficult task of erasing this filter over 10 years ago. It took a lot of time, vulnerability, and a willingness to be proved wrong. Erasing a filter is hard work. It will twist you in knots and pull raw emotions out of you that you didn’t know existed. It will end friendships, distance family members and cause you pain. It’s worth all that and more.
Perhaps you hold a similar filter. One that has taught you to discriminate. But there are many other types. There are filters that prevent you from improving your relationships, working on your personality flaws, or letting love into your life. There are filters that shrink your self worth, and sabotage intimacy. All of us have thousands of these filters, and each one works to tighten that speck.
Do the hard work. Be fully honest with yourself. Allow critique in. Analyze it with care. Let it sit within you and see if it sticks. Seek others to help you process past pain. Allow them to help you sort through the filters you aren’t aware of. Do this, and the speck will widen. Your window into the world will grow, and your sense of self will find peace. You will find yourself gaining increased insight into the pain of others. Find deeper connections between those who are different than you. But it all starts within you.
The most powerful thing you can do for the world is to fix your own soul. Be at peace with who you truly are, and the rest will find it’s way home.