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Adulting: Open Your Eyes, Sweetpea!

I kept making one HUGE mistake in my recent self-defense class: I would throw my punches with my eyes closed.

I guess I thought that by scrunching my eyelids, I was more focused on my internal energy and could better channel it into effective, awe-inspiring punches.

Yeah. I wasn’t.

What I got instead was a loud “OPEN your eyes, Sweetpea!” from one of the instructors. Soon my helpful classmates noticed and started saying it too: “Open your eyes, Gina! Don’t close your eyes, Gina!” rang around the room. Embarrassing, but they had a point.

Later, I told my instructor, who is now a dear friend to me, that I loved what she said, and that I wanted to make it a life motto: Open your eyes, Sweetpea! Because really, how much do we ALL miss in life because our eyes are in a sense, closed? Robby Berman gives us truth in the article, “Why You Can Miss Things Happening right in front of You”:

We may think we’re pretty observant, but most of us suffer from what’s, in effect, a blind spot. It’s not an area of vision we can’t see — it’s just that we tend to miss changes in what we’re looking at and paying attention to. It’s called “change blindness,” and it’s just the way our minds work. The New York Times defined it as “the frequent inability of our visual system to detect alterations to something staring us straight in the face.”

Change blindness. I think many of us are friendly with this term and didn’t even know it.

We think we see it “all,” or at least what we need to see. But unfortunately we, don’t. And from my understanding, this isn’t always a bad thing. We pick and choose what we focus on. But therein lies the secret: we need to be intentional about what we focus on. We need to know our blindspots, because it could be beneficial to focus them.

My blindspots are totally within my vision, and I imagine yours are too. But I’m really good at closing my “eyelids” and focusing on my default modes. I’ve got to continually ask questions such as:

1. Am I noticing the needs of others? Or am I only focused on me and my near and dear?
2. Am I giving my direct attention to people? Or am I only thinking about what I’m going to say next?

Just like in my self-defense class, I don’t want to close my eyes when they need to be open. Thankfully, my life isn’t all about fists coming toward me. However, sometimes it’s just as intense. I’m sure your life has its intense moments as well. And I know we will never see perfectly. But maybe we all need to turn into sweetpeas and open our eyes a little wider. Let’s no longer be blind to all our blindspots.


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