Look at the picture there at the top of the article. What do you see? A green dot right?
But, what about all the white space surrounding it? What about the words below it and the way it is placed in the frame? You focused on the first thing you saw, but you did not stop to look at the rest of the picture. The white border is like four or five times the size of the green dot, yet you only saw the green dot.
We do this with people too. We see one aspect of them - usually a difference or flaw - and that is all we see. We stop looking for anything else and we write them off as being a green dot.
I got this from a talk I heard in my leadership seminar about strengths, and it has really impacted the way I look at myself and the world around me.
I have come to notice that I tend to define myself by my green dots. Depression, anxiety, bad hips, insomnia, frizzy hair, stubbornness, etc.
When we look at other people at work or school or the store or wherever, and we green dot them too. We see the illness, the condition, the trait, etc., and we write that person off as being that instead of having that. A homeless man is not just homeless; he has a whole life story and all kinds of character traits. The girl you work with that has an idiosyncrasy that drives you nuts? She could be the greatest cook in the world, but you won't ever know that because you green dotted her and thought that was all there was to it.
When we green dot the people around us, we lose out on possible connections and experience. Our perspectives will never grow so long as we keep thinking we know everything about everyone around us.
I took a selfie last week in new sweatpants and a t-shirt that I liked. I felt comfortable in my clothes and was enjoying not dressing up for class. But then I looked at the picture. I saw the imperfections- my hair was not perfect, I was not wearing makeup so my face looked red and uneven, my room was kind of messy behind me... I green dotted myself really hard. And so I chose not to share the picture, even though I had been feeling so good minutes before I took it.
I limited myself. Yeah, one selfie does not mean much in the greater scheme of things. But if I limited myself on something so small as sharing a selfie on social media... How many other times have I limited myself in bigger and more important ways?
Learning about the green dot helped me to see that we really are our own worst enemies. Maybe you did not apply for a job or internship you wanted because you saw your flaws and did not think you could do it. Maybe you held back instead of walking up to that cute stranger and you missed out on a relationship. There are so many ways we limit ourselves.
But I do not want to live a life of regrets. Does anyone really want to live that way? I want to believe that the decisions I make are correct. We all deserve it.
I shared that selfie a week late today on my Instagram. Is my room still messy behind me? Yes. Is my face still red? Yup. Do I look perfectly put together? Not a chance. But guess what? I look like me. I felt good that day, and I feel good about me now.
Instead of looking at my green dots, I'm choosing to see the other parts of me. I am understanding, honest, smart, compassionate... Most importantly, I am growing. I am working towards becoming the best version of myself. And the only way to do that is to start with what's right with me, not what's wrong with me. And I want you to do the same.