Filters. I like to call them Quality control. We use them everyday from the physical of making coffee to the air we breathe. It is because of these filters that we can enjoy the end product of things without disruption or noise that might get in the way of a harmonious experience. We do this spiritually and socially each day as well. From not dropping the F Bomb in front of that old lady at the supermarket to how we all interact with the people we know and love in our lives. Filters are apart of our lives to make our interactions and days move smoothly together.
So I ask you, when one of your friends asks you.."Where would you like to do lunch?" what is your reaction? I find there are three groups here. Which category do you tend to live in..are you overusing your filter, underusing your filter or balanced.
The Underused Filter. You know exactly what you would like to eat and what time to meet up. You express it right away with no filter, ready to eat the best meal of your life that you've been craving. Pay no mind that once your friend said that she hated Thai food..she should try it again because it is amazing! You know that because you like it, she will like it too if she just gives it another chance..I mean, the fact that you will be there alone will make the food better because let's face it, you are awesome.
The Balanced Filter: You think you have an idea of where you would like to go however you are not sure if they would like it too so you ask them politely if they would be interested in that place as well. You tell them what interests you about it if they have never heard of it before and are ready to listen to their preferences to see if they would like it as well. Together you reach a mutual agreement. You know that even though you really want to go to this particular place you are flexible and sensitive to their wants because at the end of the day, it is not really about the meal but more about getting to see them.
The Overused Filter: You would rather die than have to voice where you are interested in eating for it is more comfortable for them to make the decision and you just come along for the ride. Perhaps you know what you are interested in eating but you get misconstrued as someone who either does not know or are so go with the flow that you get taken advantage of. Never mind that they picked the Haus of Bacon and even bacon is in the water and you of course never mentioned to your friend that you have a condition where if you eat bacon your throat closes up and you have to stab yourself with an anti-allergy pen so that you don't convulse and die right there on the lunch table.
Which category are you? I am a mixture between Underused and Balanced..always having an idea of what I am in the mood for, having no trouble voicing it but finding it imperative for my fun to ensure that whoever is joining me not be in hell the whole time..considering it really is not about the actual lunch but sharing the experience. Really think about it though and how your use of filters effects the people around you.
If you have little to no filter it is so easy to overwhelm and dominate experiences to the point of unpleasantry. More so if you are dominating over someone that has an overused filter and is not comfortable voicing their wants..you can rail road them without even knowing it and the chances are they will never tell you that you did. Take a moment to have empathy for the people around you and really care about what makes them unique from you and how you can support that.
If you have so much filter that you never pitch in and express your wants and views you also are in dangerous territory. Finding it too easy to be passive and internally frustrated while the people around you never even had so much as a warning as to what they have done to upset you or be inconsiderate because you never asked for what you needed. Take a moment to have confidence that your opinions and needs matter. Your true friends will want you to enjoy the experiences you share together but it starts with you comfortably expressing who you are and your preferences.
So today, when someone asks you "What would you like...." not just for food but anything in life that you need just stop. Think first what you would like. Put your thoughts and ideas at the forefront of your mind even if it takes you a a moment. They asked you, really honor that and represent yourself and what you want. Then, state what you would like. Ask them their thoughts on that. Arrive to a decision together. Make sure that your preferences and the preferences of the people in your life come together in a compromised and balanced experience. Again, this is not about lunch..this spans every interaction in life..how you need to be communicated with, your work environment, the time you spend with your family, sharing tasks and chores with those in your life. In all things, use your filter wisely.