A good filter is better than no filter

night-time photo showing a hand holding a lens filter with an image of the milky way seen through it

In many ways I am not a very private person. I will happily tell you my story. In that respect I may even be an exhibitionist. I want to tell you my story.

At times in the past that compulsion to tell my story has been purely self-serving. I spent my younger years feeling unseen and desperate for people to look my way and acknowledge my worthiness, because I was incapable of doing it for myself.

These days I try to be of service with my storytelling (although it certainly offers some gratification, too). I do my best to be judicious in what I share – share what is interesting enough to you, and important enough, to be useful.

But the truth is there are certainly things I do not share, even though they could serve you.

That’s fine. We get to choose what we disclose to the world. But maybe I wasn’t even being honest with myself about how willing I’ve been to be open. And maybe I’ve failed to acknowledge how, through my omissions, I have projected a filtered version of myself.

The filter isn’t something we can get around. The truth of a person is incomprehensibly vast. It will never fit into a blog post or a novel or a ten book saga.

But what filter are we using? What filters are we willing to use?

Am I willing to put the ‘useful’ filter above ‘satisfying’ or ‘comfortable’? Moreover, am I willing to risk playing with that filter poorly, or using it incorrectly, in pursuit of mastery of it?

The answer, for me, is yes. In fact, now that my attention has been drawn to it, that’s actually an exciting prospect for me. Which tells me a lot about how far I’ve come.

It’s a trained response; to eagerly anticipate growth or expansion, and therefore the associated discomfort. I’m a natural coward, and if it wasn’t for this training, I would simply hide from it.

But, putting discomfort and cowardice aside, I think it’s a helpful process to consider how you want to show up in the world – which parts of yourself you want to showcase, to whom, and why. Not to judge, but simply to see.

If we apply our filters consciously we, by extension, nurture those parts of ourselves that we’ve chosen to value, thus becoming more of what we truly want to be. I hope that’s a compelling idea to you; it certainly is to me.

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