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    Blind Spots

    Blind spots are a motherfucker. By definition, we can’t see them. That means we aren’t even aware of them; regardless of our level of self-awareness, or how much work we do on ourselves. We’ve all got them. It’s part of being human.

    That’s one reason why community is so important. And by community, I’m talking about your tribe that extends far beyond your immediate or extended family. Your family is sometimes a component of the blind spot itself. So they usually aren’t the ones who can spot them, no matter how close they are to you. In fact, that kind of family closeness can work against you. Being able to see a blind spot requires, amongst other things, the ability to be able to look at your behavior, thinking, and perspective with some objectivity. When it comes to you,  family members tend to be…..less objective than is required.

    Let’s use the analogy of a blind spot while you’re driving. If the person is sitting too close to you, they can’t see the blind spot either. It’s the person who’s able to see the road from a different perspective that is able to see that there’s another car occupying the space you can’t see.

    That isn’t to say that people close to you can’t see your blind spots. On the contrary. It’s people close to you, who know you well, who love you and care about you, who are invested in your well being; they’re the ones who may be able to see them. But they need a certain distance from the blind spot itself to be able to see it. They have to be able to separate themselves from you and the road you’re on enough to have a wider perspective. Family probably can’t do that, because they're usually part of that road.

    The people in my life who can see my blind spots are those close to me who are able to take a step back and look at me with love and some objectivity. They need to be able to back up a little to see whatever behaviors, thinking, or beliefs are raising a red flag. These people include girlfriends, friends, counselors, people I’ve met in treatment, and anybody close to me who is doing their work. 

    Ultimately, I have to be able to see the blind spot, or it will remain hidden. Just because someone alerts me to it, doesn’t mean I’ll do anything about it. I have to be ready to hear it. I have to be ready to see it. And then I have to do the work I need to shine some light onto it. 

    When are we ready to see a blind spot? From my experience, it happens when we continue down a road that isn’t working, and run into so much pain that we realize that whatever we are doing, or not doing, just isn’t working. Several people very close to me raised the issue that I was possibly abusing substances. I wasn't ready to hear that, because I hadn’t hit my wall yet. Once I did, however, I didn’t waste much time deciding I wanted a different path. 

    Pointing out another’s blind spot is risky, often painful. You’re watching somebody who is unaware of something you can see more clearly, and you care deeply about them. You can see that, ultimately, whatever they are pursuing won’t give them what they are looking for, or what they think they’re looking for. It takes courage to bring this to someone’s attention. Courage and awareness. Awareness of self. 

    Persistent blind spots are usually attached to old patterns of thinking, behaving, or believing that no longer serve you. Taking my abuse issue as an example, I’ve been a social user of alcohol and drugs for most of my adult life. I’ve gone through spells, like after my father died, where I over did it because I was in so much pain and didn’t know how else to cope. But for the vast majority of time, I didn’t have a problem with them.

    Recently, however, things shifted, and I started using them to deal with pain again, instead of for social purposes. Right now, I can’t use because it gets in the way of the work I’m doing. I’ve had to be reminded of that, several times. I’m not sure if I’ll use again. I haven’t figured that part out yet. But I know, for now, use can not co-exist with my healing and my growth. And there’s nothing more important to me than that.

    I’m extremely talented at seeing other people’s blind spots. First of all, I've very intuitive, and I'm connected to that intuition. My gut can ring like a fire alarm, and when it does, I pay attention. I've been cultivating self-awareness since I was a teenager; since before I even knew what I was doing. It’s in my nature. I’ve done a lot of this work, starting in my mid twenties, at, of all places, The Boston College Graduate School of Management. Continuing on that path, I’ve done workshops, seminars, retreats of all kinds, individual and group therapy, read books on personal development, written about personal development, and practiced a life of it. And for the past three months, I’ve been doing very intensive work in that area. I’m also a seeker, and a healer. And I care a great deal about the people I’m close to. All of that adds up to somebody who’s acumen about blind spots is well honed. I’ve been told, by laypeople and by professionals alike, that I’m one of the best unprofessional counselors they’ve ever met.

    I encourage you to take risks with those you love regarding their blind spots. We need others to help us with them. I have been that person for people I love, and it’s worth it. Be that person for someone else. I am forever grateful for the people in my life who were courageous enough and wise enough to help me see mine.

    And I can be one obstinate son of a bitch.


    ©2017 Clint Piatellii, MuscleHeart LLC, and Red F Publishing. All rights reserved.

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