Before social media, we never really used any filters to edit photos as much as we do now. These days, photo filters are so extensively used or rather abused that it’s quite rare that you will come across a raw, unfiltered, or unedited photo. I love filters and I am blown by how a simple swipe or click could transform the images from drab to fab. While growing up I didn’t have such glamorous tech tools at my disposal and the best visual images were captured either by waiting endlessly for the best lighting or by acquiring the best cameras. On the contrary, fast forward to present day when anyone with a decent smart camera can churn out Instagram worthy images in like no time. We have got so used to leading our lives in this filtered world and broadcasting these perfectly captured moments from our lives that we are ready to go to extremes just to meet these unachievable social media standards. We strive our best to hide all our imperfections and even meticulously plan out each event and contemplate each moment beforehand, solely to flaunt an unbelievable surreal version of our lives and ourselves. So, most of the times who we pretend to be or what we post about our lives, frankly might not be the way it is in reality. But then we tend to view everything from a filtered lens and we have got so used to this hyper imaginary glitzy world that we barely notice others flaws, in fact we follow strangers blindly and gradually persuade ourselves to believe that this false embellished reality, the ever-so-perfect social media facade is the actual existence as opposed to the insipid, awkward reality that we live each day. However, my post today is not about the ill effects of social media or about how to lead an unfiltered life, lets debate over it another day.
In fact, the point that I want to drive home today is that, we need to flip these fancy filters around from the virtual world and instead use them in our real life. As we apply these filters on our lives to put out our best versions on social media and just as we prefer immaculate photo shopped, high quality pictures over untouched ones, why don’t we apply filters in real life too, to view only the best in people.
For instance, when you bump into a mother who looks jaded and a tad out of form, switch on the “Empathy” filter and instead perceive her as a mom who is doing her best to keep it all together rather than making a snap judgement and negatively labelling her as an unkempt, lazy woman. The next time you catch up with a long lost buddy or a colleague and feel this unbearable urge to comment on her physical attributes, instantly activate the warm or vivid “Courtesy” filter and compliment your friend on how different she looks and on how she has grown and changed over the years just as you did. And please go ahead and get rid of all those preset prejudiced filters, drop those vintage family and culturally influenced filters, particularly trash those intense negative filters and definitely purge the dark toxic filters that have resulted from past unpleasant experiences. Before you form a quick impression about somebody or someone’s life, pause and apply these positive, built-in “Humanity” filters – “Humor”, “Sympathy”, “Patience”, “Compassion”, “Respect”, “Equality” and plenty more that God has gifted all of us with. Filter your view of others and choose to see the good that lies beyond the scars, the abnormalities, the boundaries, the biases, the labels, the facades and beyond our own inadequacies and past baggage, for what we see in others is merely a reflection of what is within us.