October 7, 2013

Life Without Filters. ~ Nicole Johnson

We all have the ability to lovingly express ourselves to others and speak our truth.

I was standing on the corner waiting for the walk sign to turn and feeling happy, truly happy and blissed out. The sun was shining, people were enjoying mimosas and the fun atmosphere on a beautiful Sunday morning in the Gas Lamp District. Life was good!

A man walked by me, looked at me and said, “You’re beautiful!” and continued to walk down the street. “Thank you!” was my response. The walk signed turned, my smile got a little bigger and I giggled and laughed all the way home.

What would happen if we lived life without filters? In the back of my mind I thought, he probably was high on San Diego sunshine and slightly inebriated and then I remembered a friend’s comment to me one day: “A drunk man’s words are a sober man’s thoughts.” So true. When we drink or do some mind altering substance we lose our inhibitions and tend to express ourselves without filters. Where did we get these filters?

The answer is easy—time. They were given to us by our family and friends, by heartache, by pain, by loss, but ultimately by coming from a place of fear. We put these filters in place to protect us from our perceived fears—fear of pain, rejection, embarrassment, judgement or whatever else brings up our ego’s issues. Over time they become habit and we constantly run our lives through filters limiting who we are and limiting the expression of our truest self. In the end, filters make our world seem easier but they disconnect us and cause us to live a smaller reality.

We all have the ability to lovingly express ourselves to others and speak our truth. So why not share it?

In Marianne Williamson’s A Return to Love she writes, “When we dig deeply enough into our real nature, we do not find darkness. We find endless light. That is what the ego doesn’t want us to see; that our safety actually lies in letting down our mask. But we cannot do this when we’re constantly afraid of being judged.”

It’s not just judgement from others but also judgement towards ourselves. When we let go and stop caring about what others think it allows us more freedom. If that man had worried for a moment about my potential reaction, good or bad, he probably wouldn’t have payed me the compliment and my world wouldn’t have gotten even brighter. Because he let go of judgement and fear he expressed what came to his mind and made both of our worlds a nicer place. When we allow our truest self to be expressed we are able to stop judging ourselves because we know we are living our truth. There are no should’ve, could’ve, would’ves.  

This isn’t an easy thing to do, but the more you do it the easier it becomes. I definitely lived in a world of fearful filters. To be able to express “I love you” was a huge challenge. It wasn’t something said often in our family and when it was said it was a big deal. This translated to me in such a way that when I used the words “I love you” it was a monumental occasion and if I didn’t hear it back, well, let’s not go there.

Can you imagine how little love I was allowing into my life by enabling this filter? I had a lot of love inside for other people, but they never knew it. I might try to show them in other ways but they might not understand it. It made my relationships a challenge because it stifled the free flow of love through communication and it made me feel like I was living behind walls of protection as well as isolation.

It wasn’t until I met my friend, the same one who gave me the insightful comment above, that I really started to see that I didn’t freely express myself or my love. She so easily told me and all of the people in her life that she loved us. The first time she said it to me I was getting out of the car, “I love you, girl!”

My insides felt weird. My mind took a jump. What did she just say? Friends don’t say that to each other. That’s reserved for other people. Oh, this is awkward, what do I say back? I smiled, said “see you tomorrow…” and closed the car door.

I had all of these preconceived ideas and filters about those words. Then one day, I thought what’s the worst that can happen if I say it back? Nothing, maybe some embarrassment. I felt love for my friend so why not just say so. I did. I felt such a sense of internal happiness and it even felt like my heart grew a little bigger by sharing that feeling. Of course, there was the ego that came in and said you’re turning into a softy; people will think you’re weird; what are doing; where is Nicole?

But with time, I started saying “I love you” to my friends and family with ease. As I did so, they felt more comfortable expressing their love and themselves with me. As a result, our relationships have become deeper and more honest and fulfilling as we express not just our love, but our dreams, our opinions and our thoughts unfiltered.

We all benefit and grow by letting go of these filters expressing our true self.

So maybe today, take a moment and take a distant observer role in your life and see if there are people or situations that you are filtering. Are there times where you aren’t expressing your opinion or expertise because of fear? Next time, speak your mind.

Your words may be the perfect answer to the question at hand. Are there moments where you want to share your joy and appreciation towards someone, but are afraid they won’t understand? Go ahead, share it with them.

I’d be willing to bet money that you’ll make their day. You might even see a smile, but just the act of sharing your love will help reinforce a new behavior. Go ahead, channel Madonna and Express Yourself!

Express yourself without your those fear-based filters and experience how much brighter and happier your world becomes.


 Like elephant journal on Facebook.


Assistant Ed. Paige Vignola/Ed: Bryonie Wise

Leave a Thoughtful Comment

Read 0 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Nicole Johnson