Crap-Colored Glasses

  • Warning- There is some more colorful language in this post than I typically use. To those who are offended by this language, I mean no offense, pleaseĀ  no nasty emails. I didn't come up with the term myself. For those who language does not offend, please read on.

Somehow, I was late to the game of hearing the phrase, "Bitch eating crackers." Maybe it is because I am often surrounded by small people and rarely swear myself, but nonetheless, I just learned about it when a colleague wrote a blog titled Bitch Eating Crackers Syndrome.

I have always described this phenomenon as seeing someone through crap-colored glasses. As opposed to when we see the world through rose-colored glasses, and everything is cheery and wonderful, like in fresh new love, or the first few days of a new job you have dreamed of, crap-colored glasses make everything seem ....well, crappy.

Some people only wear their crap-colored glasses, or CCG, sometimes or with some people. Other people tend to have pretty CCG on most of the time. But I am sure you can imagine it. Basically, you are wearing CCG if it doesn't matter how wonderfully someone acts, or life gets, the person, or situation, still looks crappy to you. Parents, Eeyore is often wearing CCG. For those into classic SNL, Debbie Downer wears CCG. But enough about them, let's talk about you...

Do you have someone in your life that you are looking at through CCG?

  • A spouse?
  • In-laws?
  • Child/teenager?
  • Teacher?
  • Boss?
  • Co-worker?
  • Neighbor?

The lenses you look through when interacting with people or dealing with situations, or your "glasses" can become "crap-colored" several ways:

1. You have a legitimate issue with that person/situation

One certain way that CCG develop is through significant legitimate problems. For instance, if over a period of years a person betrays you repeatedly, you are likely to perceive them as someone untrustworthy...crappy. If someone in your life is always draining from you and never pouring into you, you will likely see them as such...crappy. If you have repeatedly observed someone behaving in a way you deem unethical, whether or not it is aimed at you, you will often view them as see the pattern?

2. You may have unfairly judged someone

Maybe you have heard rumors about them. Maybe they reminded you of someone who you have had a legitimate problem with. But in this case, you don't have personal reasons to have a huge problem with them. While it is possible that your judgments are right, it is also very likely that they could be wrong.

3. You may just be in a crappy place yourself.

So the thing with crap-colored glasses is that the crap isn't all over the person or the situation, it is all over the lens through which you are looking at the person and the situation. There could be a billion different reasons for you to be looking through crap-colored glasses that have nothing to do with that person or situation itself. One reason could be that you are struggling with your own mental health, feeling depressed, anxious, or the effects of trauma. All of those can certainly make your lens you are looking through a lot crappier. Sometimes the solution to being able to tolerate a situation or person actually lies within you. As you start to feel better, those "crappy" people may start looking better.

"OK, so I am wearing Crap Colored Glasses, how do I clean them off?"

water splashing on face with glasses

It won't necessarily be easy, it is a dirty job at times but there are things you can do to work on it.

1. Figure out the part your own mental/emotional health is playing in this problem and address those concerns

If you know that you are generally feeling pretty bad about life right now, a professional counselor can be a great resource for helping you dig through the junk in life and see things clearer. This can be anything from dealing with a diagnose-able mental illness, to helping you through a break-up or challenging life transition that is coloring your whole world right now.

2. Remember that no one is all good, or all bad

This one can be a hard one to swallow sometimes, but truly there is both good and bad in all of us. When you are wearing CCG, you are likely to completely miss out on anything good. Remind yourself that very few things in life are black and white, and human character just isn't one of them.

3. Search for and Find the Good

Gratitude practices have increased in popularity recently. Ideas such as jotting down three good things at the end of the day, can make a serious impact on one's mindset about life. The same is true for dealing with individuals or situations. Start small if you need to, but find something good in each person or situation. I once worked with a couple where the wife could only say, "at least he doesn't abuse me." But that was a starting place. Maybe it is something positive someone does, or doesn't do, or even something simple like "I like their shirt today." But find something. And then...find some more.

4. Borrow someone else's glasses

If you are really struggling, ask someone you are close to for feedback, "What is something you really like about Bob?" Sometimes you can borrow their cleaner glasses to look through for a bit. If they can come up with some positive things, try looking for them yourself with an open mind. For some, this may be a spiritual practice. For instance, "God, give me your eyes to see this person as you do." Often when we look at someone through someone else's eyes, or at least try to, we see them a whole lot differently.

5. Deal with the other person, if necessary

After you have done all the above tricks, if you are still dealing with some legitimate issues with that person, that may be a sign that you need to deal with them about it. Here is a great blog about 6 Effective Strategies to Help You Deal with Difficult People. Talk to them. Tell them what is bothering you. But the truth is, it may not be something that they want to, or even can change. However, most people who are able to address their concerns with a person, at least feel a little less crappy themselves.

So, is there a person or situation that you have been looking at through crap-colored glasses? What steps can you take to clean them today?