Daily Herald January 4, 2000
Once winter comes, I usually need my sunglasses to combat the glare from the snow. On a bright sunny day, it is difficult to see things. The snow reflects and intensifies the light. There is too much light hitting your eyes, and you need to compensate to protect them. The glare can be blinding.
If you don't wear sunglasses, you end up squinting. When you squint, you cut out a large range of your sphere of vision. You miss seeing a lot of what is happening around you. Squinting is like partially blinding yourself, at least temporarily, in order to survive.
Once you put on sunglasses, the brightness is toned down. You can then look more easily. You have to cut the light down in order to appreciate what it is showing you. Seeing less helps you, in the long run, to see more.
The sunglasses filter out those light waves that are irritating to your optic nerves, allowing the friendlier ones to pass through.
We need to use filters in our everyday life. If we react to anything or everything that happens around us, we are over-whelmed. Few of us think well or act well when we feel over-whelmed and on the defense. Too much is happening. Sometimes, it really gets to us, and we feel the need to protect ourselves.
Unless you can clearly in certain situations, such as driving, you can quickly get into serious trouble. Your sunglasses can be as important to your safety as your safety belt. Things are not just more comfortable, they are safer, when you see where you are going.
We equally need to filter out harsh and blinding experiences with other people. People often say or do things that are inconsiderate, rude, or downright abusive. If we react to everything and anything that happens to us, we don't do a very good job of handing things, and especially of handing ourselves, as well as our behavior.
When blinded by bright sunlight, you whip out your sunglasses. When you are blinded and overwhelmed by other people, try whipping out the following protective strategies:
- Take a quick "Time Out". Get away from them for a few moments or minutes if this is possible. The expression "Out of sight, out of mind" is true to a degree. Even a minute or two gives you to time to sort out your various options and pick the best one. You may have to make up a white lie, such as "I need to get a drink of water", or "I need to go to the washroom". That's okay. Do whatever you have to do to get some breathing space. You have the right to take care of yourself.
- Become aware of what you are saying to yourself. What is your gut reaction? Check it out. Challenge it. First reactions are not usually the best. Second thoughts are usually better thoughts.
- Take a long deep breath. Focus on your breathing for a moment.
- Focus your mind on a different place or time. You may not be able to leave, physically, but you can create a brief mental escape from the situation. You can't control those irritating and harmful things that others may do. But you can screen out some of the things that really get to you, if you know how to properly use your personal sunglasses in life.
You have to, and, need to claim the right to protect yourself from unhealthy glaring, whether from the sun or from other people. Try it. It works.