Don’t discount the power of emotions in your journey to improving eyesight.
Yes, an old eye guru scoffs at this sort of thing from time to time. And that’s not because emotions aren’t important – but rather because first you have to understand primary causality, biology, and science. You need to look at factors that can be quantified and scientifically validated. You need to train yourself to think critically and logically when dealing with self improvement. Otherwise you’re at risk of letting greed (for self improvement) mislead you and potentially be sold all kinds of Internet and otherwise snake oil.
Start with the things that can be validated and ones you can find it peer reviewed journals. And then when you know what you’re doing there, it’s potentially ok to dig deeper and get into some of the less tangible aspects that may affect your individual journey.
Rachel posted some important insights in the Facebook group, which I’ll just repost here in their entirety:
Encouragement to fellow vision-seekers: Don’t underestimate the power of your emotions, opinions/attitudes in your own progress or stagnation, those invisible guides who sometimes influence and manipulate our efforts to act. Read on if you want the long version.
I am becoming more and more aware of the invisible effect of my own feelings towards my progress in seeing certain type of visual landscapes and tasks. Active Focus, the mythological unicorn of many a beginner, the mysterious rite of passage we must all go through to enter the many field of our true vision, once found, was very easy for me to grow. As long as I was in the outdoors and looking at nature or very distance architectural structures. It is an environment I have always sought out and love, because aesthetically pleasing and soothing to me.
It was not so with letter and signs. I found reading signs and letters to be impossible for a long time. my AF powers were seemingly severely hampered and insufficient in that department, and I couldn’t understand why. It seemed illogical. As soon as I looked at a sign, it was all blur, never cleared up, and felt like a huge weight had landed on my shoulders everytime. Why could I easily relax while looking at the antenna of a sky scraper and get it in focus, and not clear a sign ten times closer to me? Well, until recently that is. The change happened in spurts. Progressive steps that came with a realization for each.
I first realized that:
1) I had been plateauing big time for some time now,
2) that reading print outdoors was the one area I had grown to neglect and perhaps it might be the key to passing this plateau,
and 3) that when I was at work – where reading print of all types was half or more of the required tasks as I teach – my vision progress was almost reduced to nil, since I had to use much stronger glasses whenever I was working in print at mid or far range and artificial light. Or whenever I was not looking at print up close or nature far away under natural bright light.
At first, I started looking for tips or tricks from others on FB. Thinking I was not getting something. And that there must be a quick fix somewhere. There wasn’t. I went to some articles of Jake’s as well. No special tricks. Just same technique as for distant objects. I then realized that most people on the FB seemed to be doing better with signs than building and nature, the very opposite of my experience actually. I wondered why. I theorized about the role of comfort. Was it may be due to fact I seemed to have a much easier time and intimacy with nature than a lot of the comment on the fb page suggested? So many comments were asking how to get more outdoor time in and activity to increase progress. Others described the hardship of getting AF on far structures, which I had no trouble with at that point.
No shortcuts…damn. Too bad. Only thing left to do was to try harder. If the others on FB can do it, I should be able to figure this out. So let’s try. Plus I got to get past this plateau, I cannot stay stuck here! And try I did. Ahem… It quickly became very clear to me how much negative feedback was running through my mind every time I tried to look at those damn parking sign, meters away from my front porch. They are outdoors and I clear the damn brick wall behind, and not the sign! What is the big deal?? It really felt like a chore.
Digging deeper, morning after morning, I started realizing my whole body was almost revolting at the act. Like it was sending me signals that it didn’t want to do this. Why? I really felt uncomfortable trying to read a sign. Physically. The emotion behind it, once I realized I had strong emotions that I had been ignoring, was very easy to figure out.
I felt my failure was assured. The physical reaction was coming from voices in my brain telling me I was surely going to fail. That I couldn’t read those damn things. I realized looking at signs ALWAYS elicited a feeling of hopelessness, a somewhat dull panic, that I was so used to my entire life, that I had grown to ignore it. The powerlessness that comes with not being able to see anything, without two ugly and increasingly thicker glass bottoms stuck on your eyes.
Goes way back. I am in my early 40s. I started wearing glasses around 6 or 7. One day I could see, the next I became different than my classmates. I remember feeling like a chasm had just opened under me, that must be hidden from everyone, when I struggled to read the black board after the teacher had sat me at the back of the class temporarily, along with the trouble makers – because I had been talking too much with my neighbor. For the first time I was unable to copy what was on the black board, because I just couldn’t see it clearly. I had never experienced this before. I started asking my neighbors for portions of the words on the board. It was becoming increasingly awkward. I was the only one at the table who couldn’t read the words. What was going on? Later, when my parents outfitted with me glasses, there came the fear of how my classmates were going to react at my being the first person in the class to wear glasses. I remember being terrified. Were they going to mock me? Was I going to be alienated?
They didn’t. Quite the contrary. I became the sensation for a little while, everybody was so curious about the blue apparel stuck on my nose. I fielded questions about them regularly. Kids wanted to try them on…
Yet I think the handicap that had become mine left a subconscious trauma that turned into a reluctance/discomfort as an adult when faced with certain types of “blindness”. It seemed to have become the very source of the obstacle in my endmyopia efforts. In my plateau.
Not lack of knowledge, not misunderstanding. No, literally a reluctance to “look” at what a voice in my head told me I couldn’t see. To look at my own handicap really. My emotions were pushing me subconsciously to avoid working on the very weakness I needed to tackle.
The reason why I can confirm the origin of the limitation was all psychological? Because of how quickly the struggle with active focusing on signs has evaporated. Once I made it my priority, and once I faced my emotions head on, a year of thinking signs were just going to clear up on their own, like the rest, if I just focused on what I liked to look at and subconsciously dismissed the so-hard-to-read signs, just vanished …!
It is only a few weeks old, while the AF on larger structures is a year old. But it feels miraculous to me…
It literally took less than two to three week for me to start witnessing the same ability to elicit AC on printed signs, that I do on far away structures and nature. When all the while I thought there was something wrong with this area of my vision. I was struggling so hard before, and yet the solution was as “easy” as getting over a reluctance to see, to look at certain things, that I wasn’t even aware I had, until this obstacle was the only thing standing in the way of my progress. My problem with print was never physical. It was psychological. I didn’t want to see those signs. I didn’t even really want to look at them. They reminded me of all the pain of my life-long handicap.
So in conclusion, keep doing what you are doing. And when things get hard. Push through. Don’t give up. Behind that obstacle, is where the secret of your progress usually resides.
Full thread here.
Realize that this is rabbit hole stuff, and potentially risky. It’s easy to start “finding” issues and getting sucked up into all kinds of things that may or may not be productive and helpful for your life. More than a few self help type of ‘teachers’ get you hooked on endless subjective emotional journeys that may feel revelatory or “life changing” in the moment – but ultimately you only get that high as you keep going and going and going round and round in circles.
And sometimes not, like Rachel’s productive experience. Which is why I don’t get into these topics much – just a very occasional repost of things when the thought makes sense.