I’ve always been fascinated with the idea that 5 people can experience the same thing and yet, have 5 different perspectives or stories about what happened. Personal experiences, cultural norms, and even something as simple as age all work together to shape our views, interpretations, and interactions with the world around us. It reminds me of an experience I had, way back when I was just a young teenager, working with 2 year olds at a daycare. Here is what happened…
What I saw
“Seriously? She is 2. Be a parent and put her coat on. Are you really chasing your own child down the hall begging her to put that coat on? Who is the adult here? I’m half your age and can control a room full of twice as many 2 year olds. Well, I can only imagine how that is going to go when she is a teenager. Geez, that’s like Parenting 099 for crying out loud. Put the coat on and be done with it.”
The reality that I should have seen
“Wow. She must be so exhausted. After working all day and keeping the house together, now she has another 3 hours of chasing that tiny human around and putting food on the table. She must feel so torn between paying bills and losing precious time with those who mean the most to her. Scoop up that baby, snuggle her, and enjoy every screaming second.”
Same event. Same scenario. Different perspective. The way we treat people is based on our perspective, not necessarily reality. Once we learn to step out of our own eyes to see through the eyes of someone else, only then can we possibly see reality as it truly is.
Next time you think you know, you think you understand, you think the situation is clear, think again. Discover another’s perspective. Discover reality. It might just help you gain a new perspective and if you are truly lucky, compassion.