“What you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing; it also depends on what kind of a person you are” – C.S. Lewis
In the busyness of our day-to-day life, it is easy to forget that the world we experience is a subjective one. Instead, we tend to think there is an objective world out there that everyone else experiences in the same way. We believe that the food at our favorite restaurant is truly delicious, that our favorite part of town is beautiful, and that our friends are wonderful people. It would be more accurate to say that we find the food at our favorite restaurant delicious, that we find our favorite part of town beautiful, and that we really enjoy our friends and find them wonderful. At the same time, others may not like our favorite restaurant, find our favorite part of town particularly attractive, and even our best friends have people that don’t find them wonderful.
We experience the world that we live in through the lens of our own personal experience which is shaped by the environment we are raised in, our culture, belief system, and values. Others, raised in different environments, cultures, or with different belief systems can experience the same people and activities very differently. An easy example are people from two different political parties and their opinions on any particular candidate. The key point here is that, while our perceptions, opinions and views seem to make perfect sense to us, the different perceptions, opinions and views of others makes perfect sense to them. In fact, if we reflect on our life will see that our own views and beliefs have changed over time. If we can remember this, it can help us stay away from extreme views and help us to have a broader perspective as well as an inclusive attitude in our interactions with others.
We can also add that it is helpful to remember when we are in a good mood, feeling healthy and happy, that people that we usually find annoying don’t seem to bother us at all. However, when we are tired, irritable or not feeling well, we can feel annoyed by our best friends. Our attitude and our mental and emotional state also plays a large part in how we experience others and the activities we engage in. Today’s quote reminds us of these simple truths that we are usually not conscious of. We are just one of seven billion other humans sharing this planet, all of us experiencing it through our unique lens, a lens that changes moment to moment, day to day.
I invite you to explore the subjective experience of your daily activities. Explore the idea that things can change if you change your attitude or perspective about them. Notice how others experience things differently than you do. When talking to others, do your best remember that even if their opinions are different, they are valid from their point of view. – John Bruna, April 30, 2016
The above is a an excerpt from one the daily emails sent to the members of the Mindful Life Community. I invite you to explore our community and consider joining.
Copyright © 2016 John Bruna. All rights reserved.