How often do we tend to come up with our own opinions about something based on our own perceptions and experiences and then consider them to be “facts”? Pretty often, right?
Not only do we judge others based on their color, religion, or nationality, but we often go so far as to judge other people’s thoughts, beliefs, and even their opinions. How many times have you heard people argue because they don’t agree about liking something, some place, or someone? It’s actually quite silly when you really think about it.
The real “fact” is that we are each living in our own separate reality. There is no right or wrong thought, opinion, belief, or lifestyle. There are simply differences that we should accept given the vast diversity of our resources, environments, and experiences in this world. Every one of us is the accumulation of all the separate experiences we have had up until now… and like fingerprints, no two are alike.
Every one of us is:
- In a different place,
- Seeing different things,
- Involved in different types of activities,
- Reading different material and watching different shows,
- Experiencing different emotions, and
- Interacting with different people who have yet another dimension of their own differences.
Our differences are astronomical and you are perfectly you at this precise moment in time.
“Every person has a different view of another person’s image. That’s all perception. The character of a man, the integrity, that’s who you are.” – Steve Alford, American basketball coach and former player who is currently the head coach of the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball team.
When you think about the word “book”, what picture comes to mind? Does the image in your head look like an encyclopedia? A cookbook? A favorite book you read as a child? What color is your imaginary book?
When you think of a dog, I am sure the dog you imagine is quite different than the dog I imagine. If I were to imagine a huge Great Dane and you a tiny Chihuahua, we might feel and react a bit differently when we hear someone say, “We built them a 2×2 square foot dog house.”
You may say, “Awe, how cute! That sounds cozy.”
I might say, “Wow, how cruel and inhumane. He won’t even have room to turn around!”
Each person has their “own” inner image connected to each word, their own emotion attached to each thought of a person, place, or thing, and their own beliefs attached to each and every possible view.
As we grow up, we become, in part, products of the environment around us, and our own personal experiences, focus and mindsets shape our thoughts and ideas. Even two identicle twins living in the same household will not see things in exactly the same way.
But who is right and who is wrong when they don’t agree? Neither, of course. They are both right according to their own reality.
So to answer the question, “Do others see what we see?”, the short answer is, “No, they don’t.” And that’s a great thing because without the collaboration of many different realities, minds, experiences, perceptions, and beliefs, we would not grow as a race. We would likely be extinct at this point.
“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” – Charles Darwin, English naturalist and geologist, best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory.
Accepting and learning from other people’s experiences and even their mistakes is not only the key to a more successful personal life, as it helps us advance further than we could have on our own, but it’s the key to all advancements in every area of study, such as technology and medicine.
The next time you don’t agree with someone’s opinion, just listen and ask questions. They could have a piece of information that you don’t have. They may teach you something that could catapult you way ahead of the game in your own reality or even point you in a better direction than you were headed.
Never limit yourself to only what you can see.
About the Author: Michelle C. Ustaszeski-Hutchinson is the Founder of The Teen Mentor, LLC, a Personal Development Expert, and the Author and Content Director of The Total Mind Development™ Program. Her mission is to educate Teens and Young Adults about the important stuff that they don’t learn in school and help facilitate the sharing of wisdom from one generation to the next. Read more …