It is the mind which creates the world around us, and even though we stand side by side in the same meadow, my eyes will never see what is beheld by yours, my heart will never stir to the emotions with which yours is touched.-George Gissing
There’s comfort in uniformity and consistency. Comfort, however, usually is a danger sign, a signal that we’re not being challenged, that we’re not growing. It tends to be comforting that we seek, though, and that’s why we’ve been taught for so long that things are as they are, and that we all see things exactly the same. People who see things differently tend to be a threat to the uniformity and conformity of people, and if we threaten those things, we threaten the very fabric of our being, for most of us, anyway.
But your world is not my world. What I see is not the same as what you see, even if we’re standing together. Your experiences and your likes and dislikes make your view completely unique, just as my experiences make mine very special.
Our inability to see or accept this fact is one of the greatest contributors to discord and dissatisfaction in the world, though. We get frustrated when people don’t see things “our way,” and millions of kids and adults every day are taught to see things in the teacher’s way. They’re even graded as to whether or not they’ve adopted the teachers’ perspectives, and they’re penalized with low grades if they don’t see the information in the way the school wants them to see it.
We have to wake up to realize that seeing things differently is a blessing, not a curse. If someone disagrees with us, we don’t have to take that disagreement personally–that’s the way that person sees the world. If we can’t grasp a particular concept, it’s often better to move on to something that we can grasp rather than agonizing over our inability to see something the way someone else saw it.
We weren’t all meant to do things the same way–art and music would be very boring if we were–yet somehow we’ve bought into the idea that we all should see the world in a similar fashion. That’s not the way it is, though–we all see the world in our unique way, and we should celebrate not just our unique vision that may not fit in with someone else’s, but the unique visions of others, even though they may not fit in with ours.
Questions to ponder:
1. What kinds of things do you see differently from others?
2. Think about some times when you’ve seen something different from
someone else. What kind of tension arose (and tension can be positive)?
3. Why do we think that others see things the way we do?
For further thought:
We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are.-The Talmud