I See What You Mean… Or Maybe Not

by: Sue Urda

Last Christmas while I was visiting part of my family in Texas, my sister rented a movie that she thought I would “love”. She, her husband and all three of her kids had seen it twice before and just loved it. They thought it was one of the funniest movies they had seen, so they rented it again so I could see it too.

As we ate popcorn and the movie played, they all laughed hysterically as I merely chuckled. I didn’t understand how they could find it so funny. And of course, they didn’t understand how I couldn’t. I remember going to sleep that night feeling a bit disconnected and somewhat sad.

How could it be that we all watched exactly the same thing at the same time on the same TV, and we had two totally different views of it?

The answer I believe is – perspective.

My sister and I are only 15 months apart. We grew up in the same home with the same parents and siblings, were taught the same values, went to the same schools, ate the same meals, went on the same vacations, often had the same haircuts and even shared some clothes for 17 years. And yet, as forty-something women, we are two very different people.

Perspective on Silver Towers

Perspective on Silver Towers (Photo credit: pamhule)

How could this be? What happens in our lives to make us separate from others, even though we have shared experiences and even though we are still ultimately connected? Where does the connection begin, and where does it end?

Our lives, and more specifically, our viewpoints, are the sum total of every experience we have encountered. They are the sum of each person we have met, each book read, each movie watched, each conversation had, each job done, each step taken, each mountain climbed, each slice of pizza eaten – the list goes on. Even in the same room with the same people watching the same movie – we see it through the eyes and brain of the person that we are. For each of us, there truly is no other way.

Even when we try to “see it through the eyes of another”, and we think we know how they might feel, at some level we must realize that we are still seeing it through our own eyes, and projecting our own views, as we think they might see them. As Bijan Anjomi, author of Effortless Prosperity says, “I do not know the real meaning of what I see.”

If we could simply step back and be open to understand that even that which we think is the same, is perhaps a different experience for another person – and then allow the difference – we might more readily accept that we truly are all connected and equal and the same – only different.

Now, that’s Powerful!

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