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Looking through the lens of others

Updated: Mar 17, 2021

We all see the world in our own specific ways. We view it with our own lenses that have been developed and shaped by all kinds of elements - our childhood experiences, our friends, our relationship with our family, books we have read, TV shows we have seen. All the exposure and experiences we have had comes together and forms our perception of the world.

Perception creates reality

You may have heard of this phrase "perception creates reality" and it refers to how we are all wired to believe that our own perception is the reality. However, our perception may not be the truth. Our perception is only OUR truth and not everyone's truth.

Our natural lens is formed by our innate personalities

Which lens we use to view the world affects our perceptions. Our natural lens, which is formed by our innate personalities, will provide us with one view. But others may see the exact same situation in a different way, for they have a different personality and a different lens. Picture a situation of disruption that you have been in - perhaps you are on holiday with your family and you are running late to catch a flight home. Its raining and there is no taxi in sight. If one of the family members is a planner with a conscientious style personality (Let's call her Cathy) , this disruption will trigger waves of stress and thoughts about all the things at home and at work that will be in disarrangement because of the delay. On the other hand, perhaps another member of the family has a positive, influencing style personality (Let's call her Ingrid) and handles the situation by looking at the silver lining, highlighting all the cool things that could be done if the holiday is extended due to the delay. The same situation triggers a different response because of the different lens that is being used by different people.

Sticking to our own lens all the time may cause a barrier of communication

We can choose to stick to our own perceptions all the time, but it will cause us to feel frustrated quite frequently and may become a barrier to communicating with others. Take for example Cathy and Ingrid above. Ingrid in her enthusiasm, communicates her excitement of having an extended vacation but this will increase Cathy's level of annoyance even more. "How can anyone think that a delay is fun?" Cathy thinks, where else Ingrid may be thinking "lighten up, we are going to miss the flight anyway, lets enjoy it while we can". Both Cathy and Ingrid will find it difficult to understand the other person while keeping their innate lenses on and believing that their own perception is the reality - meaning they expect the other to see things the way they themselves see it.

Seeing things from the other's view point is the key to a relationship

Both of them are right, both have a valid viewpoint. But both will misunderstand each other or get into a conflict if neither person is willing to switch lens and see things from the other's view point. Being able to just understand that each person uses a different lens will already raise one's awareness of others and enable us to view each situation in a less personal manner, with less judgement. Just to be able to say "she's not saying it just to annoy me but its because she is a really positive person", already places you on a position of high awareness, opening you up to being able to develop the ability to see things through different lenses.


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