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What We See Is Unique To Us

Every individual is unique and will naturally see things based on their unique perspectives. But is this way the only way to see things?

Do you get into conflict with people (at work and at home) around you?
Do you feel strange about how they view things, which you find to be “out of this world”?
Do you dislike (sometimes even hate!) certain people for the way they carry themselves, say things and behave?

We all do! And that’s due to how each and every one of us sees things, which is unique and determined by the unique lenses we wear.

We wear different lenses

Your views may differ from someone else’s views (and vice versa) which inevitably breeds a conflict of some sort. You see this in everything (nothing is spared!)- both major (politics, religion, economics, society etc) and trivial (dressing preference, lunch option, holiday destination etc) matters. They take place in your mind and are determined by the lenses you wear, i.e. the assumptions, beliefs and values you hold dear to in your life.

Our assumptions, beliefs and values about why and how someone could think or act the way they do impact the way we feel and the way we respond to them. If there is alignment, we tend to be at ease and will be comfortable dealing with them. If not, we’ll start to lose our hair!

We often make up stories (only real to us) about why someone holds a certain view and why we disagree. These stories are built on our assumptions, beliefs and values, and will create a wedge that will separate us from others.

It is perfectly normal for us to consider that the way we see things is the only way we can see them, and the way we feel about someone or a situation is the only way we can understand them. We simply consider what we see and feel as the truth and nothing but the truth (yes, our truth). And if someone disagrees with us, the person is wrong or an imbecile or has a hidden agenda (dishonest) or from a different planet.

Our lenses are unique and functional to us

Our assumptions, beliefs and values help us process the world efficiently.

Frank Han, a Yale neurobiology professor explained that the brain’s vast neural network requires huge amounts of energy to keep it running.

The brain has to encode things efficiently to save energy and one way our brain saves energy is by leveraging on our assumptions, beliefs and values. We draw on our assumptions, beliefs and values, and use them in our daily encounters, both in routine situations and in new environments to make sense and understand them. They become our lenses that help us “see clearly”.

Problems with our lenses

Our assumptions, beliefs and values start causing problems when we believe our way of interpreting a given situation is the only way (with no other way!) to interpret that situation. If anyone does not see things our way, we simply think they are just wrong or consider them as imbeciles.

What is key here is to understand that every individual is unique (given the way they were brought up, their culture, their background, their experience etc) and will naturally see things based on their unique perspectives (lenses). Clearly our way of seeing things is not the only way to see.

Be curious and ask questions to find out more

When views differ (usually our assumptions, beliefs and values are at play), we can avoid problems and uncomfortable situations by having a curious mind. We need to be self-aware when the situation arises in order to ask ourselves curious questions about the situation or the person we are encountering.

Where is the person’s thought coming from?
What seems to be important for the person?
How might the person’s views be real for him/her?
What is true here?

By asking some of the questions above (they are non-exhaustive), we will proactively help ourselves to remain open to the possibility that our truth is not the only truth. With this openness, we will begin to accept that the way we see or feel about someone or a situation is uniquely us and based on our truth. And others have their own version of truth too.


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