Have you ever paused for a moment and stepped in another mans shoes? Could you see their point of view?

If you have, then you a probably more emotionally mature than most. This can be a very challenging exercise, to humble yourself, to consider that there may be another way of looking at things, another truth.

Essentially there is only one truth, one reality (unless you believe in the idea of alternate realities :p), this truth or reality however is perceived or interpreted differently depending on your experiences, your attitude, your beliefs. I like to think of it as we are all looking at the world through our own glasses which are shaped by our lives. Each set of glasses unique to the individual. Some people have severely cracked glasses through irresponsible parenting or childhood abuse. Some people have chips in their glasses from hurtful relationships. Some have tints on their glasses from unresolved anger and some have glasses so thick from depression and anxiety their perception of the world is warped. I don’t believe anyone has a perfect set of glasses though there are certainly ways to improve the condition of yours.

If you have ever been impacted  by a life changing event you have probably felt like you have just received a new pair of glasses. The world suddenly looks different, priorities change. Those diagnosed with illness lose interest in the material and have a new appreciation for relationships.You needn’t have a life changing event to bring you closer to the truth. It certainly is a slower process but you can train yourself to get your glasses checked for accuracy. Here are some tips to help you have the cleanest glasses you can possibly have.

  • Aware: Be conscious of the fact that your opinion and views are only based on your perception of the world, not fact.
  • Ego-less: Remove your ego and any bias. Try to silence what your think you know and accept new information in its pure raw form. Remove your needs from the situation, any pre-concieved ideas, past experiences or any expectations.
  • Open: Be open to new and strange information. Remove all fear and embrace this new knowledge with inquisition.
  • Revise: Get your glasses checked. The world changes, trends come and go, theories are proven and dis-proven. You change – single to relationship, broke to employed, healthy to sick, renter to home owner, child to teen, adult, to parent. Are you still wearing the right glasses for the current climate? Do you need to change how you view this new world.
  • Welcome challenges: Be open to criticism and challenge. Rather than telling your kids don’t talk back to me, listen to their view, check yourself, are they giving you the wake up call you needed. Change the way you respond to criticism from you partner, your perceptions have been shaped so differently from your up bringing. Like the old lady and young lady in the picture above, could you both be right?
  • Effort: Commit to forever making the effort to be aware of your foggy glasses, remove your ego,check your self and remain open. You can welcome challenges to your perception from family and friends because this is an opportunity to test your glasses. Differences in opinion are opportunities to listen and understand another point of view, to get a tune up of your glasses, alter them slightly.

When have you thought you knew the truth only to find out later there was another truth?

This idea of perception has been throwing itself at me lately in many forms, two of which are in the books “The Road Less Travelled” by M.Scott Peck and “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. I highly recommend these books if you would like to read more.