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I saw this rock on my walk.

Looking at the picture what’s the first thing it looks like to you? If you said a heart that was my first thought, too. If you said something different, I’d love to know what you saw.

Now, as I got on the other side of it, I paused when I saw this….

In an instant I thought, “Wow! A perfect example of how perspective shapes our thinking.”

Right then and there I knew I was going to share this rock and how it got me thinking about perspective, with you.

If someone were approaching the rock from the other side and I said to them, “Look at that cool heart shaped rock!”

They very well could think I was nuts.

Looking at the rock from their perspective they might say, “Heart!? What are you talking about? There’s nothing about this rock that’s heart shape. It’s more of an oblong shape.” And then I might say, “Oblong!? How can you not see the heart in that rock!?

At this point they might choose to cross the street so as not to catch whatever it is I have that could possibly see a heart shaped rock.

It’s these individual perspectives that can cause so much strife and separation in our life with others when we’re only willing to view something through our lens. Only willing to think about something a certain way.

If that scenario between me and the other person really happened, the two of us could have dug our heels in trying to convince each other of how the rock was shaped.

And from where we each stood, we would both be right.

Perspective has a Latin root meaning “look through”.

The idea of looking through another person’s lens is something that has become important to me. Doing so allows me to learn more.

On one level, when I agree with someone’s perspective, there’s always the chance that they have a slightly different spin on it, allowing me to see things more deeply which helps me grow.

On another level, even when I don’t agree with someone’s perspective, it becomes an opportunity to understand them better. To take a look through their lens without making them wrong.

Because from their perspective, they aren’t. And me trying to convince them why I think they’re perspective is wrong only entices both of us to grasp our “right” perspective tighter.

The ego would love nothing better than a dog fight in that moment. But my peace is more important to me than falling prey to the ego’s demands.

What I’ve experienced when I’m willing to look through their lens without making them wrong, is that they’re more willing to take a peek through my lens.

Does this always happen?

Absolutely not. But I’m not going to let that stop me from peering into someone else’s lens as often as I can.

Do I struggle sometimes to understand what their lens is showing me?

You’re darn tootin’ I do!

So I remind myself that every one of us has a lens through which we acquire and process life. Every one of us has come to our own perspectives because of the depth and width of our individual experiences. And the filtering of these lenses is never going to be exactly the same for all.

Obviously the more deeply personal or polarizing the situation or topic, the more challenging it can be to see another’s perspective. And no matter how similar our lens with another may seem at times, there’s still nuances that can make the perspective different.

As we strive to integrate how ours and the perspectives of people in our life are formed, it gives us an opportunity to stand on the other side, look through their lens, and learn more about their oblong or their heart.

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Linda Salazar

Author Linda Salazar

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