Have you ever read a book where they tell the same story from the point of view of different characters?
Those are awesome books, aren’t they?!
I love those books because suddenly we see the same story from a different angle.
Books aside, every story of every minute of every life can be told in many different ways. But because our information from other people is limited, we only know our own versions. The missing parts from other characters?
We simply fill in the blanks with judgments and decisions based on material from our own experiences.
In short, we assume. What we assume is dependent on our past – the parts of the past that we have chosen to keep.
My own assumptions splashed me in the face on my last birthday in June. On our birthdays, the quantum field presents a gift in the form of wisdom, and here came mine, in the form of a birthday card my 10-years-old daughter drew for me.
Here it is:
A black sun, a tree being taken down by a storm, and a vampire bat ready to attack. Kind of gloomy for a birthday card, don’t you think?
I was taken aback, to say the least. If this was my daughter’s idea of happiness, I 1) have completely failed as a mother, and 2) am in need of some serious therapy for all of us.
But that’s not what I said (because I haven’t completely failed as mother.)
What I said was this:
“Wow, a true representative of the current times of chaos, illness, and death – a black sun, a tree being taken down by a storm, and a vampire bat ready to attack.”
That’s what I saw, through the lens of my creating, based on my experiences that I have allowed to stay with me.
But my daughter said, “No, no, no.”
She put her hand on mine, to comfort me as she took me on a tour around the picture.
“This here is not the sun, but the silver moon. I drew it with a pencil because pencils are silvery.”
“This here is not a bat, but an owl protecting you from above. You love owls.”
“And you always say that you like how the wind feels on your cheeks. I didn’t know how to draw wind, so I showed it with the tree.”
That’s because she sees this world through the lens that she has created.
The bigger question is, was I wrong in my understanding?
Whatever you answered, are you sure?
Because I’m not.
You see, the picture is what it is – our words do not change it. There is no right or wrong in the physical world, there just is.
Only how we see the physical world, or how we assume the physical world is, makes it into something categorized, gives it character.
It applies to all of us – to ourselves, to the people we agree with, and to the people with whom we disagree. The way we categorize people is based on our assumptions, which are based on our experiences.
The way others see and react to us is but a reflection of the past stories that for whatever reasons have stayed with them.
While we can’t force others to share their side since we can’t control others, we can acknowledge that the other sides exist; that their stories have been built from building materials that are different from ours.
Life is like those books where one event has many versions attached to it. But real life does not provide the privilege of a writer narrating all sides to us.
In real life, for the most part, we hear it only from one person – ourselves.
Embrace it, understand it, and when it comes to others, ask to hear those stories.
Photo by Nathan Dumlao