Have you ever been in a situation where the person you consider the bane of existence is the apple of the eye for another person? Have you ever heard a different experience from somebody you trust about a familiar friend? Why is that we all have different experiences with the same person in the same situation?

Since we are the only differentiating factor, I would suggest that the answer lies within us. We are responsible for the experience we have – that is why we all have different realities. Let’s say ten people are watching the sunset on the same spot at the same time, but each of them is wearing different color glasses. Even though they are watching the same sunset, they see it through their unique colored lenses, and hence they all have different experiences. To add another layer of complexity each of the ten people has a strong preference for some colors. For example, person one might hate the green color, and that’s the tint that these glasses have – so whether he knows it or not he will be influenced by his preference of the green color.

Similarly, we all have our glasses through which we view the world. And we build our glasses from our own experiences which are unique to us. So, it is pure luck when two people agree with their assessment of another person – it means their experiences have enough similarity that they are looking through the same section of the glasses.

If we have a strong attachment to our way of looking at the world, then we will not like somebody whose view is opposite to ours as that’s not the way our world works. Let’s say you believe you are a stellar employee but your boss thinks you to be a mediocre employee, so you want a free rein, but your boss wants to monitor you more – herein lies the conflict. You are wearing “I am stellar” glasses whereas your boss is wearing “He is mediocre” glasses. In this case, if both parties are aware of their beliefs then they can have an honest conversation about it.

However, in most cases, we are not aware of our beliefs, and we just react without knowing the cause. What we see is a symptom, not the cause. For example, you might have had an accident with a red car when you were a child. And now whenever you see the color red your subconscious kicks in to warn you. Your best friend might be wearing a red color dress, and you end up arguing with her – it is possible.

There is no easy way to see all the beliefs that have – but we can work towards awareness – awareness of our thoughts, conscious that we may be wrong, acknowledging that we might have acted on an assumption. These things were help but ultimately what is needed is for us to know ourselves which is a journey which might take one lifetime or many!

Gnothi Seauton

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