One of the most exciting details I learned about humans was perspective. It may seem like a silly thing to be excited about, but perspective is the reason I am who I am today. Healthy and crazy (just kidding, I’m not that healthy). Seriously though, learning another perspective changed my whole outlook on people. I could diffuse an argument in seconds, I could make someone’s day, I could give someone hope or I could shut someone up. Not…that…I would shut someone up, just saying I could.
If you’d like, I could tell you what I mean with a short story:
My cousin and I were playing in my Aunt’s bedroom when he dropped his cranberry juice on her clean, white sheets. We froze in utter terror. My Aunt had walked to the store and she would be back any minute, if she saw this…
My cousin was terrified of his mother finding out what he had done so we hatched a plan to prevent her from seeing the stain. Within a minute he had a clever lie to tell her that would cover the stain and how it got there. It was brilliant. Sitting at the window, waiting for her to arrive, I started to think (uh oh). I thought ‘If it was me, I would be furious if someone lied to me about destroying something as important to me as this is to her’ that nagging thought kept pounding through my head over and over. Then another thought came to light that negated my last thought, ‘What if I told her the truth and he got in trouble?’ Now stuck with a moral debate, I contemplated telling the lie differently, when my Aunt walked through the door. As predicted, she was furious.
My cousin began telling the lie we practiced but when he got to the part about it being my sister’s fault, I caved. It was his fault he spilled it, but I was the one who encouraged him to play in her room when she clearly told us not to. I came clean and took the blame out of pure guilt.
Although I got in tons of trouble, I got in much less trouble than my cousin and my punishment was to scrub the sheets until they were white again. Since I wasn’t very skilled in scrubbing sheets clean, my aunt showed me, and we ended up having a good laugh about it. I never told her who actually spilled the juice on her sheets but there was no need. We got the sheets pristine white again and my aunt pretty much forgot about it.
That day I learned something about myself. I learned that I can use another’s perspective to prevent them from hating me. Which was one of my worst nightmares. People hating me. As I understand your perspective I gain the ability to empathize and create a good foundation for friendship. But don’t get me wrong, it’s not easy.
Not. At. All.
To gain this ability, you must surrender your own feelings and truths. It took the sacrifice of my own selfish wants and needs. I had to over-look what I felt or what emotion I was experiencing and pay attention to the perspective of another. I can explain it better this way: Let’s say, you’re in school. Everyday this kid picks on you and calls you terrible names. Most “normal” people would either ignore them, fight them, or be afraid of them.
One day I came to school and completely disarmed a bully by just looking at her with the saddest expression. Because I understood why she was so mean to everyone. Her father molests her. She was taking all that fury out on anyone who was female and pretty because she herself hated being beautiful. That’s scary.
You see? Perspective. The word itself has many different definitions but the basis remains the same, a new or different point of view. If you understood the meaning behind why a person is doing what they are doing, you begin to understand not only their perspective but also their pain.
Moonlyte signing off: Make it a great day.