Through the Eyes of Another

Good Monday Morning,

The turmoil around the release of the anti-Islam film a couple of weeks ago has been on my mind and it caused me to think about a number of topics including being responsible for one’s actions, how we treat people in general, and the idea of trying to see the world through the eyes of another.

Compassion and the associated understanding that goes hand-in-hand with it are traits which I believe are often over looked when forming an opinion of a particular situation, belief, or circumstance and how we react to it. Often, I think if we take the time to truly understand and appreciate the point of view of the other individual, we might act in a different manner. Or, at least we might understand why someone acts in a certain manner and not react adversely to their actions or to the situation. The world through the eyes of another is a very interesting point of view to take and one that I believe will offer tremendous insight not only into that of the other but also into yourself.

Why we do what we do is rooted in many intertwined aspects of our psyche including things like cultural heritage, economic situation, religious upbringing, experiences, and many other influences. Taken together, they weave a complex tapestry of how we behave, react to others, and view the world. It is in this complexity and only through the examination of all of these underlying elements and influences that we can begin to understand how and why we act the way we do. They are deeply rooted, often predating our birth, and a part of our ancestry and heritage. Understanding the foundation of what we believe and how it causes us to act is an interesting activity that I would challenge you to take. Did you ever wonder why you do something? Or, have you ever heard the expression, “you sound just like your mother/father?” There’s a reason. This act of deep understanding – empathy is not about judgement of “right or wrong”; rather, it’s an investigation of “why”. Once you understand the why, then you can begin to effect the actions that you take and reaction to those of others around you.

In situations this week, don’t be quick to pass judgement about others. Stop, try to step into the shoes of the other individual and try to see the world through their eyes. Perhaps, you’ll learn something about them and possibly even about yourself and your current point of view. It may cause you to think differently, to pause and reconsider, or to just stop. Understand the WHY. Then, when you’ve done this, act with empathy. I believe, if you try this and do it consistently, you’ll learn a tremendous amount about yourself, you’ll handle situations better, and you’ll probably have better outcomes.

God bless & have a great week.

September 2012