Checking Our Perspective

It’s amazing what a difference even a tiny shift in view can sometimes make. Most of us do our best to see ourselves and others through balanced lenses, but nobody’s perfect, and even the most rational and reasonable of people can have irrational and unreasonable moments. It’s easy to misjudge situations, other people and the motivations behind some behaviors. Even our own opinions can cloud us at times, and we might not always be able to catch ourselves when harmful viewpoints creep in.

We’re only human, and we can only form our views based on what we know. Still, when fear, anger or doubt takes hold, there’s a good chance that personal perspective is at least one of the factors contributing to how we’re feeling.

No one wants to find they’ve been the one adding fuel to a fire that’s been senselessly burning. The problem is a common one, however, and unless we train ourselves to spot this troublesome practice, change for the better may be impossible.

Emotional Parallax

The world is much broader than most of us are able to perceive, and even individual situations are often far more complex than any one person is capable of grasping. Consider our emotional stances in a way one might view differences in physical location. No matter where a person stands, it’s impossible for them to see every single possible perspective. From a dense forest, trees will obstruct much of the landscape, but from the highest mountaintop, where nothing is there to block the view, the rest of the world might fall out of sight completely.

We’re as much the products of our physical locations as our beliefs are the products of all the influences that surround us. Both affect our perceptions and color the way we view ourselves and others in this world. When we consider the importance (and limitations) of perspective, we may find ourselves more accepting of those that diverge from our own.

Country, culture and even family tradition can tilt our views, so we may have no choice but to find different routes to reach the same goals. We adhere to beliefs and norms that fit us according to the ways we’ve been personally molded. Part of accepting others is appreciating the differences between each of us.

Radical Acceptance

Radical acceptance is the idea that we can recognize the validity in situations and people we may not be able to understand or change. It’s about making peace with the rest of the world—the “good” along with what we perceive to be the “bad”—and understanding that we might not have things as figured out as we thought. Just like with all issues, the most important question we should be asking ourselves when something makes us uncomfortable is whether it’s actually causing anyone any harm. In such cases, maybe radical acceptance isn’t the answer—but it’s unlikely that violence or oppression are either.

It’s not always easy to understand all that’s currently happening in this world, but issues or positions that are unclear to us don’t have to become burdens. We must learn to choose our battles and embrace our differences. When we let go of excessive judgment and unnecessary frustrations over issues outside of our personal control, we also release ourselves from needless anger or hatred we might otherwise harbor.

Right now, who really has the energy to waste?

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