A Good Dose of Reality
More than 7 billion humans live on our planet. And though we often think we know what reality is, it's good to remember that as many of us as there are, there are probably just as many realities.
During these times of polarization (though I think tribalism and finger pointing have always walked within our civilizations), it often does me a lot of good to try to imagine what another's reality may look like. Sometimes we think there are only two sides to a story, yet beyond the extremes of both sides, within the area between the black and the white, there lie myriad gradations of grays that merge with one another until there is no seeing where a boundary may be.
Oh! How beautiful would that be, to no longer see boundaries? No more "I'm right and you're wrong". I know the events in my own life, the filters, traumas, major events and happinesses that inform my reality, but I can't possibly know another's. I know that I change my mind often, as I sift through new material, even daily, yet others don't know this. How then, can I assume what another may think, or whether they still have the same opinions today as they had yesterday?
These realities we create in our minds seem so real to us, so concrete and sure. Yes, it is our reality, but often not another's. Have you been in a relationship where you wonder how the heck your partner came to a certain conclusion about you? Different filters, different worlds. Sometimes, when out driving, I like to imagine the world of the driver in the car next to me. Who are they, where do they come from? How many heartaches have they had, or has their life been easy? Children? Cousins? Big family or small? It gets me out of my own small world, my judgments and culture and singleness and helps me view the world as community.
Learning to get along with others is a fine art. It can improve with age if we practice, practice, practice. My greatest tool is to remind myself that the way I see the world is not the way others do. And though I don't always listen to my own wise voice, still I often hear her sayin, "Be kind. You don't know what they've been through. You don't know what they're thinking. You don't really know their reality, do you?"