Interpretation is the cause of much discord. Interpretation can significantly affect our interactions and relationships. We all interpret and perceive the world so differently. Thoughts, actions, and behaviors are viewed by one in a totally different lens than the next individual. We each have our own unique, internal lens through which we view the external world.
Think about when you go to a movie. Sometimes the people you go with see the film wildly different than you see it. We experience something based on our unique vision and also our past experiences. We see the world and interpret it differently. No two people have the same lens.
Why is this important?
When we experience life with another person—a spouse, a friend, or even our children, we must understand and accept that they are going to see things through their own personal lens and life experiences. We must not forget that even our children have a separate and unique lens that is different from our own.
Every experience that we have in life shapes the next one by contributing to our lens. We are conditioned to believe certain things in our life based on how we have been raised, the societal expectations of our culture, and our parents’ perceptions. Ultimately, over time, this creates part of our lens. It dictates how we view, judge, and process the things in front of us.
At birth, all we have are clear lenses, but as time goes on, the frames and lenses begin to thicken. By the end of our life, we end up with very thick lenses and frames, shaped by a motley of experiences and values that have been defined and redefined. It is important to remember that while we can all see out of our lenses, every individual has a different script, a different brand, and a different frame. Therefore, sight varies from person to person.
Perceptions are not written in stone. Throughout our lives, we see things differently at different moments in time. Our lenses are constantly changing. The more we become aware of our perception, the more we can begin to see life in each moment without so much judgment and cloudiness. And perhaps we can appreciate and understand the perceptions and opinions of others. We all walk this earth with different experiences. It is important to value and acknowledge the worldview of others. This doesn’t mean you have to accept it as your own, but rather, it means you can respect it and the lenses they wear.