Have you ever found yourself in a discussion with someone and these words come out of your mouth, “I see things exactly as they are.”
Where do you go from here in a conversation?
In my life I have said these words, usually in a disagreement or argument with someone else. How tightly you and I hold onto our belief we see things exactly as they are will determine the level of flow and ease we travel through life.
Do you find yourself digging in when you believe or “know” you are absolutely right? Are you really seeing things exactly as they are?
We all have filters. Raw data from our external world must go through our filters first, where meaning is then attached based on our cultural and family history, traditions, beliefs, and judgments. I would venture to say that it is impossible for raw data to stay “raw” once inside our minds.
The meaning I give anything comes from what I believe to be true about the world based on my unique circumstances. My circumstances are different than yours, just as yours are different from mine. When you or I find ourselves saying, “I see things exactly as they are,” it is time to clarify and create new distinctions with the person we are in conversation with.
Distinctions are knowledge. Nothing exists for me unless I have knowledge that it exists. When I have new knowledge about something I have a new distinction. Where I get into trouble is thinking that an action, a behavior, or an event means the same to me as someone else. Our distinctions can be quite different.
I can’t know what something means to another person unless I ask some probing questions. The answers to those questions become knowledge for me to see things in a way I hadn’t before. They are distinctions. This also works for the other person as well.
When you and I have more distinctions, we have more things we can actually see and understand. When we see more we can speak and act in ways that benefit a conversation, a relationship, or an event.
Moving past “I see things exactly as they are” helps new ground to be discovered, new agreements to be made, and more opportunities to be explored. In the end, it is this: change the way I look at things and the things I look at change.
What are you looking at and how could it change with a new distinction?
You may also like to read the first part – “Small Steps # 1”.
Distinctions, distinctions, distinctions.