Understand is an action word. A verb that means to interpret the meaning, significance, explanation or cause of something, it demands that to understand we have to “do” something. But what is it that we have to do? I would propose that the do part of understanding is the ways we choose to look at things, people and situations that we aren’t familiar with, that are different than us. Differences are a part of our everyday lives. We have different tastes in clothes, different jobs with different demands. We look different, think different and act in different ways. Facing differentness is not an option, but HOW we face differentness is. When faced with things, people and situations that are different, ask yourself;
Do I think that there is one “right” way to be or to do things? (Coincidentally, it is usually the way I am or the way I do things)
Am I furious or curious about differentness? (Do things, people or situations that are different than me irritate me or intrigue me?)
The ways we view differences is like putting on two different sets of glasses. The first set, the furious glasses, causes us to see only one “right” way to do things or to be. Furious glasses are irritating and cause us to view differences as bad, leaving us closed off to different ways of doing things and different people. On the other hand, we can choose to pick up and wear curious glasses. While wearing curious glasses, we are intrigued and look for the many different ways to be “right”. These glasses allow us to see differences as a good thing leading to acceptance, appreciation and connection with others. So, the action part of understanding just might be the glasses that we choose to wear when facing new or different things, people and situations. Which glasses do you choose?
We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.