Monday, May 9, 2011

The Pink Tree

A few weeks ago, a tree started blooming a few blocks away with these beautiful pink flowers. Every branch covered and bursting with color. I walk my dogs by it all the time - always slowing down to admire the "Pink Tree" as I call it.

Then last week, something happened. I got glasses. On the next walk, we headed to the Pink Tree and I saw clearly, for the first time, that the tree was actually covered with little orange and white flowers. Without my glasses, the colors blurred to make pink. With them, they stayed separate as orange and white. So was my beloved Pink Tree not pink at all?!?!

This got me thinking about perspective. Was I "wrong" in thinking the tree held pink flowers? No. It is what I saw, it is what I experienced. How could that be "wrong"? Yet, I also got lucky enough to experience an additional point of view on this tree - one that people with better eyesight saw. What an amazing situation to be in - to be able to remove my glasses to see one thing, then put them on to see something completely different. Neither one is wrong or right. Both are just my body taking in the surrounding information and using whatever tools it has at that moment to process it into something understandable. Some of you may be saying "but if the flowers are orange and white, then your observation of pink is incorrect". I disagree. Who says they are orange and white? Some computer reading in reflections of the sun and thus spitting out a numerical hue? How is that more valid than my own experience? If I had never gotten glasses, and those pink flowers are all I could see, then pink flowers were my reality. Why would someone else's point of view invalidate mine? Why do we feel this need to constantly be "right" or "wrong"? Why is is so hard for people to understand everything in this world is subjective? There may be a point of view opposite of yours yet just as valid since it is a reality for someone else - like your point of view is a reality for you.

This world would be a much more peaceful place if people had the courage to try to understand additional points of view, rather than immediately dismiss them because they are "wrong". To step outside their own experiences and try to see it from someone else's. The line between Right and Wrong blurs quickly when you can truly immerse yourself in someone else's reality for a moment. Suddenly you can see maybe there are multiple Rights to every situation. Next time you find yourself getting defensive and supporting your own point of view, try to step back a moment to see where your opponent is coming from. Not just their argument, but also what tools they have at their disposal, what life lessons they have under their belt to bring them to their conclusion. You'll be amazed at what you find.

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