It can be difficult at times to see where someone else may be coming from when it comes to viewpoints. Lately I’ve realized that there truly is no reality, and it is our perception that rules 100% of the time. Philosophically, no two people will see the world in the same way and this affects how we live daily. When learning how to understand yourself better and as well as other people, it helps to take into account what perception you are viewing the world from at any particular moment.

A story I read once made me realize how we truly operate on various grounds of misperception (I am going to recite it to the best of my memory):

While boarding the subway northbound toward the city, I noticed it was an unusual day on the MTA. Passengers were uneasy to say the least. Reaching up to hold on to the handrail as the doors closed I noticed a man whose children were creating a rude disturbance in the crowd.

They ran in circles screaming, playing, whining and causing the others on the train to grit their teeth. The father? Apathetic at best.

“You think you can keep those kids under control, sir?” I finally gathered up enough nerve to ask. I felt triumphant to speak up as I did. The official spokesperson of every other aggravated commuter aboard that rail car.

He looked at me slowly and life hardly flickered once in his eyes. Nodding his head down then back up again he said softly, “I do apologize. We are returning from the hospital. Their mother is terminally ill with cancer.”

The moment stood still.

What is it like to hear that news? As the father? The children? How could the rest of us be so insensitive?

Suddenly the minor aggravation of the uncontrolled children didn’t seem so major anymore. How many times in your life have you let your perception get in the way of how you interpreted reality?

Can we wire ourselves to subconsciously take a step back when we are about to react to a situation and consider the thousands of possible other viewpoints at play? When we are able to do this, it is boosting what I like to call, our emotional intelligence. Relating to others and seeing things from other angles makes us happier people in general.

Are you willing to accept that your perception is not reality? Lately I’m understanding that there is no reality. If we all look at one scenario and derive different outcomes, the truth is self-evident.