PERSPECTIVE, is it the Answer?

Perspective. It is a topic that has been on my heart a lot lately. It seems as though, as a society, we have lost our desire to seek perspective and with it, gain understanding.

With the invention of the internet, the way that we seek information has changed. Today our newsfeeds are being filled by search engine algorithms that “intelligently” feed us more of what they believe we want to see. Headlines, edited dialogue and video from mainstream as well as “fake” news sources quickly shape and add validation to our already formed opinions on many important topics. 

A simple post on social media holds the power to cancel lifelong friendships and to sever family ties, regardless of how intimately you knew each other’s heart, values or intentions prior to said post. 

One thing that I can say for sure is that all of us, myself included, have been in situations where we jump to conclusions about a person, a situation or a news article. Like reading a damaging headline, we make an assumption about the subject without ever taking time to uncover all the details contained within. 

For the past 6 months, I have made it a habit to purposely compare the headline of an article, with the article itself just to see how closely the two match. What I have found comes as no surprise as quite often the headline was deceptive. Though the headline captured my attention, the article’s content paled in comparison to the captivating hook at the top of the page.

I bring this up because statistics say that anywhere between 60-80% of all people will only read  the headline before moving on to the next story. If this is even partially true, can you stop for a minute to consider the damage that this behavior is having on our friendships, families and society?

In grade school we are taught to not judge a book by it’s cover, yet as adults, especially as adults on social media, we are doing just that. We judge each other based on race, color, age, gender, religion and political affiliation, just to name a few. And because there is little to no personal consequences for our anonymous comments on various social media outlets and forums, we have lost our integrity, empathy and respect for one another.

In a recent comment to one of my posts, my good friend Chad provided a well thought out definition of PERSPECTIVE. He stated that “PERSPECTIVE is how your personal experiences shape your personal view of the world around you.” He went on to say that “the reality of your “perspective” can actually be true or false as it can be highly influenced by personal experience and indoctrination be it social, political or religious. Our PERSPECTIVE is the driving force behind all of the decisions that we make.”

In my opinion, Chad hit the nail on the head when he stated that “your perspective can actually be TRUE or FALSE…” The problem is that if you are only surrounding yourself by people or news sources that agree with what you already believe to be true, you can become disillusioned into believing that anyone that sees things differently than you is wrong or possibly even evil.

We’ve become a society so ingrained in our own way of thinking or “expertise”, that we fail to challenge our own perspective to validate its truth. If someone has an opinion different than our own, rather than try to seek understanding and in turn politely sharing our own point of view, we’ve become quick to react and in some extreme cases, “cancel” or “unfriend” otherwise good people.

If we, as a society, want to avoid the catastrophic path on which we are currently traveling, change has to begin with us. I propose that we drop our ego and eliminate our need to be right by seeking out the other person’s perspective prior to snapping to judgment or condemnation. Remember, there are always three sides to the story, yours, theirs and the truth. The key is to continue the dialogue and communication until understanding is achieved.

Though you may not change your stance, nor they theirs, by understanding one another’s perspective we can at least stand on the common ground known as mutual respect.

If you got this far, thanks for reading.

Have a great day!

Kevin

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