Don recently posted a piece on a different perspective, from an artist’s point of view. He wrote about using art to help ourselves think outside of the box, and how beneficial that can be for all of us, expanding the way we see the world and helping new ideas to bloom in our brains.
His post got me thinking, and not just about how a new approach to art can help us view the world more creatively (although I cannot agree with that enough). I started wondering about perspective applied to everyday events, a sort of twist on the glass half-empty/half-full idea inspired by Don’s example of drawing a glass from different angles. We have the choice to approach everything that happens to us from our own perspective, a glass half-full, glass half-empty or I sure am glad to have a glass of water! way of thinking. The trickier thing is seeing something from another’s point of view.
A Different Perspective
I probably fall into the last of the aforementioned categories, but what if I was someone who naturally just saw the glass as half-empty? How would I be different? How would that affect my everyday life, my interactions, my choices? I’m not saying we should all decide to forget about optimism or positive living.
When we try to see from someone else’s perspective, though, we not only open our minds to their point of view, we allow our emotions to try and understand where they might be coming from. To empathize. To perhaps judge less. In fact, seeing from a different perspective may wind up reinforcing our own, just as knowing an opponent’s reasoning during a debate can help strengthen your own arguments.
Even if we end up reaffirming our own perspective and life choices, by trying to understand someone else’s perspective we can expand our horizons and think outside of the box of our own mind. We can see the people around us as fellow human beings, with all the complex reasons and emotions that we ourselves have. And sometimes, when we try to see with another’s eyes, or walk in another’s shoes, we end up learning something for ourselves, something unexpected that we did not anticipate. We all have set ways of thinking, just as Don pointed out.
Our brains think they know what to expect, and prepare us to react the way we always have. By trying to see from another’s point of view, we shake this up, force our brains to consider a new way, another way. It may open us to a whole world of possibilities, or we may examine the new information and say nahhh, but either way, we have expanded our thinking and opened our minds.
Realizing The Importance of A Different Perspective
Coming back to art again, I have a very artsy example of how a different perspective can truly make us more aware and understanding of others. I recently visited my city’s art museum with my family, and at one point we all stood sort of dumbfounded in front of a wall in the Modern section of the gallery.
Finally, someone voiced what we were all wondering, “How is that art?” The guard standing by smiled and asked us, “Is there anything in your life you love that might seem strange to others?” And guess what? All of us could think of something.
In my case, it was certain music that moves me tremendously, even though I know that to many other listeners that same music would sound like nothing but a bunch of noise. And there are people who loved the art we were all staring at. It may not have moved us, but to them, it was art and they loved it. Our opinion of the work itself may not have changed after this conversation, but we all certainly felt that we were seeing the art with new eyes, eyes that could acknowledge another’s choices, another’s views, and another’s perspective with understanding and respect.