A topic as profound, relevant and insightful as this would have been done no justice if it was covered in just one Blog, one burst of thoughts and expressions. Hence, a conscious call to come back with Part – II after letting the first one just stay out there in the world for a few weeks, while I embarked on covering some other interesting topics along the way!
Continuing from where we left off -
We live in our perception of someone’s perception of a perception. Ever wonder what is even true anymore? Our formative years go by in learning good virtues, ideal philosophies, etiquettes and more from the lens of whosoever is in a position to teach/inspire or even influence us, only to grow up and find that most of those things don’t really prepare you to face ‘life’ or the ‘real world’ as they call it. We are made to strive for perfection, to do our best, deliver the most superior product, push the boundaries, only to be later told that what we have done will not work, is ahead of its time, the world isn’t ready since it doesn’t fit their set moulds and fixed perspectives.
It is often not about how we see things, how we perceive things, but rather how we are conditioned to see, hear, feel, absorb and think through things which brings in the difference in viewpoints. Take for instance a very routine, common and maybe even nostalgic example of the last serving of your toothpaste. Often mocked and tagged as a middle-class tactic of “vasooli” wherein one squeezes the last drop of the paste and doesn’t let it go to waste – signaling frugality or even miserly behaviour; while the same is lauded when an upper-society or corporate set-up talks about “optimum utilization of resources” or “sweating the assets till the last penny.” Not just that, this class of people are the hypocritical species that get decked up and fight for animal and human rights at posh locations but enjoy calling their subordinates as ‘resources’ that need to be tapped, made use of, leveraged and derived values out of. It is all about the packaging, the narrative and the person controlling the narrative that dictates the perspective we attach to something.
I recently did an extensive course on Storytelling and Communicating with Impact. The course too revolves around how much of an impact empathy and perspective play in influencing the opposite person. A section of the course suggested – ‘people like people like them.’ We are naturally more comfortable with people who are like us. With people who are different than us, we are usually more wary, cautious and skeptical – after all we are tribal. However, by the same virtue of being tribal and naturally having cohesiveness with like minds, we unconsciously submit to groupthink. We gradually but steadily start conforming to a single viewpoint and whenever any new viewpoint of or frame o reference tends to threaten our comfort zone or set patterns, we immediately start throwing resistance in its path, failing to realize that a different standpoint which set us apart from another group was what gave us our individuality and uniqueness in the first place and a new one is the inly way we can expect ourselves to evolve with and thereby evading possibilities of losing out, losing relevance and eventually phasing out.
When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at - change!
Another area of deep significance that I have been closely observing off-late is that of love languages, which if loosely described is to mean – how a person loves another person and how it differs from someone else’s way of doing the same. We are often underwhelmed, let down, disappointed and even shattered when we don’t receive the same amount of love and reciprocation from someone we love and hold close and even if we do, at times its not in the exact form that we desire to receive it. This, is increasingly becoming a pandemic of broken hearts, hurt feelings, deluge of tears and mismatched expectations – since just as we are all different from each other, so are our love languages. Some express love through words, cards, song and dance, loud gestures, while some cover you with a blanket at night, finish your chores while you’re asleep/away and kiss you goodnight without uttering a word. Some have a burning desire to be in close proximity and regard the human touch as an essential, while others would rather prefer to be kept at an arm’s length and loved while they have their safe space. For some it is about spending every waking minute together, while some others just want 5-10 minutes of your time through the day. Is any one of these ways right or wrong, better or worse? Not really, they are just different ways and approaches to love, shaped by our conditioning, world views and perspectives on what it mean to love and be loved.
Jay Shetty, has had a very strong impact on my life for quite a few years no that I have been following him and learning from him. Very recently as past of his book launch/tour he said something very deep, which again highlights the power of perspectives in the way we love. Paraphrasing him, he says – “we think the greatest act of love is to give love, share love, feel love. But actually, the greatest act of love is loving someone so much that they learn to love themselves.” For the longest time I have believed that to love someone, or to make them feel loved, or to make them believe that you love them, the entire onus is on you, it is a constant gamut of words, gestures, actions, but hey, isn’t it also a reality that you cannot make someone feel loved who doesn’t love themselves in the first place! So, it all boils down to loving someone so unconditionally, purely and deeply, that they start to fall in love with their own selves, with their flaws, imperfections and peculiarities, which in turn would improve with time too, as the other harsh reality of life is that no one changes for others, they only change for themselves. This change itself finds its roots in loving yourself! So entangled, yet so intuitive and exactly why so impactful!
We love to proclaim that there’s unity in diversity, but when it comes to actually encounter and engage with this diversity, we tend to take 10 steps back and slip back into our shells. Its been an age old practice of painting everything either black or white, ironically not being willing to accept that life is not binary but rather a sea of grey with just splashes of white and black spattered here and there (more on this in an upcoming blog). Thus, it is a matter of paramount importance that just as we have started keeping a margin of safety in our trades, a room for error in our projects and tolerance limit in our estimates, we keep a buffer or spare capacity for other people’s mindsets, philosophies, values and perspectives, to all grow together instead of stifling our growth by wishing to grow at the expense of trampling over another.
Try and be more receptive, more empathetic, less judgmental, open up your minds to other perspectives, love languages. Feel free to reach out, speak up and connect, but above all, Be Kind!