A regular occurrence in my house is one of us cannot find something that the other thinks “is right in front of your face.” We have discovered the reason for that, a head’s difference in height. Things that are, to me, on “eye level” are not to her. Meanwhile things she sees all the time are hidden by under countertop shelves, overhangs, and the like to me. One of the greatest pieces of advice I give to couples is “realize you are different heights.”
It covers more than just physical altitude. Everything we do is informed by our point of view, where we have stood and what we have seen. What one person sees as normal is totally foreign to someone who grew up on the same street. Different house, different family, different experiences all change how we look at the world.
So often I hear people try to end controversies with “well, I just don’t see things that way” as if that is an answer. My immediate question is “Why not?” What makes your perspective on this different from the other person’s POV? Have you even tried to look at it differently?
If you have made no effort to see things the way other people do, your perspective is only privileged opinion. Privileged because you have been able to get away with living and not having to see things from another point of view. That usually means you come from a group that has some degree of status or power that you can ignore how other people think or feel. Just saying “I wouldn’t feel that way” is meaningless without the context of an entire life.
Unless we make a true and profound effort to see things from the other perspective we have no ground for conversation. We will keep talking past each other. We will keep ignoring those in need. We will keep treating anything not just like us as wrong.
If you cannot see the other person’s point of view…