About perspectives and stories

About perspectives and stories
(19 December 2019)

The way we perceive the world creates our world. There is an objective view and a subjective view. The objective one is considered to be based on facts, analytical and shared by everyone. The subjective one is considered to belong only to ourselves, it’s the one that generates feelings and it’s influenced by feelings. We use this dualistic distinction to create and navigate our lives, while trying to keep them in balance.

Sometimes, we struggle understanding which of the perspectives is the right one. We struggle because of the strong emotions we have towards a situation or a person in our life. It is often something that hurt us, something that was unfair, that damaged our self-image and the trust we have in ourselves. But we don’t want to let the past dictate our future, so we try to understand it objectively. Sometimes we fail. Sometimes, we feel a strong knock-back in our attempt to clarify the past. We feel fear, hatred, unfairness, disgust.

In order to overcome this, we first need to understand our subjective perspective. If we observe carefully, we can see that whenever we look at our past, the image of ourselves appears in our mind and triggers powerful emotions. As long as we are related to that specific situation or person, we cannot see it objectively. So we can stop fighting against ourselves, because there is no way we can win this fight.

If we understand this, then we can take a different approach. Instead of looking at our past, we can look at “the past”. Instead of remembering what happened to us, we can think of what happened to someone, a “someone” which we are not. Not only that we are not that “someone”, but we don’t even know that person. All we know is that she was similar to us. We can try to guess how that person might have felt, all the anger, unfairness and disgust, but we will never know for sure, because that person it is not us. Our stories are completely different. We don’t choose them to be different, they simply are.

When we can see this, we will have two stories, one subjective and one objective. They will be similar, but not the same. Then we can ask ourselves: Which one is true? Which one is real?
The truth is that there are two stories. We can choose which one we like to tell our friends, but there will always be two stories, similar, but not the same, sometimes radically different. We cannot change this fact, but we can learn from both of them. The truth is that there are two stories, one is ours and the other is not. Our whole life unfolds like this. This keeps us evolving.

 

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.

— Heraclitus

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