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Color My World


Not that I’m being nosey, well, maybe sometimes I am, but I am absolutely mesmerized by listening to people as they talk with one another or to me. Obviously, it’s impossible for me to ascertain what is occurring in their minds, so I’m left to formulate that whatever is in their minds at that moment, is what may guide or steer that particular conversation. Something I’ve learned in my years of counseling and being a mentor, is that I must be very intentional when talking to someone, that I listen to what is being said, and just as important, to what is not being said. Active listening some folks may call it, but it’s the keen ability to listen deeply to someone and not just hear them. At times Active listening requires utilizing many of the other human senses to learn more about them. Like the cologne they have on, are they right or left handed, what are some repetitive words and phrases they use, and of course, asking the right questions. All this information goes a long way into understanding people and their situations so much better.

What I want to zone in on today is something that isn’t so easily realized and that is perspective. Better said, how people view or identify with things given a part or a whole of a subject, whether it is fact or fiction, but none the less, we make a decision on what we want to believe it to be. This choice we make is called perspective. Websters Dictionary defines it as “the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance”. Or, the way someone sees the things that occur, effect, or involve them, and then make an assessment, and move forward with that decision. I say that because perspective is a decision after all, and like any decision, can be changed.

 The way people choose to see things directly impacts how they will respond to it. Put into everyday terms, your perspective determines how the rest of your day goes. Whether moment by moment, day to day, or longer, your choice of perspective guides you to operate from that belief. My point is that if that original thought is negative, more than likely your behavior will lean in on the negative bent. The opposite is true of course, if you choose to see something as positive, then you will lean into the positive side. In essence, perspective is a major force that regulates your behavior, mood, and yes, words one chooses to converse with. It seems that we should consider our perspectives are due for a healthy checkup and see where we may stand on certain things.

Now that we have familiarized ourselves as to what perspective is. Wouldn’t it be nice to have alternative perspective choices when we cross situations that require us to form a perspective or maybe even getting the opportunity to amend or change our perspective. What this presents is an open door to someone else’s world, their thinking, how and why they make the choices they make to be able to have a perspective about something. In the work that I do with men, I can say that this enables me to better connect with a person so that our relationship can grow and get stronger due to that understanding. At times, knowing why someone questions my perspective is very helpful to keep me on my toes because I can be challenged for my perspective and at given time. I have to also say that if someone’s viewpoint sounds and feels better than mine, I gladly adapt to theirs. This is beneficial because it gives us a new insight, slices away at our selfishness, and opens our mind to greater worlds of ideas and suggestions.

If this is true, then why is it so difficult for us to see it up front? Why do we have to first try to help someone see our point of view and halfway listen to understand theirs? Why is there a resistance wall that rises when a man hears something other than his opinion? I believe it is due to a very small but very important trait and that is listening. Men do not have a strong ally in their listening skills as time has proven  time and time again. If you don’t believe me, ask most women, especially wives. Ask them if they feel like their husbands rarely listen to them. It’s true! Men have a terrible time listening to what’s being said instead of hearing or perceiving something totally different. This isn’t a rarity nor an anomaly just pure old fashion listening skills. Better said, the lack of them.  Why is it such a big deal to listen attentively? Well, because most of the conflict men face can be pretty much eliminated, or at the very least, made to sting less. We guys may say, “I am very open minded and invite new ideas from anyone that wants to share them with me”. Actually, we may say this but we’re not really that open minded or that inviting of new thoughts or concepts. We want to appear and gesture like we are, but deep inside any open door opens only slightly and not for long periods of time. The imbalance here is that we like to admit we have an open door policy but we will not admit that it is limited. What this causes is the loss of extremely beneficial information that, if we allowed, could make us better people. When and if we did this, our entire perspective of most things would improve for the better, we could have better mental health, and our relational values would be impacted greatly. In essence, we would be happier, more motivated, and have more to contribute in social circles.

So…going back to how my perceptions color my world, well you get the idea as we walked through the examples I spoke to. What you do with the information and how you allow it to grow you or not, there is no denying that how we see things will place us on a specific path of definition and living. We can choose the right path or the left path, it doesn’t matter. What really matters is how my beliefs provide for my quality of life. If I recognize one thing, it’s that when a man comes across something where he is faced with challenges in dealing with it, he will tag it, place it in his back pocket, and then pull it out at the next opportunity to express his views on it. It is his final viewpoint, or perception of it, that will color his world and dictate a positive or negative response. Someone said, “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at often change.” It’s a good saying I believe and perhaps we need some of that color in our lives.

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