The Eyes Have It

Earlier this week I wrote a short post about seeing things and situations through other peoples’ eyes, and I’ve gotten lots of responses about this concept. Today, I want to share a little bit more about the impact of seeing things through other peoples’ eyes.

It’s really this simple – when I only see things through my eyes, the outcome is typically judgment. I judge the person, the situation or the people involved in the situation. It’s virtually inevitable.

However, when I choose to see things through other peoples’ eyes and therefore seek to understand (more than to know), the outcome is typically compassion. I assess, discern and understand, rather than judge.

You can apply this to pretty much any situation – personal and professional, simple and complex. Let’s start with a simple situation. When someone cuts me off in traffic, if I see it only through my eyes I’ll likely get angry and conclude that the other person is either a bad driver or a bad person. However, if I acknowledge that I don’t know what they were thinking, then I’m more likely to consider that the other driver has something going on with them that contributed to their erratic driving. Compassion rather than judgment.

In a more complex and work situation, consider the reaction of your boss when they get angry at not knowing the status of a situation. While anger may not be the best response, if I see it only through my eyes, I’ll likely start making judgments about my boss (e.g. they’re a jerk, they’re unreasonable, etc.). However, if I consider their perspective and their eyes, I’m more likely to consider different conclusions (e.g. they don’t like being surprised, they don’t like feeling foolish, etc.).

If you limit yourself to your eyes only (and your perspectives), you’ll live with a narrow view of the world and you’ll spend most of your time judging people and situations (and rarely positively). When you instead choose to allow for and consider for how other people may see things, you come from a place of compassion and understanding. And this approach will nearly always open the door to better communication with everyone involved, as well as improving the relationships.

Make no mistake about it – whether you limit yourself to your eyes (and perspectives) or open yourself up to other peoples’ eyes (and perspectives) is a choice. And your choice will change everything about the interaction and your response. Most certainly, the eyes have it when it comes to judgment versus compassion.

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