My Worldview: It’s What I Make It Mean!
Sometimes a quote comes along and just smacks me upside the head. That happened recently when I read this quote from Richard Rohr, “Most of us do not see things as they are; we see things as we are.”
I think this is profound, because it quickly and simply captures most people’s worldview.
In other words, we really don’t see things as they are, we simply see the world and everything in it as a reflection of ourselves.
Worldview: Lenses of Perception
How we see ourselves, is based on the lenses in which we view the world. These lenses of perception form very early in life. It starts when we are born and continues the rest of our lives. Hopefully, our worldview changes as we move through the various stages of development. For example, our worldview at age two should be dramatically different than our worldview at age fifty-two.
Our lenses get shaped by our gender, race, religion, education, family of origin, and various life experiences.
Which may explain why there is such diversity in what each of us believes to be the truth. We need to understand that our truth isn’t what we see, as much as it is the meaning we apply to that object.
The meaning I apply to a statue is based on my lenses and how I want to see it and what I want to make it mean. Expecting others to believe exactly what I believe or apply the exact same meaning to that statue is simply absurd!
The problem is when we fail to realize our that views don’t make us right, nor do they make everyone else wrong. It simply makes us different!
The Problem That Divides
We face all kinds of problems and opposition when we refuse to understand anyone else’s perspective.
When we fail to accept the reality that someone else has different lenses, we are simply being arrogant, close-minded and legal-istically blind.
The paradox here is that we are saying respect me and listen to my worldview, but I refuse to listen to your worldview or give you the same level of respect I am demanding of you! At that point we have an integrity issue.
Why? Because who we are being when we demand others hear us, is not who we are being when we need to shut up and listen to others.
This is no different than being the out-of-control, drunk person at happy hour on Friday night, and then posing as the good little Christian in the church pew on Sunday.
Are we so blind and so self-centered that we must exclude, condemn, and label others the enemy if someone doesn’t see the world our way?
We have become a nation of individuals divided within ourselves and each other.
Maybe it is time to heal?
It’s Our Problem
We cannot expect the leaders in Washington, the media, the church, or any other institution to fix OUR issue. That is analogous to asking a newborn baby to feed, clothe, and provide for themselves. They’re simply incapable.
Besides, it’s not their problem, IT IS OURS! We must fix it if we are ever going to stop this insanity.
It begins when we examine our lenses and how we choose to see the world, our worldview. It begins when we start seeing the world as it is, instead of a self-centered reflection of ourselves through our misshaped or unclear lenses.
3 Ideas to Heal the Divisions
Below is a list of 3 actions you can take to start reshaping your lenses of perception and begin the healing process within yourself and others:
- Stop Watching the News. It doesn’t matter if you watch CNN or Fox News, just stop watching for 30 days. By watching your news channel, you are simply confirming and justifying what you already believe. That will not facilitate change or the opening to others’ views. The content and the ads are geared to a specific audience who must hold the same worldview, otherwise no one watches. If this is impossible to do, maybe you could just own the truth that you want to watch news that aligns with how you want to see the world!
- Stop Defending Yourself – We can all fall into the trap where we feel we must defend our beliefs. It is exactly that…a trap! This mindset does not promote growth, self-development or put forward solutions. It simply promotes divisiveness. Besides, if you are constantly defending your beliefs, who are you really trying to convince? Yourself or the other person? Is it possible that your need to prove to others that you’re right, is really about you? If you were genuinely confident in yourself and what you believed, you would have no need to convince anybody of anything!
- Seek First to Understand Others – What if, instead of trying to prove that your beliefs and your worldview is the right one, you first sought to understand why someone believes what they believe? What if, instead of seeking to be understood, you first sought to understand the other person and their worldview? This requires a wise, mature, secure, and confidant person. Which is exactly what you’re trying to prove to others when your bashing your perceived enemy to prove your right. Obviously that isn’t working!
In the end, you can create your worldview to be anything you want it to be.
The way I see it, you have two choices: A.) You can create a worldview that divides and stays focused on the problem. B.) You can create a worldview that is inclusive and focuses on finding solutions.
We will never find solutions to these complex issues by being divided. It will only happen if all we are willing to open ourselves up to the possibility that we are all a little blind and our lenses are all a little bit smudged!
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