Other people do not have the same reality as you do. They have different beliefs about the way the world is. Those beliefs affect their perception of the world. The world looks and feels different to them. They literally live in a different world than you do.
This became utterly apparent when I was doing a family therapy session last week. A father and son had very different realities indeed. They both spent most of the session trying to get the other to see that his reality is the correct one. They both tried to win the other over to their world. I spent most of the session trying to get each of them to understand the other's reality.
Fighting about whose reality is more valid has likely caused more wars, divorces, and destruction than anything else on the planet. It creates separation. The stronger often gets to declare their reality as supreme. But is it really? It is not just another perception of the way the world is- no better or no worse than any other?
To understand another person's reality, you first have to realize that it is different than yours. That human being had different life experiences. They have different belief systems about the world. The same experience may look very different to them than it does you.
You then have to accept that your reality is not more true or correct than theirs. Each are equally valid. Once you do this, you can find inroads to share in each others' reality. You can go into their world and share their reality with them.
If you hang out in each others' realities long enough, you can also create a shared reality. You then have your world, their world, and your world together. Together, you can spend your Sunday afternoon going in and out of all three of these worlds.
So rather than fighting about whose reality is right, why not spend a little time understanding what their reality is like? It's a lot more fun hanging out with someone together in the same world.
About the Author
I, Michael Hoffman, am a licensed psychotherapist, teacher, and author with 25 years experience in counseling and teaching experiential workshops. I have maintained this blog since 2009, and my second book Natural Way of Being will published in 2019.
I offer in-person and video-conferencing counseling, intensive workshops, and online courses to allow participants to directly experience their natural way of being and the life they would have for themselves.