While enjoying the holidays I had the opportunity to re-read an excerpt- “Understanding Separate Realities” from one of my favorite books… ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson. Understanding that people have separate realities creates an opportunity to build a relationship with that individual if you’re willing to empathize and learn what makes that individual tic. For example if you have traveled to foreign countries or seen depictions of them in movies, you are aware of vast differences among cultures. The principle of separate realities says that the differences among individuals is every bit as vast.
Richard Carlson states that understanding individuals have separate realities can virtually eliminate quarrels and helps you develop compassion. Why? Because when we expect to see things differently, we take it as a given that others will do things differently and react differently to the same stimuli, the compassion we have for ourselves and for others rises dramatically. The moment we expect otherwise, the potential for conflict exists.
Being interested, without judgment in the way other people choose to live and behave is a strategy geared toward developing your compassion, as well as a way of becoming more patient. When someone acts in a way that seems unusual to you, rather than reacting in your usual way, such as, “I can’t believe they would do that,” instead say something to yourself like I see, that must be the way she/he sees things in their world.
It’s not a matter of merely tolerating differences but truly understanding and honoring the fact that it literally can’t be any other way. -“Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”