We can prejudge those we don’t know at all, making assumptions about their personalities, beliefs and private lives before we even meet them. They may be strangers we pass on the street, the lady standing in front of you at the cashier or the kids playing basketball at the park.
We may make assumptions based on gender (Men are like this; women are like that), their clothes, the way they speak or the colour of their skin.
But if we meet someone new with the intention of really getting to know the whole person, we listen when we talk.
We look and listen better and sometimes see things that that person’s oldest friends and family don’t see. Why is that?
We can get stuck seeing each other in shorthand. We might always see one another as we were when we were kids. That’s fine if we are still seeing the best and it brings out the best in both of us, but not so good if it prevents us from seeing our truer complete selves – or if it prevents our relationship from evolving.
Aunts and uncles notice when kids have grown and matured from year to year, but when we stop growing on the outside, our family might assume there’s been no change on the inside.
To see outside of the tight box we have mentally drawn around the people most familiar to us requires time and intention. Look beyond the borders of the box – beyond appearances.
Look and listen for change and growth, and you may surprise one another by seeing someone familiar in a whole new light. You will have spotted the difference.
Coming up: Have you prejudged yourself? Are you stuck in your own box?