What lens do you use when you look at the world?

Is it a 35mm – where everything is pretty much a “normal” proportion? Is it a micro-lens, magnifying the small details? Or is it a wide-angle lens, taking in the big picture?

Just as different camera lenses capture completely different images, so too do our own eyes. We each inevitably look through a lens created by our upbringing, our society and culture, our education and our past experiences. Conflicts throughout history, conflicts between countries, and conflicts between people, take root in the lens through which we see ourselves, and each other.

My mentor once told me that our innermost being is the “essential” person that is surrounded by the “wounded” person, while the outermost part is the “defended” person. Whenever a person speaks in a defensive way they are protecting the wounded person, so their defensiveness gives us clues to the nature of their wounds. When they speak in a non-defensive way, they are speaking from their essential nature.

I think our wounds and our defensive layers are a consequence of looking through a micro-lens. This prevents us from seeing the people and situation for what they really are.

If we can widen our lens might we discern what is defensive from what is not? Can looking through a new lens help us distinguish between a person’s wounds, and their essential nature? How might non-defensive communication better our lives?

Photo credits:

Photographer Andre Rival www.andrerival.com

Makeup artist Winston Torr www.TORRup.com