What do you see in this picture at first glance?
A mother trying to pick up her baby or an angry mother scolding her baby?
This was the topic of discussion between my friend and I this morning. I was brainstorming about an awesome topic for my site and we started searching for relevant images. I came across this one and sent her the link with the comment "This makes me so sad."
Her response, "What does? The bear?"
"Yes, it looks like the baby bear is getting yelled at and has disappointed his mama."
"I thought it was a momma bear going to pick up her baby!"
We were looking at the same exact photo and had two totally different emotional responses. We then both went back to it and were able to see what the other saw. For me it was the aggressive teeth. For her it was the kind eyes and relaxed jaw.
Then it hit me, how many times have we looked at the same photo, email or situation and interpreted it in completely different ways? Our snap judgement creates the knee jerk reaction, but if we can pull back and ask what the other sees, we can open up the dialogue and better understand one another.
We spent ten minutes discussing this photo and where we were coming from - not to convince the other to change their mind, but to broaden our horizon of curiosity.