Updated: Mar 26, 2021
The only perceptions we can change are our own. They are based on our past experiences, feelings, and thoughts. We cannot change what has already happened, but we can adjust the angle, direction, or point of view in which we look at it. We can alter our perspective in order to change our perception.
Perspective is the way we look at or consider a matter. This is an abstract idea for many. An activity used to guide the understanding of this concept is photography. We have all seen the pictures of people "holding up" the leaning Tower of Pisa or the Rabbit-Duck illusion. When we alter the angle in which we take a picture or look at it from another direction, we change what we see.
Photography can help us visualize how someone's position, stance, or attitude can drastically impact their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. But life isn't as simple as taking a picture or looking at a tangible image. It is more complicated, with many intersecting factors creating a perspective.
When we alter our perspective it helps us to better understand, connect, and perceive another person's experience. We can use our time, privilege, and power to educate ourselves and build more empathy towards others. We can use our time to read a book about or speak to people who have a different outlook on life than us. We can seek to understand our own privilege or use our privilege to educate ourselves on other points of view. All of us have the ability to do something or act in a particular way to influence an outcome we wish to see. We have the power to be more aware and empathetic.
We all have a story, a viewpoint which is created from our life experiences. In order to understand how someone feels we make the conscious effort to speak to them, listen to what they say, and look at what is occurring from their perspective. This is how we as a society strive for inclusion; by connecting with people who experience life differently than us. Altering our perspective changes our perception and allows us to live more aware of and open to the feelings and opinions of others. To be accepting and appreciative of attitudes and beliefs which differ from our own. Inclusion is a mindset, and it begins with the awareness of perspectives different from our own and caring about the way situations impact other people.