The end of my nose isn’t too far from me. I’m quite pleased about that. However, I do try and look beyond it pretty much all the time (I go cross-eyed if I don’t). It worries me that so many people, especially people in positions of authority, seem not to even try.
That which is obvious to me may not even be visible to you, because my life has furnished me with different experiences to yours. This is good. It would be the most terribly dull world if we were all exactly the same. But to live in a world where we are all different means that we all need to try and see things from a perspective other than that of looking down our own noses and stopping at the end of them.
I don’t want to walk a mile in your boots, I do want to be able to imagine what it would be like to do so. Even if I did walk a mile in your boots my experience would be different from yours because I am not you. But I have a good imagination, I would probably do a better job of imagining than I would of fitting into your boots.
What is needed are empathy and understanding, to put ourselves in the position of someone other than who we wake up to be every day. It isn’t always easy. I struggle to understand people who lack empathy, and to be brutally honest, it’s hard to see why I should empathise with them, but I try. I think I achieve a limited success. I can see they are damaged individuals, and to a certain extent I feel sorry for them, but not very because of all the pain they cause other people as they trample on feelings and manipulate and abuse their way through their lives.
The other problem with not looking beyond the end of your nose is that you can’t see the bigger picture. For some people this must seem wonderful, they can focus on one little detail and build their world around that. These kinds of people seem to delude themselves into thinking that this makes them feel safe. I can’t see that it does, because lurking in the background of their consciousness is the awareness that they are ignoring most of the world. I would expect this to make them feel very scared and insecure.
Then there are all the people who think they see the bigger picture when they don’t. They are looking from a particular perspective that means that much of what happens is blocked from their view. People like these will often try and belittle you and influence you to compromise your morals, because they believe the bigger picture is more important than you. This is not true.
The bigger picture is stitched together from all of us, all of our behaviour, all of our lives. Each one of us makes a unique and important contribution to the bigger picture. This is where Gandhi’s saying that “you have to be the change you want to see” makes perfect sense.
So, be proud of the end of your nose, it is an important place… and then look beyond it. 🙂