Do you have the best seat in the house?
Imagine you are at a concert of your favorite band or singer…. You have priority seating that is raised, about 20 feet from the stage and your seats are right in the center. You can see the performer perfectly and see every move they make. They are dancing and moving around the stage and you can sit back and enjoy it all.
Sounds perfect? What could be better?
So, with this seat, do you have the BEST seat in the house?
Now imagine your friend at the same concert. They bought their tickets late and there was only obstructed view seats available and they are sitting in back and to the left of the stage. They wanted to see the group so they bought the tickets and now they are looking around a pole that is helping to hold up the stage. Their view, if you can call it a view, is of some bobbing heads that come in and out of sight depending on the way they hold their head and look around the pole.
Are you both at the some concert? The music is clear and loud from your seats and your friend hears the music, but it is a bit muffled as it bounces off of the venue’s walls. Are you both hearing the same thing?
Yes, you are both at the same concert, but your experiences are going to be very different. Tomorrow you are going to talk about the performers moves, facial expressions and the clear quality of the vocals. Your friend will talk about how great it was to be at the concert, to see and hear the group and how much fun they had with their friends.
Same concert, different experience. Neither of you consider the other right or wrong as you describe your experience.
Let’s take this idea a step further.
You and the same friend are at a party. An acquaintance comes over and starts talking and pokes fun at your friend for an interchange they had with your friend last month. You and your acquaintance start laughing and your friend becomes visibly upset and walks away… You think, whats the big deal….?
The deal is your view… Your seat.
So how do we define our seat when it relates to a more personal experience? We can relate our seat as our perspective and our experience. And therefore your friend relates their seat to their perspective and experience.
You know that the interchange with the third party last month was related to a recent breakup you had that has been painful – and your friend who is with you tonight, knows nothing about the exchange last month and just found the comment your acquaintance made amusing…
You take it as an insult and immediately feel that your friend is being insensitive and making fun of you. You are making the assumption that your friend is in your seat. They are hearing the same words, like the music at the concert, but their view and experience are actually different.
It doesn’t matter if we have the best seat in the house – because our seat is only one of many seats in the house!
We get into trouble when we ASSUME that people in our lives are sitting in our seat. They usually are not, our seat is built by our experiences and only we have lived those experiences and others seat’s are built by their experiences.
Next time you are in a situation when you and another person are experiencing an event differently , remember, you don’t have the only seat in the house!
Get up and move backstage to the obstructed view for a few songs and try to understand the interaction from their point of view. No one can see the whole stage from their seat, everyones view is limited in some way. So move around and jump seats!
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