Let me share a recent situation to illustrate this. A young college gal, who was feeling very sad at the time, came to talk with me. After she settled in, I gently asked her what's going on, and then patiently waited in silence for her reply. I find some conversations just can't be rushed. After some time, she said "all my friends are leaving me".
After few moments of again silence, respecting what she shared and reflecting on it, I asked if I can ask a question. Upon permission, I asked "Is it that your friends are leaving you, or is it that they are leaving?" After some exploration, it turns out what she really meant was that they are leaving, moving out of town, changing colleges, graduating and moving on. This was a critical distinction to explore with her, to understand for myself as well as for her own sake, as to whether she felt they were leaving or if she saw it as them leaving her. This was important for each frame of reference implied very different thought patterns and would lead to then different explorations to help her through it.
Moving forward, though she logically understood them moving on, she was still very sad for she felt once they left, they are gone forever and she'll have to make new friends. In addition, she wondered what's the point for if she makes new friends they too will leave one day.
After few more moments of silence again, I further inquired by asking: How is it that by them moving that the friendship can not continue? Is it not possible that by your friends moving, rather then your circle getting smaller and you being alone, your circle of friends and professional contacts is actually getting bigger and you'll have more places to visit and to turn to? For as they make new connections and you maintain the friendships, then your circle of friends can actually get even larger?
As she reflected on this, after some time, a smile emerged. As she came to this realization, her mind started turning as she thought about the various places she could now visit, and develop even more friendships. Finally she left feeling joyful, feeling light, and filled with new possibilities. All as a result of simply seeing the situation through a new lens, seeing it differently then what she at first saw it as.
So getting back to the question "Is what you see really what you see?" next time you see something, ask yourself if what you're seeing is really so. Consider exploring different possibilities, seeing it from multiple angles. And then see what new possibilities emerge for you. As you did this, in what ways do you think this could ultimately impact you? Can you think of a recent situation in your own life where what you saw was really not what you thought you saw? And once you shifted your perspective and saw it differently, everything from that new seeing led to different thought patterns and ultimately different outcomes?