You can live in a different world by changing how you look at your familiar world.
Raised inner eyebrows and high cheekbones—our brain uses these two signs to decide whether a face is trustworthy. And we decide that in about thirty milliseconds—before we can even recognize whom that face belongs to.
Until very recently, external injury (inflicted by other humans, animals, or nature) was the most common cause of death. As a result, our ancestors defaulted to eyeing their world with suspicion. We thus have a scanner inside our head that constantly sizes people for threat and safety. Several researchers have found that when we look at someone who we think belongs to the “out” group, our amygdala (part of the fear center) activates. This instinct is useful when making quick judgments in an unsafe neighborhood. However, if this software defaults to being always on, then you seldom truly see anyone.
I suggest two potentially healthier alternatives. First, you can look at fellow human beings with an intention to send them a silent good wish (blessing), recognizing that everyone has struggles. No matter how successful or happy a person looks, he or she struggles with inner vulnerability, fear of losses, and regrets about a past action or inaction. You don’t need to know the specifics to send your silent good wish.
Second, you can choose to remember that to someone in the world, the person in front of you is worth trillions of dollars—in other words, he or she is priceless. Recognizing the infinite value of each individual, you honor that person. You look at others with the eyes of the people who admire or adore them the most.
If you can consistently suffuse your eyes with kindness, then each time you see a person, it will seem as if you’re seeing a friend or loved one. This will boost your well-being and connect you with a world that you wouldn’t have otherwise known existed.
You have a choice—to look at the people in the world with suspicion or kindness. If you let your ancestral predisposition stay with you all the time, you’ll look at the world with suspicion. Instead, when you feel safe, choose to look at others with kindness. The more you look at others with kindness, the more kindness you will find. Once you change how you look at your world, you’ll change your world.
May you love the world you live in; may the world you live in love you.
@AmitSoodMD (on Twitter)
Question: Can you live in a different world without changing it?
Answer: You can. Change the way you look at the world and you will live in a different world.
Intention: This week I will look at the world as I want the world to look at my loved ones and friends.