When I am preaching or speaking at a conference, I will occasionally take my glasses off to read my notes. It usually throws people off because most of them either wear glasses to be able to read or assume that is why most people wear glasses. For me, I can read just fine. I have better than 20/20 vision up close. My need for glasses has to do with distance. This is called being nearsighted when things at a distance get blurry. Farsightedness is the opposite.
About 15 years ago I began to notice I was having problems reading signs while driving. When it was dark and raining it was even more difficult. At the time I was traveling a lot and knew I needed to address the problem. My optometrist prescribed glasses to correct the issue. It makes my life much easier being able to see things at a distance.
How we see things in life can also be distorted. There are times we cannot see things as we should. People are constantly wondering why other people do not see things the way they see them. We reference things like “I see it like this” or “from my perspective”. It seems so clear to us why our point of view is the right one and we cannot understand why others cannot see it that way. It would help us to understand that everyone sees things differently and for different reasons. It is also helpful if we could be a little more self-aware and understand when it is us that sees things a little blurry.
Since I started this conversation about wearing glasses and when they are needed, let’s apply that to how it affects life and people’s points of view.
Statistics say that well over 50% of people wear some sort of corrective lenses; a few are as high as 75%. Some people wear them because they enhance their personal style while others prefer to hide it with contacts lenses. That leaves a minority percentage of people who are not using corrective lenses. It does not mean they do not need it, it just means they are not using them. The overwhelming majority of this group are young people. The reason is because our vision changes as we get older.
The same is true in life. The overwhelming majority of people probably need to adjust their outlook slightly because they do not realize the toll time has taken on their point of view. It has been said that we are the sum of all of our experiences until this point. We are usually unaware of how something that happened to us 10 years ago affects our ability to see things correctly today. It is possible you need to make no correction to the way you see things, but it is rare.
I have used transition lenses for years. Inside they are regular glasses and in the sun they darken. When I got new glasses recently I decided I wanted a pair of prescription sunglasses. I actually got what they call “drivewear” which brightens objects even though it blocks the sun. I was wearing them one day and forgot to bring my regular pair of glasses. I went into Walmart forgetting that I only had on my sunglasses. I didn’t notice at first but I did keep noticing people looking at me. That’s when I realized I was walking around in the store looking like I was trying to hide a hangover. Others noticed it before I did.
I think there are times when we our thinking is clouded and we do not even realize it. It is usually easier for people on the outside to see how poorly our viewpoint is clouded or distorted. I think all of us have had the experience of making some irrational choice. It may have been because of our attachment in a relationship or it could have been out of desperation from a situation we had created. Either way, understanding when our judgment is compromised can be beneficial to us as well as understanding that others may see it before we do.
Even though the majority of people use some type of corrective lens, there are many different types of corrective lenses. My wife and I use completely different corrections. She is farsighted and needs glasses to read while I need mine to see at a distance. If we exchange glasses, neither of us can see clearly. What is needed to help her is different than what I need. Even people with the same struggles do not need the same amount of correction. Each person has different needs.
This may be the most difficult part of life views. We know what helped us to see things better and we often think that the same prescription will fix everyone. That is most likely not the case. What helped you may make things worse for someone else. We all want simple fixes and mass adjustments but that just does not work. We need to understand that the correction other people need may look completely different than the correction we need.
There are so many other things that affect our point of view. Things like angle and distance change for every single situation. There are two things that can help all of us. One, most of us probably need some correction. Two, we may not ever see things exactly the same way. Understanding these things will allow all of us to live a little more peacefully in this world.