Its interesting that despite living in the same country, same town, even in the same family, we all see life differently and we all experience the world in our own unique way. Why is this? Well our beliefs and expectations of life play a huge part in how we see the world and the people in it. This is what I mean when I talk about our life 'lens'. We each have our own lens through which we interpret the people and the events that happen in our lives, and the shape of this lens is made up of our beliefs and expectations. The really interesting bit is, our expectations in life can themselves shape the events and interactions that we have with others, in such a way that then goes on to further justify these same beliefs and expectations. This is what is known as 'the self fulfilling prophecy',
For example: Think of someone, maybe someone you know, who is very defensive and approaches each interaction ready for a fight. Lets say this person needs to bring faulty goods back to a shop. They may approach the customer service desk with a sour expression and begin talking to the assistant in an aggressive tone. How is the assistant likely to react in such a situation? Chances are that this defensive individual will get just what they expect and the interaction will continue in a challenging manner. This will then further confirm their world view that every interaction is an argument, and that in order to get what they want, they need to approach people aggressively.
Conversely, I'm sure you might know a person who always seems to be in good spirits, who tends to have positive interactions with others and who's view of life is very optimistic. They may live in the same world, but the experience of life for this person as opposed to our aggressive friend above, would be radically different. If the world they are in is the same for both but their experience of it is so polarised then what is the cause? They are looking at life through different lenses i.e. they have differing beliefs and expectations that affect how they interact with the world, and how in turn, the world interacts with them.
While this may sound rather bleak, from another perspective, this is actually really good news. We spent a lot of time wishing that the world could be different and that, if at least some of the people in it would only change, then our lives would be so much easier. However, if our world is shaped by our own beliefs and expectations then maybe a happier world for ourselves is not so unattainable. This way of looking at things puts the ball back in our court; in order to make our world a better place to be, it might be a case of looking at it a little differently or through a different 'lens'.