Our adventures and personal experience colour every facet of our lives. How I view events, people, situations and places must be different to the way you view them.
I am still surprised at the differences between the account of my brother, my sister and me when we recall childhood events and their impact. Occurrences that are huge in their memories are minor in mine, even though I was present - and of course the opposite is also true.
Who am I? Who are you in relation to others in your family? As the middle child of three children, my life was obviously different to those of my brother and sister. Our personalities are different, our experiences are different.
My view of life is absolutely shaped by a million conversations my brother and sister were not present to hear, as well as fortunate meetings, happy events and disappointments I experienced when they were not around.
I can see life accurately only through my own eyes, not my mother's, my father's, my brother's or my sister's. I can practise seeing part of myself in everyone I meet. I can appreciate, but never fully understand, the complexities that have shaped others. The only person I can work on is myself.
Who am I in terms of being a neighbour, a work colleague, a lover, a friend? I wear different disguises. I wear different masks for all these people. I even wear masks for myself when my ego sidles up to greet me.
Every event and conversation I have is coloured by who I am and my values. I attempt to have a clear perspective. I attempt not to judge. I attempt to weigh the pros and cons and let the facts speak their truth.
The only way I have found a reasonable path through this dilemma is to listen, question, and listen some more.
I work at not hurrying to provide answers. I am a sounding board for others, I have decided, and more and more I realise the person talking has his or her own answers. They just haven't identified them yet!
“We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
Anais Nin (French born American Author of novels and short stories, 1903-1977)
My sister Heather, me and my brother Peter in 1970.
My family - March 2005