Not only beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So are many social characteristics, such as usefulness, helpfulness (I wrote about that a couple of weeks ago), and even “social” itself! Often, we may have an opinion of how we’re doing socially, yet it’s others (the “beholders”) who determine whether or not we’re successful.
The key to understanding this is in accepting that we each have our own unique CONTEXT, made up of our own experiences and how we feel about them, our knowledge, interests, abilities, personality, and more. Our unique individual CONTEXT becomes the “lens” through which we behold all of life. We make judgments about other people and situations based on our own CONTEXT. This is the basis of my educational tool, “The Social Response Pyramid™.”
It’s important to understand this, for two reasons. First, we need to identify and appreciate—and work to meet-- the expectations that others have for us. Those “beholders” will help determine our success! Second, we need to understand that others’ unique CONTEXTS may color the way they perceive and interact with us, and as we remind ourselves that our social success is “in the eye of the beholder,” we can be more gentle with ourselves and others as we consider the meaning of social success.
I hope we can all be “gentle beholders” as we consider the beauty, usefulness, helpfulness, and social success of ourselves and others this week!