What color is this dress?
It's the photo that went mega-viral last week.
The first time I saw it online, I could clearly see that it was white and gold. I wondered what all the fuss was about. Later, I pulled the photo up on my ipad, and I realized it was DEFINITELY periwinkle blue and black.
I asked my husband, Tom, to look at it.
"White and gold," he declared.
"Nope!" I said. "Guess again."
And then we argued about it, just like millions of people did all around the world.
I texted the photo to my friend Priscilla, who said it was white and gold.
And then a moment later, she looked back at the picture.....
Turns out, it's all about how our brains are interpreting the light coming into our brains.
We are all seeing the same thing, but our minds are interpreting the information in different ways. Some see a white dress that is "obviously" in some kind of shadow, while others see a blue dress that is being illuminated brightly. Both interpretations are accounting for the colors we think we see. We've taken the data and subconsciously put it through our own filters to decide the color of the dress.
It made me think about other situations, where two people can see or experience the same thing, and come away with completely different memories about what happened.
Like how sometimes, my husband and I will reach opposite conclusions at the end of a conversation.
Or how our country can be so deeply divided over political issues that seem so "obvious."
Or how I can mention something off-handedly, and it might offend a friend without me realizing it.
Or how there can be so many church denominations, yet only one Bible.
It's all in how we interpret the data.
The dress that went viral reminds us that we should be understanding of others.
Tom and I argued (in good fun) over the colors of the dress, but in the end we could see that there was more to this than we understood. We didn't know that there was a whole scientific theory about light, and brains, and interpretations. We only knew that we ought to table the discussion until we had more information.
I wish we could remember to do the same when we have differences of opinion with others, especially with those we love.
Today, step back from a disagreement or confusing situation, and take a deep breath.
Maybe each side needs more information. Maybe you are both right. Maybe, just maybe, you are the one in the wrong.
Be mindful that all of us filter everything that comes at us; through our experiences, our personalities, our values, our needs, and our desires.
And in the end, having grace for our differences is the thing that really matters.
Wouldn't you know, we later learned that neither of us saw the ACTUAL colors of the dress, which were a royal blue and dark black, so we both argued for our incorrect interpretations. We both felt sheepish.
So.....what colors did YOU see in the dress? Did you discuss it with friends or family who saw it differently?
A Facebook friend, Cheryl, sent me this quote: "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." ~ Anais Nin
Something to think about, huh?