Most of you have seen this famous optical illusion image at some point in your life. The image is titled “My Wife and My Mother-in-Law.” It first appeared on a German postcard in 1888 and later was adapted by a British cartoonist in 1915 and became a famous psychological conundrum.
On the left side of the image is a young woman facing away from you with a huge feather in her hair and a black necklace. If you look again, you’ll see and old woman facing forward. The young woman’s chin is her nose and necklace has become her mouth.
They say you cannot see both images at the same time. I took that as a challenge at an early age and forced myself to see both. Regardless, the key point of this image is that it is possible for two people to look at something as simple as this image and come to different conclusions about what they’re seeing. Is it so unreasonable that with something as complex as our lives or the universe that some people are going to see a completely different image than you.
Now this might seem like a concept that would hopelessly divide us, but think again. The duality gives you choice and choice gives you options. Once you can see both women in the image (simultaneously or not), you have a choice as to which way you want to see the image.
We have that power when we look out on our world as well. Though it’s far more complex, the concept is the same. Both a magical, miraculous world and a dark, dystopian world are there ready to be seen. The question is which one will we choose to see?
It’s the same world for endlessly happy person and the tirelessly pessimistic person. It’s really a matter of attention and focus and training yourself what is useful and productive to focus upon.
The next time you’re looking out and seeing only the pain, misery, and unhappiness, and we all have those days, remember that the beautiful world is right there too. You just need to remember to look for it.
Just in case no one else has reminded you today, you are awesome!
Want more? Read this related article Radical Perspective Shifting.
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