If you were on social media a couple of weeks ago then you know about an epic debate regarding a poorly exposed picture of a dress. Did you see blue and black or did you see white and gold? I myself got pulled into the drama as I came across an unmistakably white and gold dress on the internet. I asked the friend next to me what she saw. “Blue and black”, she stated matter-of-factly. And then all of the sudden I was obsessed. How was it possible that she saw something different than what I so clearly saw?! Was she crazy? Was I? How could the same picture look entirely different to two people?

Why did this picture drive us all to obsession with over 28 million views in a matter of days? I believe it is because we wanted to understand and be understood. Don’t we all strive to be understood by those around us? To know that we are not standing alone, that our views are valid.

Isn’t life like that sometimes? Have you ever looked at a situation in an entirely different light than your friend, family member, spouse, or even boss? You see it very clearly one way and their view makes absolutely no sense to you. That is where the conflict can begin. Each feeling fully justified in their view of what they see. We are so obviously correct. We start to think, are they crazy? Am I?

But really, just like the dress, a lot of times it may depend on our exposure. What have we seen, what did our family of origin teach us, what have our life experiences been or even our trials? All of these factors shape our views. And unless we start to see through the lens of their different exposures we will never truly be able to empathize and understand one another.

As I stared at the dress that day, willing myself to see it from a different view, it did start to change. Though I had to stare for a long time for it didn’t change immediately. But eventually the gold started to darken and the white slowly made its transformation towards blue. As it did, I looked at my friend with a grin and said “Ah, now I see it.”

Written By

New Yorker, photographer, blogger, and life time dreamer.