Two little girls and a rainbow umbrella caught my attention the other day. The older of the two couldn't have been more than five, and younger was likely three. They were attempting to share a tiny umbrella on a rainy morning, and it want quite working. It was adorable, don't get me wrong, but it put me suddenly reminded me of something else.
The girls were both trying to stay dry, and each would reach up and tug the umbrella over to better cover her. The other girl would respond by doing the same thing in the opposite direction. From their perspective, focused on the umbrella as they were, they couldn't see what I could: there were two solutions to their problem. One or both of the girls could have simply stepped under Dad's enormous umbrella, or they could have stepped closer to each other. I'm pretty sure they were pretty wet by the time they reached their destination, and before they disappeared around the corner, they were definitely frustrated.
I see adults do this all the time. I'm guilty I'm doing this. I get so caught up in an idea that I think is right that I forget to look around and see what else might help. I see people so intent on keeping what they perceive as "theirs" or as "needed" that they don't see what they do to other people. It's a willful blindness that nearly all of us have learned, and it keeps it's focused on a tiny fragment of our realities while helping to keep us from freeing ourselves from situations that aren't good for us.
I'm not sure how to cure this blindness, but I do see that people who practice compassion and empathy are less outdoor to it, as are people who enjoy problem solving. Mindfulness would likely be an effective tool, as would exercises that force us to challenge our assumptions about the world around us. Of course, none of these will work for people who prefer the familiarity to any possibility of change. It's a choice, that has to be made willingly and with a sense of adventure.