We live our lives based on our perceptions, but what does that truly mean? It means this; we justify all of our actions based on what we know of us, others and the world around us; all of which create our beliefs. The truth however is often different to those who do not subscribe to our set of beliefs. They believe they are right and justified in their actions because of their perception of themselves, others and the world around them. So who is right and who is wrong?

This is a subject I often talk about because it’s so misunderstood. The key to relationship building is fundamentally our ability to comprehend others’ perspectives and relate our ideas or ideals to them through the paradigms of their reality. We have to speak into what they know and believe in order to influence them in any capacity. This is a tall order for most individuals and a big reason there’s hatred through religious and racial profiling, sexual classification, among other things.

The fundamental truth here is a lack of understanding. An understanding of the true world around us, not just the world but the people in our world. This not only includes other countries foreign and domestic, but also our neighbors and their neighbors and their neighbors neighbor. We need to drop the guns and begin creating conversations locally and globally with each other. Borders are only a perception that’s guarded by people who say they protect us, but what are they really protecting us from besides the truth? Their truth that the people we have come to call our enemies are only enemies because of what we are told by those in “power”, those we’ve given the privilege to be our authorities.

Perceptions are skewed throughout the world because we are only presented with our own biased opinions of what’s taking place outside of our lives. I want you to imagine for a moment your city, your state, your country being ruthlessly overthrown by an outside force. You didn’t ask for help or anyone to come “save” you, come change your life, or to free you from tyranny. Your life and your job have been displaced and you are now forced to do one of two things; stay and fight the opposition or flea and find solace somewhere else. No one else accepts you and you’re forced to deal with the harsh realities that nothing will ever be the same. You have to fight and even kill just to survive in your homeland. Your family is helpless without your aid. When the balance of powers seem to be coming into some semblance of order you’re still forced to do the bidding of others.

Your resentment only grows into hatred towards the outside powers that came into your country, your state, your community and consequently ruined everything. Destroyed the places you knew and loved. Killed family and friends you were close with. Created a system of theft and murder to get what it is you wanted just so you and your family could survive.

Now imagine all that you just read being exactly how the people of ISIS feel. We are the evil they hate. They did not ask for us to come save them. They did not say, “There is a tyrant here. We need your help!” We brought war to them and showed them that in order to get what you want you must kill. Force is all they know and it is all we continue to show them.

So what is the answer to who’s right and who’s wrong? Simply put, no one and everyone. No one is wrong until someone with a contradictory belief says they are. From this point forward I challenge you to begin asking different questions of yourself before you judge another for what they believe. Give yourself the ability to begin and understand life from their shoes.