Suppose two people are on opposite ends of a vast and lush forest that stretches for many thousands of acres. One stands beside a rushing stream, watching the light play on the water. The other is in a heavily wooded thicket, so dense that very little light filters through at all.
If they were to describe the forest to each other, their accounts would be drastically different. They aren’t standing in the same place or having the same experience.
Perhaps they might argue about what the forest looks like.
Or, they could choose to listen to each other and grasp a bigger conception of the forest; one that accounts for the fullness beyond their own immediate horizon.
The moral of this little story: Our own lived experience matters. It is important, yet a worldview centered on this alone will necessarily result in a very limited understanding. You may be sitting beside the stream, but that doesn’t mean someone else isn’t standing in the thicket. The forest of humanity is limitless, the map of which is a tapestry of all of our collective unique experiences. The truth of another’s story in no way invalidates your own. In fact, the more perspectives we can hear with an open heart, the larger and truer our picture becomes.