Ok so this week I upset a very good friend. They thought I was insinuating something where as actually I was concerned. However their thoughts and now mine have escalated the tension. It got me thinking about points of view and how you look can look at things and overthink them and then make 2 + 2 = 6.
Perspective is the way individuals see the world. It comes from their personal point of view and is shaped by life experiences, values, their current state of mind, the assumptions they bring into a situation, and a whole lot of other things. Reality can be different things. It can be difficult to step outside of your world and see things from someone else’s point of view, but it is beneficial! By looking at things from a different perspective, you can gain new insight into problems and improve your social interactions. Collect different types of experiences, such as by travelling, reading, and talking with people. Then, work on building empathy for other people. With persistence, seeing things from different points of view will become much easier for you!
Listen to other people carefully. Immersing yourself in someone else’s story or experiences while talking one-on-one is another great way to experience a different point of view. When you talk with other people, listen closely. Make sure to listen even if you don’t share their perspective and disagree with what they have to say.
- Make eye contact and face the person while they are talking. (Not easy if texting I know)
- Ask them questions if anything they say is unclear to you.
- Let them know you are listening by rephrasing or echoing what they say now and then.
Respect people’s differences. Recognising that not everyone shares your beliefs and values may help you to see things differently. Whenever you interact with someone else, take a moment to remind yourself that they may not share your worldview, and that is okay. This may make it easier for you to gain new perspective from your interactions with them.
- For example, you might have a coworker who performs a specific task different than you do. Their approach might be very different, but still effective.
- Or, you might have a classmate whose family observes a different religion than your family, so their holiday celebrations might be nothing like your family’s celebrations.
Read or watch videos about other people’s experiences. Exposing yourself to other people’s personal experiences through books, articles, blogs, and videos may help you to gain insight into what it is like to be another person. Try reading or watching videos about people who are different from you to expose yourself to a totally new perspective.
- For example, you can read biographies, watch documentaries, or read/watch interviews with people who are from different countries, ethnic backgrounds, religions, or political parties.
Learn the difference between empathy and sympathy. Although these words sound similar and their meanings are often confused, they are quite different. Sympathy means that you feel sorry for someone or pity them. Empathy means that you have put yourself into the other person’s situation and considered how they must feel.
- For example, you might feel sympathy for a homeless person on the street because their situation seems unpleasant. However, if you feel empathy for this person, you would have imagined what it is like to sleep on the hard concrete, wear the same clothes each day, beg people for money to buy food, and worry about your safety day after day.
Think about how you would feel in another person’s situation. If you meet or hear about someone who has experienced a hardship, imagine how you would feel in that person’s situation as a way to build empathy for them and gain a new perspective. How might you feel if you had gone through a similar experience? Why might you feel that way? What might you do to cope with the experience?
Aim to treat others how you would like to be treated. Thinking about how you would want someone to talk to you or help you if you were in their situation may also help you to develop empathy and understand other people’s perspectives better. Imagine what someone could say or do to help you feel better if you were in that situation, then act accordingly.
- This may be as simple as acknowledging someone’s pain and offering to help in any way you can. For example, if someone has just experienced the death of their family pet, then they might appreciate it if you said, “I’m so sorry for your loss. Is there anything I can do to help?”
Imagine that someone said or did something mean-spirited to you. Considering the worst-case scenario may also help you to see someone else’s perspective. Think about what someone could say or do to really hurt you. Then, use this experience to help you understand the hurt feelings that someone else has experienced. This will help you to build empathy and expand your perspective.
- For example, if someone called you an insulting name, how might you feel? What would your reaction be? Use these feelings to help you understand how someone who is different from you might feel and react if they were treated poorly.
So the bottom line I started it and then because of our state of minds we verbally assaulted each other and both said some hurtful things.
I apologised but the damage is done. I’m not washing my dirty linen in public. I’m telling you this because of two very different points of view I have possibly lost a good friend.
learn from my mistake. Think before you say or in this case text something, and if you still feel that you are in the right, stop and look at it from the other persons point of view. Could your intention be misconstrued.
Have a great week