Perspectives Differ

Is this object a triangle, square, or circle? Yes.

If I were to pinpoint one strategy that fosters the greatest understanding it would be, “Look at problems from the other person’s point of view.”

This practice goes by various names: empathy, getting in the other’s shoes, perception is reality, appreciating another’s point of view, validating their experience (even if we don’t agree with it). The opposite is called: being closed minded, don’t confuse me with facts–my mind is made up, your opinion is invalid and pointless, being imperative, rigid, and non-negotiable. Here are some guaranteed impasse breaking comments.

I think you’re loud but maybe you think my ears are too sensitive.

I think you avoid conflict but maybe you think I’m too risky.

I think you’re defiant but maybe you think I’m too bossy.

I think you interrupt too much but maybe you think I lecture too long.

I think you’re not punctual but maybe you think I’m addicted to clocks.

I think you’re a controlling neat freak but maybe you think I’m a slob.

I think you minimize problems but maybe you think I catastrophize problems.

I think you’re too aloof but maybe you think I’m too needy.

I think you’re too sensitive but maybe you think I’m too callous.

Failure to acknowledge, “Your point of view is true to you” escalates conflict.  Being curious about why they hold that point of view, how they arrived at their conclusion, and who else has this opinion leads to fruitful discussion.

At least that’s my perspective.

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1 Comment

  1. Meredith Moyer

     /  March 14, 2011

    Steve has certainly heard it all! We have ‘learned’ how to unload it all FIRST on our Precious Savior! He has pretty Big Shoulders:) His mercies are new every AM when we wake up with breath!

    We had a great dinner last night with family and celebrated our precious ‘Olivia’!

    She said she had such a nice day with her Mom Saturday book store shopping!

    Hugs, Meredith


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