November 21

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I started to think about changing my perspective this weekend as I considered a journaling prompt about the first person who had betrayed me. I know, not a nice gentle prompt but one that needs some reflection. I wanted to explore something for a book I am writing.

The question was asked, and nothing came to me. Later, as I watched This Is Us, the name Judith came into my head. Judith, how could I forget? We were 13 and best friends, and she slept with my boyfriend. I was heartbroken.

It turned out she was sleeping with many of our circle boyfriends, and as kids do, we shunned her and called her names. But nonetheless, I imagine my friends were as hurt as I was.

It was only reflecting many years later that I could see what she did from another perspective. A girl who didn’t value herself probably lacked any confidence or self-worth.

All these years later, that makes me sad. I know this has impacted how I react to people I perceive as betraying me. I confess I have little tolerance, and it’s usually one strike, and you are out. But, to be honest, I am unsure if that will ever change, and it is a way to ensure that I feel safe.

What I did learn from that long-ago memory is that what Judith did was about her and not me. I’m not sure that does much to comfort my broken 13-year-old heart. Though, as an aside, I did look up said boyfriend in about 2010 and let’s leave my lucky escape at that. My perspective, of course…

The thing about perspectives is that every individual on the planet has a relatively unique point of view, encompassing their own individual experiences and situations, like the one I just described. How they got there is totally unique to them. The way I was betrayed will not be the way in which you were.

For this reason, and the unconscious biases accompanying any one perspective, it’s valuable to learn to view things from another perspective before making final decisions. Once you understand the value of changing your perspective, you can use this in all life areas.

Though still on the subject of betrayal, when my last husband was discovered living a very risky double life, I didn’t stop and consider his perspective. I acted as I said one strike and out. In this kind of situation, I think quick and assertive action is needed. You can reflect later, which I did. I do indeed see this in another way, along with a lifetime of lessons and gifts.

What is the value of changing perspective?

  • Enjoy a better understanding – when you seek knowledge from every angle, getting information from different sources, you will gain a much better understanding of the problem and its solutions.
  • Change your feelings – hearing from someone else about an issue can even change your feelings about it, despite your own internal biases due to your own personal perspective.
  • Improve your relationships – being open to other perspectives and points of view automatically makes you a safe person to be around for the people in your life. If you’re not judgmental and listen, your relationships will be deeper.
  • Overcome biases – we already said that every single person on Earth has unconscious biases about everything due to their own perspective. When you can look at other people’s perspectives, sometimes you can overcome your biases and thus make much better choices based on the real facts because, sadly, our own perspective can be clouded and not factual.
  • Resolve conflict constructively – one of the best skills you can develop if you need to resolve conflicts regularly is to argue issues from other people’s perspectives. When you can do that, you can usually come to win-win conclusions.
  • Solve more problems successfully – a person who can go outside of their comfort zone to collect and listen to many perspectives about a problem that needs to be solved they’re more likely to find a solution. That is why choosing diverse teams is essential to business success.
  • Become a more persuasive person – the fact that you can look at and understand many perspectives and explain issues from these different points of view means that you’ll be able to argue much more persuasively because you can use words that relate to the people you want to persuade.

Some perspectives exercises for you to try

Visualise meeting you!

Seeing yourself from another’s perspective is very powerful and revealing, especially if that other person is you, looking in on you. You can do this by looking at yourself from a photo and/or from your imagination and describing what you see as if you had never met yourself. Scary stuff!

From a photograph

Get a recent photograph of yourself. Place the photograph in front of you; now answer these questions. Looking at that person: –

  • What do you see?
  • What are you wearing?
  • What colours do you have on?
  • What is your clothing style, are you dressed for business or leisure?
  • What is your hairstyle like or your facial expression?
  • Who else is in the picture with you?
  • Imagine that you have never met yourself, and write a few paragraphs about the person in the picture.
  • Who do you think they are?
  • Write a bit about their life, hopes, dreams, fears and maybe their perfect day

From your imagination

Look in the mirror, and take a good look. Then, close your eyes, and when you open them, take a moment and imagine that you are meeting yourself for the first time.

  • What is your first impression?
  • Are you interesting?
  • Are you a sad or happy person?
  • What does this person do for a living? What is her/his dream job?
  • Does she/he have a partner or children? What are they like?
  • What is her/his house like?
  • What other questions do you have? Ask away

Journal it: Do both of the perspectives exercises and reflect on what you learn

When it comes to writing your story and going back through old memories, how would changing your perspective change your story?

Check out Write A Healing Memoir


Tags

journaling, Positive Affirmations, write a book, writing a book


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