A change in perspective
During the last weeks, talking with friends and working with clients, I experienced some recurring topics. The common denominator to find solutions was “change in perspective” and it showed me once again how important and life changing it can be to look at things from more than one angle.
Let me give you an example that might allow you to draw analogies to own personal life situations – which might be troubles with your children, issues with your partner or quarrels with parents or siblings.
Especially when we are involved emotionally – we tend to fall in a “victim role” and ask ourselves how life can be so unfair and how people we love or depend on can treat us in such an unkind or disrespectful way. Convinced that we are “right” and they are “wrong” we get more and more emotionally charged and finally come to a deadlock.
What if we understood that there is a “simple” way to get out of it? What if we were ready to take a step back and look at the situation from a distance? And how could this look like in practice?
Well, let’s imagine you have an argument with your partner (could be the same with children, parents, siblings, friends). You blame him/her for not listening to you, for not honouring what you do, for not being there if you need him/her. Let’s suppose that’s the way it is and feels for you – so you might say:
“He/she does not listen to me!”
“He/she is not honouring what I do for him/her!”
“He/she is not there when I need her/him!”
Now take these statements and turn them upside down – which would be like this:
“I do not listen to him/her!”
“I am not honouring what he/she does for me!”
“I am not there when he/she needs me!”
And now you might answer: “But that is not true!”
“I am always listening.”
“And there is nothing he/she does for me”
“And I am always there when he/she needs me.”
And I might ask you:
“Ok, you say you are always listening. But is that really true?
Are you really listening to what he/she is telling you or are you just pretending to listen because you think you already know what it is all about?” Listening to each other is an art that few of us master.
“Ok, you say there is nothing he/she does for you. But is that really true?
Or is it perhaps that he/she doesn’t do for you what you want him/her to do?” Seeing what our partners do for us within their capabilities and possibilities can save us from ruining our relationships.
“Ok, you say you are always there when he/she needs you. But is that really true?
Would he/she agree with this? Or could it be that you think you are there, but your partner would need you to be present in a different way?” Being really there for each other is not as easy as it seems, because sometimes it can even mean to step back and allow our partner to be alone and have the space he/she needs.
You see, what a difference it makes to simply turn some words around?
But there is still more to it – now we change the statements again and we have this:
“I do not listen to myself!”
“I am not honouring what I do for myself!”
“I am not there when I need myself!”
Take a few minutes and see if it resonates – I think all of us know that these simple statements express a truth that we often experience ourselves.
So – what about the argument with our partner now? Are we still in the victim role? Or did this simple exercise change our perspective well enough to see that in reality he/she is a mirror of something within me that wants to be seen?
Some people say that we are responsible for what we attract in our lives. I am not happy with this message, because the consequences can be feelings of guilt and inferiority which are not helpful at all when it comes to find a way of healing.
But I believe that in everything that we experience there is a gift for us waiting – even if it might still be buried deep under. Due to my experience and my work with people every anger, every judgement, every fear, every reproach, every pain holds in it already the key to a solution.
And the first step out of an apparently insurmountable situation is something as simple as a change in perspective.
Wishing you all a wonderful end of summer and may love and peace be with you and your families.