Do you have any acquaintances that you would describe as
“inconsiderate”? How about “self-centered”? I’m willing to bet that you think of those people like that because they are having trouble with perspective-thinking!
As adults, we must consider other people’s perspectives before we
act or speak. When we don’t consider how our actions will make others feel, we end up seeming rude, inconsiderate, and self-centered.
As someone who is often too sensitive to the needs of others, I have very little tolerance for those who don’t seem able to see things from any point of view aside from their own. They end up doing only what is in their own best interest and disregard what is best for the group or anyone else they are with.
If we do not understand a person’s perspective, what is very meaningful and sensible to him may look absurd to us. But if we are going through the same situation, we may behave just like the person did, and think it is perfectly normal or the right thing to do.
So, reality is what things actually are, but a person’s reality is what
the person thinks and feels it is, given the circumstances. The person’s reality affects his actions.
Studies in the behavioural sciences have shown that we don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are, and how we are affected by the events or situation. We make interpretations according to our
beliefs and past experiences about ourselves and others. We give meanings to things in the context of the circumstances we live or find ourselves in.
Many misunderstandings could have been avoided if we had asked: “What else could it mean?” If we can see things differently, from another person’s perspective, we can have fewer strong disagreements and more constructive responses to contentious issues. At the minimum, we will be more careful in what we say or do in a difficult situation to avoid escalating the negatives.
If we learn to see things from another’s perspective and apply it adequately, we are more likely to prevent misunderstandings, enable constructive conversations and achieve win-win solutions.
© Adeogun Kayode