Have you ever taken a long drive with someone? A car has a way of becoming confessional. It becomes easier to open up like the road ahead of you. One such car ride taught me one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my life.
My friend Tanya and I were driving down the coast of California. We’d had a lot of laughs before we took a turn for a more serious subject, a mutual friend who we’d had a falling out with. I’d recently made amends with her while Tanya had yet to forgive. She was explaining to me why she felt like she never could forgive our friend, who had caused a scene at a function at her house.
“I guess it’s a matter of perspective,” I mused.
“How do you mean?”
“Well, I was upset with how she behaved, but I tried to look at it from her standpoint. Then I thought about what your other guests might’ve thought, which is why I understand your issues with the situation. In the end, I realized that for me, the high points of my friendship with her beat out that one low point. Looking at it that way, I can move on.”
She was quiet for a few minutes, reflecting on why I said what I had said. “I suppose that if I look at things and try to imagine what she was going through and feeling like to burst like that…I suppose I could give her another chance.”
It was then that I realized the power of perception. I was so used to examining things from multiple angles myself that it hadn’t occurred to me that not everyone had the same thought process. We could be looking at the same things, but with different vantage points it made it much harder to reach the same conclusion.
Shifting your perspective is easier said than done. You spend a lot of time in life being introspective, trying to figure out where you stand and what you stand for. With all this time establishing your own perspective, there’s a few steps you can take to see things from another side.
1.Look beyond the moment. While people do act emotionally and impulsively, there is usually a background reason as to why they’ve done something that upsets you. Consider the different things that could be affecting their lives and their reaction in that moment and you might find yourself more sympathetic.
2. Express your frustrations on paper. Whether you enjoy writing or drawing, there are many ways you can reevaluate the situation. Once it’s in front of your eyes in another form, review it. Is everything factual to the situation? Whatever isn’t could be skewing your perspective.
3. Think of the times you’ve felt misunderstood. Sometimes, gaining perspective is as simple as remembering you’ve been where this person is. If you’ve ever been misunderstood, regardless of the severity, you realize how easy it is for someone to see things differently and therefore, can see yourself doing the same in the present situation.
4. Keep yourself educated. Knowledge gives you options to more vantage points. Seeing in different perspectives can be easier when you have a wider basis of knowledge. During his talk at TED 2016, Astro Teller remarked: “Sometimes shifting your perspective is more powerful than being smart.” Read different books, go to museums, embrace the culture and all life has to offer. Be both smart and perceptive.
5. Take responsibility before placing blame. At our best, we go into a situation with a lot of accusation and will cop to one, maybe two small faults at best. If we take responsibilities for our fault honestly first, we’ll see that blame is harder to assign then you may have thought in haste.
Changing your perspective doesn’t simply give you the power to change your feelings. What it does, however, is opens the door for conflict resolution. By being able to see multiple perspectives, you are less likely to find yourself annoyed at others, angry, or involved in confrontations. It will give you the ability to be more understanding,
Olessia Kantor is an Author and a Personal Empowerment Expert. She is the Founder and Editor in Chief of EnigmaLife.com  – an online content destination aimed at providing people with the tools to examine, explore and enhance their daily lives.
Olessia is currently writing a series of books on the Art of Personal Empowerment. In addition to her art and editorial background, Olessia has over 15 years of experience as an art dealer, art historian and diamond dealer. She is also a renowned gemologist and philanthropist. She splits her time in-between Tel Aviv, New York and Rome.