One of the strongest influences regarding how we function in various situations is point of view. So many factors contribute to point of view it would be impossible to list them all. Our backgrounds and interests are big factors. The experiences we have had and the ways we have responded to them have a lot to do with our current responses. Our relationships, past as well as present, can have a profound impact on our point of view.
The matter is further complicated because things like our health, our satisfaction with our work environment, our concerns about issues that affect our culture, including politics, can all become factors in forming our point of view. I believe that most of us have several blind spots when it comes to our own point of view. I can think of several areas where I believe my point of view is, if not the only one, certainly the one that makes the most sense! What’s more, I suspect that I am not alone in this.
What do you do when your point of view is at odds with that of someone else? We all know people who argue and insist that theirs is the only acceptable point of view. We all know how frustrating it can be to be on the receiving end of that kind of one sided conversation.
The most effective response to point of view is understanding. To the extent that we can put ourselves in the place of someone else, we can come to see situations from their point of view. The hard part of that is setting aside everything we think we know about something and truly see things through the eyes of someone else. When we are able to do this, several amazing things happen. Understanding a situation from another person’s point of view gives us a greater understanding of the situation at hand.
This time at the end of every year–what we call the holiday season–is an example of seeing things from differing points of view. There are so many points of view regarding the holiday season that it is actually amazing that there is as much agreement as there is. I doubt any of us can grasp all the various points of view held by people regarding this time of year. Religious, cultural, social traditions seem to grow more varied every year. How many different points of view are you aware of regarding the holidays?
How many different points of view have you made an attempt to understand? How successful have you been so far? How much could you improve someone’s experience of the holidays by seeing things from their point of view?
How about trying a little experiment. From now to the end of the year, try to see as many things as you can from someone else’s point of view. This means you will have to ask questions to find out what their point of view is. It also means you will have to practice not expressing your own point of view until you understand theirs. This can be challenging, but it can also be extremely satisfying.
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