What is perspective ?
What you think and feel about a person or situation is your perspective.
Did you know that we all see the world through our minds, not our eyes?
Because our view of the world is shaped by our past experiences, beliefs, and values. We see what our mind wants us to see.
So now that we know that each of us have a unique way of viewing the world, how do we expand it?
Through empathy, imagination and curiosty.
When we imagine ourselves in another person’s shoes, understand their feelings, and see their point of view, we expand our own understanding of the world. This helps us to be more inclusive, empathetic, and kind.
Ways To Expand Your Perspective
In a conversation always ask questions about the other person. This helps in getting information about them and not what we think about them. Always ask follow up questions to deeper your understanding.
“How are you feeling today?”
“Oh, I am so sorry to hear that. Tell me more about what happened.”
“I hope your family is doing okay. Tell more about the time you spent with them.”
2. Listen Attentively
There is a reason we have two ears and one mouth. So we can listen more and talk less!
Listen with your mind, body, and heart. Be in the present and focus on the speaker’s body language. Our mirror neurons help to imitate or complement the speaker’s body language for appropriate social interaction.
3. Listen with An Open Mind
When a new perspective, idea, or line of thought is introduced by the speaker, our natural inclination is to block it. It is our beliefs that do not let in new ideas easily. So while listening, just listen.
Really think about it next time! When you are having a conversation, are you really listening or are you building a reply in your mind? Therefore, not actually listening!
4. Challenge Yourself to Imagine How They Are Feeling
When we truly listen, we can understand how another is feeling and imagine ourselves in their shoes. That is empathy. To know more please read this article- Empathy and Ways To Increase it.
So when you listen to another person’s story, imagine yourself in their place. Just like you put yourself in a character’s place in a book or movie. You laugh or cry with them because for a short while, you become them.
5. Challenge Yourself to See From Another’s Perspective
So now that we have listened attentively, asked follow up questions and imagined our self in the the speaker’s shoes, finally we need to see the world from their point of view.
Our beliefs and values may hold us back, but that is where the challenge is.
That is where inclusion comes. When you begin to broaden your perspective and see the world from their point of view, you begin to realize:
- we are more similar than we are different
- every one has a unique perspective
- no one is right or wrong
- the truth may be very different than what you think
- the more you understand other people, the more kinder and accepting you become.
So challenge yourself !
Always Ask – Is there a different way of looking at this ?