A perfect perspective is a comprehensive view, one that is not overly skewed or tainted by one’s personal experiences. A perfect perspective requires listening, examining, and sincere empathy. A perfect perspective requires admitting and acknowledging that not everything is your way, on your terms, and in your timing. A perfect perspective is a sensitivity to others that creates connections that have impact, even if just for a moment.
Are you guilty of half listening because you feel like you already know what a person is going to say? Listening long enough for you to have your response ready when they stop talking? Or do you really listen to what people are saying? When engaged in conversation, do you have the attitude that your way is the best way to handle the situation? You do realize that your way, your attitude, and your perspective are based on your experiences, and that person you are talking to may not have had similar experiences as you. While most of us may answer an emphatic “Yes, I know” to this question, what does your behavior say? Does your behavior imply ‘At this age, they should – ‘ or ‘It doesn’t take rocket science to – ‘ or ‘Everybody knows – ‘ Those are opinions based on your perspective which is created by your experiences. When you shift your mindset and honestly identify with another person’s experiences to help see why they have come from their perspective, then you can begin to have perfect perspective that is no longer skewed by your own experiences.
Call To Action: How can you improve your listening skills so that you are more present in the conversations and less present in your perspective about the conversation?
It is in the Listening phase that you can begin to see how your experiences can taint your perspective sometimes to the point of not being flexible to see another opinion. This often shows up in relationships, including friendships that we have. If you grew up in a household where children were allowed to use profanity or call their Aunts, Uncles, and other senior relatives by their first name, and you are having a conversation with someone who gives everyone a ‘title’ you might think they are stuffy and formal and they may think you are too familiar and disrespectful. It’s all about your experiences that have shaped your perspective. While the conclusions drawn could be very false, they are still drawn until there is some examination that takes place. If this relationship between these two were romantic and the family with the titles was adamant about the titles being a sign of respect, then the one who grew up calling their senior family members by first name would have some adjustments to make or some conversations to have to ensure they were not perceived as disrespectful.
Call To Action: In what ways do you need to examine the possibility of your perspective differing from someone else’s being a result of experiences and how can you address that with the person to help resolve the gap?
Listening and Examining requires working through your experiences to be able to see more clearly and understand their experiences which have caused them to have the perspective they have. Sincere empathy involves understanding the person you are encountering so you can begin to see their perspective of the situation. Perhaps that friend thrives for attention because they are used to getting all the attention or maybe because they have been used to being overlooked. Maybe that person’s finances are a mess because someone always bailed them out, or just because no one ever showed them how to manage their finances. When you come to know a person beyond the surface, you begin to see them with a more complete light, instead of just from one angle. Perhaps they will never be what you need them to be, because they do not know how to be that, nor do they have the capacity or the understanding to evolve to be what you need them to be. Perhaps you can never be what they need you to be because you have never experienced that and while you understand it, you are in a different book than they are and that would require you revisiting a book you have already marked as ‘in the past.’
Call To Action: What are those things you are looking for in a friendship or relationship or do you even know what you need and/or what you want and the difference? What are those things that you are struggling with in that relationship that maybe you need to examine your experiences and determine if the person you are struggling with has the capacity to be the type of friend or love interest you are looking for?
When you take listening and examining and mix it with sincere empathy, then you can better have a perfect perspective of the person and the situation. When you use these three ingredients, it helps your perspective shift closer to perfect and further away from being skewed. No perspective is ever going to be perfect, because humans have so many variables to consider, but a perfect perspective can certainly help you make wiser decisions about things. Should you stay or should you go? Should you buy or should you sell? Should you give or should you receive? A perfect perspective will never be perfect, but it can sure help you see the real perspective of a situation a lot quicker than having your own skewed perspective. Afterall, believe it or not, your way is not the only way and while you may know what you want, and you may realize what you need, contrary to your possible belief, you are not the perfect anything, for we are all flawed. So, choose to be kind and show gentleness, patience, and kindness to others, they may be in a phase that you have already come through, but was not an easy phase for you to get through.
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. ~Colossians 3:12-13 (NLT)