Hello, how are you?
I recently came across this photo and I love it.
When we stop to consider perspective, we begin to use empathy.
I’d like to ask you to think about perspective.
For me this photo beautifully demonstrates a different view.
Are you interested in different views?
There are psychological tools that teach us how to recognise and accept differing views.
Differing views and non-acceptance lead to conflict… just watch the news or your family for that matter.
Having our needs met whilst compromising with those we live alongside is a skill that can lead to empowering and fulfilling interactions.
Professionally, I can come into your world and walk around quietly and with respect, with curiosity and an open mind, seeing things as you see them.
In my personal life I try to do this too. I don’t always achieve this though, because like you, I am human!
Sometimes we worry about how our opinion will be received, we think it might be wrong.
Can our opinions be wrong?
Due to my profession and training I always endeavour to avoid assumption and I work hard to recognise where I may be prejudiced. Moreover, when I recognise this and accept another perspective, I have found it to be enriching. Sometimes even life changing.
When we stop and consider how best to interact with each other, embracing diversity and avoiding drama or playing games, the transactions are better.
Can think of one occasion when you have been eager to be right rather than open to a different opinion?
Did it turn into an argument?
It is helpful to understand why we react the way we do and what sets us off or pushes our buttons. We are all prejudiced; influenced by the environment we grew up in and affiliated to different groups… just look at football fans.
We may all love the game passionately but will see a referee decision very differently.
Remember when you were a little person and your mum or dad, or teacher spoke down to you, perhaps in front of the whole class, or your perfect cousin!
How does this make you feel when you remember?
Being spoken to in this way disempowers us. Why would we want to lift our heads above the parapet only to be shot at?
Now try and remember being spoken to in a nurturing way by your mum, dad or teacher; what was the outcome? How did that feel?
We can get passionate about stuff, can’t we?
Being passionate about something is great, shoving that passion down someone’s throat is not. It doesn’t really make for an enjoyable experience.
Transactions that flow and pass to and fro with mutual respect lead to opportunity to improve everyone’s experience. Taking part gives a sense of belonging, of worth and helps to build confidence.
We feel like part of the team.
Team ‘Work’ or team ‘Home’, the experience is better.
Sometimes, when we are little people, we are not given a platform to be part of the team. We are not included in conversations, or when we do offer a subject we are passionate about, ask a question or give innocent insight, we are laughed at, dismissed or told we are wrong.
This is pretty devastating in psychological terms as we learn that when we offer our vulnerability by asking a question or giving an opinion, it will be injured by those around us who do not listen with curiosity, they are not including us or valuing our input, no matter how naïve.
Even when we disagree, seeing things from another’s perspective is often enlightening. We can still disagree; we simply know more about why we disagree. We don’t necessarily need to go to war!
I can hear the football fans saying, “yes we do!’
What’s the compromise?
How can we both feel ok?
We can’t always have an ever-present referee… or can we? Is that our conscience? Can we sensor ourselves to be less judgemental; more accepting?
I hope so.
We can try any way.
Could we visualise our very own Jiminy Cricket sat upon our shoulder?
With the space to be curious and learn, we can form educated opinions that are our core values and beliefs, as individuals within a community.
In psychological terms, this is called developing a ‘Locus of Evaluation’ and this can be External or Internal.
An internal locus of evaluation is where I would look to myself to evaluate and formulate, I would feel secure in finding my own solutions and take ownership of decisions, opinions and mistakes.
I was probably given space to explore, make decisions and exercise choice. When I made a mistake, I was comforted and not shamed.
So, an external locus will mean that I will look outside of myself, to others for reinforcement.
I would not necessarily trust my instincts and might adopt others’ opinions for my own. Or I may struggle with indecisiveness; disabled by the simplest of choices, eventually giving in; too afraid of being ridiculed for making a mistake.
With an external locus I might be insecure and uncurious, because in my past I was discouraged from exploration, being made to play it safe, unable to form educated preferences.
Sadly, being shamed and ridiculed for making mistakes when we are little people stays with us.
Can you relate?
Self-worth can be worked on later though so don’t despair.
What we learn we can unlearn.
It can take time, but it is possible. Unfortunately, when we are consistently de valued, we struggle to value ourselves, it’s not rocket science is it?
I don’t remember the exact ratio, but it takes several positives to neutralise just one negative.
We should really consider how we speak to our little people.
And how we speak to each other.
So, if you are reading this and feel good because you think you have an internal locus of evaluation, yes, owning your decisions and mistakes is good! But please reflect on whether you are still open to the alternative perspective for those around you.
Can you accept that others around you, perhaps the people you love, your family, your work mates; can you accept that they see things differently?
Can you be generous and accept that they chose a different path to you, and it turned out to be a mistake?
Can you still be curious and not smug?
If you are reading this and think you have an external locus of evaluation, please don’t feel weak or unassertive.
Try taking small steps to making choices and owning your decision and the consequences … We all make mistakes; it’s how we learn.
We can use this lovely image to help us remember that some of us are looking up at the flowers, they are huge, and we feel small, it’s still a great view!