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Change your perspective.

There are multiple sides to most stories in life, with different interpretations of the 'truth' depending on who is telling the story. Taking the time to think about the possibility of another interpretation of a certain event or situation, or indeed trying to see things from somebody else’s point of view, can help us to have more ownership of the situation and be more conscious of how we respond.


Step 1.

Think about something that has happened recently. This could be any situation or interaction, from a disagreement with your manager, to an argument with a colleague or team-mate. Start by describing what happened from your own perspective, and then try to re-frame things to look at it from a different angle.

For example…

Imagine you are in the middle of a work meeting, with a new client reviewing a report you have written. They are frustrated with the quality of the work, and express this with a series of challenging questions and request the report to be re-written. Your manager has come along to the meeting to support you, but they stay quiet throughout, whilst you field the questions. From your perspective, you may be tempted to think something along the lines of: I’m so angry with them. They were just sitting there doing nothing while the client trampled all over our work. Surely they knew I needed a bit of back-up?

Step 2.

But are there other ways you could think about the situation that may be equally valid?

This can be often be challenging, particularly about events we feel strongly about. So try to think about each component part in turn, and ask yourself whether the statement is true or false – or perhaps you don’t know. Doing this can help you to think of a re-framed version of each statement, based only on the aspects that you know to be true (rather than just what you think to be true).

For instance, going back to our example…

  • Let’s take the statement: “she was just sitting there doing nothing”. This is actually false – she was listening, watching and perhaps thinking. A more helpful re-framing of the statement could be: “I couldn’t see a reaction from her”.
  • Now, let’s look at the next statement: “she knew I needed back-up”. This could be true or false – but it’s difficult for us to know for sure. Again, a more accurate interpretation might be: “I wanted her to back me up, but I didn’t actually ask her to”.

Step 3.

When you are trying this, it can be helpful to write each statement down. And you will need to be strict and really challenge yourself about what you know is true – it’s often difficult to realise our own perspectives are not always the single version of the truth.

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