In today’s article you’re going to learn everything you need to know about how to understand another person’s perspective.
“Look at the situation from a different point of view” – how often do you hear such a sentence? Now you finally get to know what it literally means to see the world from a different perspective. Learn about perceptual positions, one of the most effective tools for NLP in relationships with other people.
Thanks to it you will be able to embody different points of view, receiving the key to conflict resolution. You will gain completely new resources, creatively dealing with problems and going beyond the scheme of only your perspective. You will gain a new perspective on every situation in your life.
Have you ever argued with a person so focused on your point of view that you didn’t notice what they wanted to tell you?
Most conflicts result from the lack of ability to play the role of another person. Too often people become attached to one limited way of looking at reality, which often leads to conflicts between them.
Time for a change of perspective…
How To Understand Another Person’s Perspective:
The concept of perceptual positions was initiated by Virginia Satir, a family therapist. She offered her patients to look at their problems from the point of view of other family members.
It turned out that the change of point of view gave these people access to completely different information about conflicts or problems in their lives. What’s more, often after such a look, conflict simply disappeared and family members apologized for their selfish behavior.
Just looking at it from a different perspective gives you access to new resources. Being trapped only in your own point of view, you lose a lot of important information and you are willing to fight for your own opinion without realizing that the other person may be right.
Joseph O’Connor writes: “Observing from one point of view takes place in one narrow perspective, which is true when one looks at things from a certain angle, but does not give a holistic picture. We see only a fragment of reality, and we need both the awareness of detail and magnification, and the insight into the whole depth of the issue.”
Looking only from one’s own perspective can be compared to looking out the window in one’s room. You will always see the same part of reality when you are in the room through the window. Take a trip to another room and you will see a completely different world in the window!
Three points of view
NLP distinguishes between three basic perceptual positions. The ability to move between them will give you great flexibility and access to completely new possibilities.
You will be able to solve conflicts better (if they arise at all), think more creatively, learn more effectively from your past mistakes, and learn new behaviors faster.
The first perceptual position is a look from the point of view of the “I”.
That is, your own comfortable perspective. From here you can see what is important for you personally.
When you remember the situation from your life, being in this perceptual position you see it in association, that is from the perspective of your eyes. You are guided by your own needs, you observe the world through the prism of your beliefs and experiences.
The second perceptual position is the other person’s point of view.
It consists in “embodiment” in the skin of someone else and looking at the problem/situation/conflict from their perspective. Think about how this person would feel? What would be important for him/her at this moment, what would he/she need? What would she be convinced of? Imagine that you are this person.
Experience the situation as if you were the person. The ability to enter this perception position will allow you to get to know what empathy really is. You will be amazed, the world looks completely different when we look at it from this perspective!
If, for example, you argued with someone and the arguments of that person seemed strange and completely irrational to you, you will see in the person’s point of view that these arguments are now completely normal and meaningful. You will understand the model of this person’s world. And this is the key to building healthy, lasting relationships.
The third perceptual position is the observer’s position.
The point is to be someone completely independent, someone who is not connected in any way with this situation. This means going beyond yourself and beyond someone else’s view. This is the key to perceiving the relationship between the perspectives of both sides of the conflict.
This will free you from any emotional influence and you will be able to see more. When you look at a conflict between you and another person, for example, choose a spot on your side – and from there look at you and the other person. Listen to exactly what you are saying to yourself, what is your relationship.
Be an independent observer, a point in space that has nothing to do with this conflict.
I want you to know that each of these positions is important. None is more important than the other. What is important is the ability to move between these positions. You probably know people who look at the world only from their own point of view. Such people behave very selfishly, never looking at each other’s needs.
However, people who are in the second perception position all the time are extremely susceptible to influence, all the time thinking about what someone else will think.
People who spend most of their time in the third perception position seem to be “detached” from the world, not feeling emotions (1). Therefore, it is worth to find a balance and be able to change your point of view depending on the situation, checking what it looks like from each perception position.
Being aware of the existence of perceptual positions and the possibility of embodiment in them, you gain advantage and an excellent mental tool.
There are two other perceptual positions – looking from the point of view of the system (paying attention to the relationships between different elements) and from the perspective of the universe (or how your actions affect the whole world), but I will write about them another time.
Now I want you to focus on trying these three basic ones, because they will give you the biggest and most noticeable change.
Where can you use the perceptual positions?
There are many applications of this concept. Below are some of the most interesting examples so that you can try it out right away.
1. Conflicts and quarrels.
Perceptual positions are definitely the most useful here. By acting as a point of view of the other person and then as an independent observer, you will quickly understand what causes the conflict and will be able to solve it quickly.
When I use the second position in this way, I often think to myself: “How could I be so blindly looking only at my own arguments? Perceptual positions are also very useful in negotiations.
2. Creative problem solving.
Ask yourself: “How would my friend/mother/chief/anybody look at it? By taking each of these points of view, you will find completely new ideas.
This applies to all kinds of life problems and also to moments when you want to find creative solutions by creating a project.
3. Business creation.
Take on the role of your client’s point of view. Think about what your client needs, what he thinks, what problems he has. For example, if you want to set up a restaurant, go to a pub as a customer. All the time watching how you behave as a customer – what you expect from the place you go to.
Write down all your observations. Then take on the role of an observer and observe the sales process. What is the relationship between the seller and the customer?
4. Coping with past experiences.
If you have any memories that affect you negatively when returning to you, return to them in your imagination and look at them from different perspectives.
You will notice that you are the only one who gives this situation so much importance and that from another point of view it does not look so bad.
5. Learning new behaviours.
Do you want to be more confident? Remember the situation when you didn’t have this resource and look at it from different positions. Watch what you lacked and how you would have to behave to make people perceive you differently.
Now imagine the situation in the future, when you want to behave in this way. Look from different perspectives, also from yours, when you use the resource of self-confidence.
6. Personal development.
Look at yourself from the perspective of different people. Look at who you are, which way you are going, what kind of person you are in interpersonal relations. Write down your observations, you will see that there will be a lot of them.
Some of them will be surprising and maybe you wouldn’t normally think of them until a few months or even years from now. Then look at yourself as an independent observer and observe your behaviour and actions.
There are many other applications of perceptual positions, you will discover the others yourself. It is a great tool and a skill that is worth having. Since I’ve been using different perceptual positions, I’ve noticed a lot, a lot more, and this allows me to develop much faster.
Perspectives in practice
Below I present you an exercise, which at the beginning will help you to use the concept contained in this article. Once you have learned how to get into different points of view, you will be able to do it automatically by simply closing your eyes.
However, if you want, you can start with this exercise – it will certainly help you to experience what perceptual positions are.
Put three chairs in the circle. You can put a piece of paper on each chair that says “I”, “the other person”, “the observer”, but this is not necessary.
Now identify any situation for which you want to use the perceptual positions. This could be a quarrel, a negotiation process, a job interview, or a simple meeting with friends.
Let it be a situation from which you want to learn something (2), draw conclusions, or change it. Now, as you sit on each chair (starting from the first perceptual position), take on different points of view.
Close your eyes and imagine the situation in every place. Keep something to note with you to write down your observations. Pay attention to your body language, to the words you use, to the course of the whole situation, to the behaviour of other people.
The spatial distribution of these places is very important, because in some way it makes your mind understand that these are different points of view.
You will see that the change of location itself will give you a different perspective. There can be more than one chair if there are more people in the situation. You can use the second perception position for more people.
You can use this exercise to refer to situations that have already occurred in your life, but also to situations that are yet to happen.
Perceptual positions can become part of your way of looking at the world, which will certainly be conducive to your development and make your life easier and more enjoyable every day.
Thank you for reading this article about how to understand another person’s perspective and I really hope that you take action my advice.
I wish you good luck and I hope its contents have been a good help to you.