Perspective is the view from which we see things. Take two people and one incident and you will get two versions of what happened. Our perspective becomes our truth. If I see something a certain way, I believe my view is anchored completely in reality. If you saw it differently than I, we could have a debate about it…a debate that will never be won. We can argue our way to divorce court or the end of a relationship. “I’m right and you’re wrong.” “No, I’m right and you’re wrong!” But who is wrong and who is right?
Because we see things from different perspectives, no one is wrong. A person’s view is unarguable. How can I, with 100% certainty, know my view supersedes another’s? If we were in a court of law, several witnesses would be necessary to uphold a certain view of a crime. What about situations with a friend or partner?
Think about your most recent argument with someone. Was it over a difference in perspective? I’ll give you a few scenarios in case you live the idyllic life and don’t run into issues with people. I can draw from my own archives with ease.
Me: I asked you to mow the lawn yesterday. Why isn’t it done?
My son: You did? I don’t remember you asking me.
Me: The doctor said the cancer is reducing in size. The chemo is working. This is good news!
My daughter: It’s not good news. I have to do at least three more rounds of chemo. That sucks!
My husband: You seem really angry and you’re yelling.
Me: I’m not angry and I’m not yelling.
In all three examples we could have gone back and forth with “no I didn’t, yes you did” until someone finally gave in or walked away. Likely, the relationship would suffer a huge blow. It’s really not worth arguing over perspective. I may have been certain I audibly spoke the words, “Please mow the lawn today” to my son but unless I had him repeat them back to me, I can’t be certain he heard me and soaked the words into his brain. It’s nonsensical to get mad at him for not hearing me the way I intended to be heard. So I remember the next time to get his full attention, have him repeat what I asked and be sure he understood me. Assuming he heard and understood will be of no benefit.
With my daughter, she is entitled to see things her own way. She actually has cancer and chemo is a drag. To her, three more 5 day rounds of inpatient chemo is boring and uncomfortable. From my perspective, I’m excited the chemo is working and I think I see a light at the end of the tunnel. There is nothing wrong or bad with my perspective or my daughter’s perspective. I would seriously damage our relationship and her individuality if I insisted she see things my way. It’s the same with my husband.
This idea of allowing one another to have different perspectives and different experiences with the world lands square in the middle of the boundary realm. Our boundaries are what differentiate us from the rest of humanity. It’s the part of us that identifies what we like and what we don’t like. Boundaries define who we are.
Anytime we insist someone see things our way, we’re messing with their boundaries. We’re telling this person what they should feel or think. That job belongs to no one but the holder of the emotions or thoughts.
I challenge you to notice when you are attempting to change a person’s perspective. Stop and ask yourself if your actions are going to foster relationship or damage it. You will see dramatic improvement in your relationships when you begin respecting the boundaries of others, allowing them to have their own perspective.