flickr CC image via LaPrimaDonna
No matter what I do or what situations I find myself in, I am realizing more and more over time that it's all about perspective.
I am many things: a teacher; father; husband; son; employee; leader, and no matter what role I'm playing, I have found it increasingly valuable and enlightening to seek perspective. I have mine, but it changes with the moods and experiences I have. Taking the deliberate time to reflect on my perspective, my 'meta-perspective' allows me to adjust as I gain clarity, objectivity and distance from the emotional side of my point of view, (the part that is seldom, if ever, non-biased.)
Reciprocally, taking the time to consider the perspectives of those around me, particularly those who are struggling emotionally with an issue, has allowed me to also gain clarity, objectivity and distance from the emotionality of their point of view; to take a rather clinical approach, if you will, toward understanding what they are thinking, feeling and experiencing, and how or why their actions may be correlated. My growing skill has proven to be invaluable.
Behind every confrontation, every misunderstanding and every flawed communication is a set of variables that set the stage... a story that leads in a quantum manner toward the trouble. Getting to that story and understanding those variables is the key to avoiding, or at least reducing the negative effect of the trouble. If we can make a sincere effort to understand where others are coming from, (even if we can't ever truly know how they feel, we can at least attempt to see what they see,) we can then retell their story in personal terms that allow us to adjust our reaction appropriately. Interpersonally speaking, to deal with the trouble at face value without knowing the story behind it is unproductive and usually leads to further symptomatic escalation... more confrontation, misunderstanding and miscommunication.
Do something smart... don't just put yourself in the shoes of those that challenge your patience, put yourself in their heads. Your response will be calm, objective, intelligent and appropriate... elements that, generally speaking, lead to improved relations.