Life is often a glass filled with half a cup of water. How much you are at peace with your life often depends the way you view a situation or perspective. An ability to postpone judgement, consider other people’s view-point can help to solve many of life challenges and resolve personal struggles.
Perspective-taking is the:
- Ability to see a bigger more wholistic picture of a situation, so as to counteract negative biases.
- Flexibility to see both the trees from the forest. That is seeing individual points within a larger frame of reference.
- Having a balanced view and knowing what is really important.
- Consideration of other people’s point of view and what they think.
Having a wise perspective requires:
- Self-knowledge including one’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Wisdom in bridging the gap between how you feel and what you think.
- Understand other people, their thoughts and feelings.
How to develop perspective-taking.
- Is any of my thinking distorted? Am I making unhelpful assumptions?
- What are my blind-spots? What are the facts that I don’t know, and how is it contributing to my reaction?
- Is there another way to reframe the situation and see it from a different angle?
- What is the most important thing that is needed in this situation? How does this relate to my values and believes?
- How urgent is this issue? Have I thought through the situation?
- What is the worst thing that can happen in this situation? Can any good come out of this?
- Will this matter in a week’s time, a month, a year…?
- If my friend was going through the same circumstances, what would I be saying to this friend?
Perspective taking requires more parts of the brain to work when we problem solve. The ‘mentalizing’ network that is activated in perspective-taking involves thinking out of the box, innovation and imagination. It involves thinking of past experiences to consider possible future situations. Consistant practice over time will help your mind to think wisely automatically.
Third Person Perspective
Taking a third person perspective is the practice of stepping outside of your own situation and sharing about yourself as a character in the story.
It is a helpful approach to detach oneself from sensitive and confusing situations so as to be more objective in one’s thoughts. When trying to solve personal problems, using the third person approach can help to reduce complicated emotions and give us a calmer mind to think things through.
There are many ways to do so. One way is to use your own name instead of referring to yourself as ‘I’. When asking a question about private matters, some people may refer to ‘someone I know’ rather then themselves