👀 The importance of points of view
and of trying to be empathetic to other people's points of view.
(4 minutes reading)
🇮🇹 👉 Italian version [LINK HERE]
An event seen from one point of view gives one impression.
Seen from another point of view, it gives quite a different impression.
It's only when you get the whole picture that you fully understand what's going on.
The Guardian's 1986 'Points of view' advert [LINK HERE]
👉 Today I start with this advert from 1986, which I think is very up-to-date, to talk about points of view and their importance.
I was recently in the middle of a discussion where I saw different ways of doing things, of understanding the joke and of understanding the subject of the discussion. What I didn't see from the two parties involved was a willingness to see the other's point of view. To put aside one's own conviction to try to understand the other.
Everyone stuck to their position.
The result: an ugly discussion, which has ended badly, where both sides think they are right and I don't think they will talk to each other for a while.
However, as the saying goes, never argue with a fool.
📌 I don't want to offend the parties involved, but what was really missing it was trying to understand the other person. Trying to understand if the other person was serious or joking.
Trying to ask what he really meant by those words.
There was a lack of willingness to try to see the other person's point of view and also the "full picture".
It happens. Especially when what we are talking about touches us deeply or it's a subject close to our heart.
And it is on these occasions that Chimamanda Adichie's Ted Talk comes to mind: the dangers of a single story.
The writer, talking about her personal history, explains how the context in which she lived influenced her thinking in one direction. Consequently her way of telling and writing stories. She had, in the end, only one point of view: the one she had always been told and read about.
Until she discovered that it was not the only possible point of view, it was not the only story that existed, and so she decided to change the way she saw things and write them differently.
📽 You can watch it here:
👀 Seeing things through someone else's eyes or more simply trying to be empathetic and really trying to understand the other person, understand their emotions and state of mind, or more simply, get in sync with the person in front of us.
Empathy is an important emotional and social skill. It is like trying to put on someone else's clothes to get closer to the way they feel, and it is from this concept that the expression 'putting oneself in someone else's shoes' comes.
🤝 It's not always easy. For this reason, especially if we find ourselves talking to someone who doesn't agree with us, these advices of the Psychotherapist Simona Rattà, can be useful:
Say you care. Before anything else, make sure you strengthen the relationship you have with the other person, even with a simple sentence like: 'I want to respect you and appreciate your point of view'.
Avoid "ifs" and "buts". Express the idea that everyone's opinions are relevant, beyond personal convictions and ideals, without "ifs" and "buts".
Most conflicts have hidden fears underneath. Examining and sharing each other's fears can move things in a more fruitful direction.
Share your sources of information. Articles, books we use to support our thesis are important, but be prepared for the chance of them being criticised.
Do not hold the past against us. "If we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we will find that we have lost the future." Winston Churchill
🔗 If you'd like to read more, here there is the link to the post from which I got these ideas, however it’s in Italian [LINK HERE].
📜 👉 Points of view. Empathy. Difficult discussions. What do you think? Have you ever found yourself with stakeholders with a single point of view?
Let me know in the comments!
As always, I'm happy to help you learn more. If you'd like to have a sparring partner or have a chat about this or other topics, feel free to leave a comment and I'll be in touch.
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