Perspective is the Pathway to Connection and Empathy

We often get caught up in our own perspectives, justifying our views and creating emotional tension. However, by practising empathy and considering others' viewpoints, we can reduce conflict and improve our mental and physical health.

Celine Bentley

6/17/20241 min read

All of us can relate to seeing only our perspective or opinion on an issue or defending our perspective to the point of "justification" as to why our view is the correct one. Without realising it at the moment, we have created a "story" in our mind and the more we tell ourselves the story, the more we experience emotions attached to it. Physical tension occurs. The more we care about an issue, the less likely we are on our best behaviour.

Until that magical moment happens when we realise that listening to hear the other perspective doesn't mean "they are right" and we are wrong. It just means there are other views or other sides to the story. This moment may be when our view shifts to using the skill of empathy - when we imagine it from "their shoes".

When someone says "You are wrong" versus "I see it differently" we can experience a palpable drop in tension. It's less "jarring". Our boundaries, ethics and values can stay intact, but we get to reduce the tension that goes with needing to convince the person to see it our way. We may go on to learn that the issue isn't even intended as a personal attack. It's often about the other person's issues and sometimes the "demons" they are fighting which may be projected onto us.

Not only is it good for human connection to see all the sides to an issue or argument, but it is also better for our mental and physical health!

Credit to the wonderful illustration by Pejman Milani.

Stay curious and intentional,