Understanding others

The easiest perspective to understand a situation from is your own. If you look back on past experiences you can get a good idea of why you respond the way you do, what gets you enraged and perhaps what helps you stay calm.

But a helpful perspective to try and understand is the perspective of others. For example, when you and Person A have a disagreement if you’re only willing to see things from your point of view you won’t get a full picture of the situation.

As much as you have past experiences that effect the way you are, challenges and even things stressing you out, you’re not alone in that. And so if you remember that Person A has all those same things too, it might make their perspective easier to understand.

Let’s say Person A lies to you. From your perspective you might be angry/hurt that they lied and wished that they could have been honest. But when you make the effort to understand things from Person As perspective you might realise that they have always been someone that struggles with opening up. Or you’ll remember that since you haven’t taken their honesty well in the past the lie probably wasn’t coming from a cruel or malicious place.

That doesn’t mean you need to excuse bad behaviour but it serves as a reminder that situations aren’t always as shallow as we like to pretend they are.

Understand others isn’t about psychoanalysing or thinking that you know everything about why a person is the way they are, it’s just about having compassion.

Even if we don’t say it, it’s what we’d like extended to us, so why not do the same for others.

Self-depreciating

But make it humorous.

How many times have you gone into a situation and rejected yourself or put yourself down before others had the chance?

And of course you don’t just say it out right, you make a joke because everyone likes to laugh. If it’s at your expense, maybe they’ll keep you around.

It’s interesting to identify the why behind your actions or the actions of others. It gives you a greater understanding and the opportunity to practice compassion.

So, maybe you could stop making those self deprecating jokes and try a vulnerable conversation with a friend (or someone else you’re comfortable talking to) instead.

Knowing when to leave (a message for the festive season and beyond)

Merry Christmas.

The festive season is an interesting time of year. You might have a wonderful time with loved ones having dinners, going to parties, going for drinks and catching up with those that are town to spend Christmas with their families.

But you might also find yourself in places you don’t want to be or don’t want to be in for a long time but it’s okay.

I’m currently learning the lesson that if you find yourself somewhere that you don’t want to be, leave (and that applies to life in general, not just for the festive season).

You don’t have to keep up appearances for the sake of trying to appease or to please. And sure it might feel uncomfortable leaving early or turning down an invite but it’s useful to get into the habit of being able to do what feels right for you.

I recently found myself in a place that I didn’t want to be, I suppose in hindsight you could call it an intuitive feeling, I knew that I needed to leave.

I was in a particular place and felt a little off, I waited a few moments to discern whether I needed to leave or if I just felt anxious. But I realised it wasn’t anxiety because I felt calm, so I decided to leave.

As soon as I left, I realised that I shouldn’t have been there in the first place but I also held compassion for myself (something else I’m learning to do).

A few years ago even if I wanted to leave my anxiety would have stopped me. I’d have forced myself to feel uncomfortable because back then I felt like I had to find a way to feel good in those situations. It never occurred to me that maybe there were some places that I just didn’t need to be.

So the message for today is don’t get so caught up in the festive season and the idea of having fun to the point where you forget to do what’s best for you.