Diet Cola and Another Perspective

Carolyn Rexius's picture

Diet Cola and Another PerspectiveI love Diet Cola. I know- not the greatest thing for me, but listen to this example from my guilty pleasure. I was sitting with a client once with my Diet Cola can on the table between us. She was having difficulty seeing things from her husband’s perspective. I picked up the can and said, “Describe what you see on the can for me. “ She said, “Well, there’s a big Cola logo and a kind of red swoosh thing right underneath it.” I looked at her with a puzzled expression.

“What about the nutritional information, where’s that?” Well from her vantage point the nutritional information was hidden. At the same time, I couldn't see the Cola logo and the red swoosh thing. We were both looking at the same can but we were coming at it from two different perspectives. She got my point and I think you probably do too. Two people can be looking at the same exact situation- whether it’s a problem at home, at work, something to do with the kids or just a lack of communication, and see things totally differently. Our point of view is shaped by our background, personality, history and temperament. In our relationships it’s our job to try to see and understand the other person’s point of view.

In fact, that’s one aspect of developing Emotional Intelligence. It’s learning to slow down and see things from another’s perspective.

“Did my husband just say something because of a core hurt in his life?”
“Did my wife just respond in a way that may reflect something in her past?”

We never know completely what another person is thinking- or feeling at any given moment. But by taking a step back and considering that there may be another point of view is a great way to improve our communication and our relationships.