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Gain perspective in a relationship
4 tips for seeing another point of view in your relationship
We tend to think that the way we view the world is the way the world really is. And when our partners disagree with us, it’s easy to think that they are the ones who are misinformed or have a distorted perception of reality. How else could they see things so differently? The truth is that our values and beliefs create our world, affecting our opinions and behaviors along with our perspective in a relationship.
But failing to understand that each individual is entitled to his or her own point of view is failing to appreciate what makes the other person who they really are. After all, you both are two unique individuals, with two unique backgrounds and life experiences that help form two unique perspectives. And those perspectives need to be respected and valued.
Seeing another point of view may be challenging at times. You’ll need to understand your partner’s perspective in communication and learn to adjust your own view accordingly. But with discipline, practice and emotional mastery, you will be able to find new ways of understanding your partner’s point of view. And by doing so, you will not only find that you can enrich your vision of reality, but that you can create a new level of intimacy in your relationship.
What is perspective in a relationship?
Your perspective in a relationship is affected by your limiting beliefs, your needs and the rules you’ve developed that determine what you expect from the partnership. If you’re coming from a place of insecurity, you may take a distrustful perspective in your relationships, always assuming that your partner is cheating or doesn’t really love you. On the other hand, if your perspective is one of self-love and confidence, you’ll be more able to create a supportive and trusting relationship.
Why is seeing things from others’ perspectives important?
Just as everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, we all bring different perspectives to our lives that are based on our previous experiences. No one perspective is more valid than any other. In fact, the ability to change your perspective in communication and in relationships is a key element of emotional intelligence, or your ability to empathize and connect with others. This type of intelligence doesn’t just help you create fulfilling relationships – it’s also essential to advancing in your career, influencing others and more.
How to understand your partner’s perspective
Communication in relationships is the key to a long-lasting partnership – but seeing another point of view doesn’t always come naturally. Use these four strategies to see your partner’s perspective in a relationship.
1. Learn how to listen
Your partner has demonstrated time and time again their perspective in a relationship – what beliefs, thoughts and feelings are most important to them. But you, in turn, have likely only absorbed a mere fraction of this information. If you want to truly deepen your understanding of your partner’s subjective reality, you need to condition yourself to listen and communicate more effectively.
One of the first steps to effective listening and communication is paying attention to what words mean to your partner. Even though you and your partner speak the same language, you both have your own private meanings and interpretations that you associate with different words and phrases. This is the result of growing up in different environments with different life experiences. Practicing deep listening can help you break through communication barriers and understand your partner on a deeper level.
2. Break unproductive patterns
There are also challenges to overcome with perspective in communication. Often, when a couple disagrees, it is easy for one or both to slip into subconscious patterns like denial, in which they outright refuse to believe what the other has to say. Some individuals also tend to tap into an arsenal of weapons to help validate their point – whether that means condemning their partner, ignoring them or even threatening them.
In every one of these cases, one person is diminishing the other’s sense of self and replacing it with their own self-serving perspective, which is damaging to the relationship. Seeing another point of view takes more work than resorting to old patterns and bad habits, but it’s worth it.
3. Ask these three questions
Rather than telling your partner that only a portion of his or her perspective in a relationship is acceptable, and adding further insult and injury to their sense of self, focus on helping your partner step out of their pain. And rather than seeing your partner’s differing views as potential for conflict, consider it an opportunity to learn more about them. Instead, try asking:
- What are you seeing that I am not?
- What have you experienced in your past that has led you to this belief?
- How can I use this as an opportunity to know you better?
When you become more receptive to your partner’s perspective in a relationship, there can also be a shift in the energy. Your partner will feel more understood and therefore feel safer and more secure since you are no longer challenging their beliefs or feelings. The more secure someone feels in a relationship, the more they will be willing to open up. They will choose to share information with you because they have trust in what you will do with it – that is, they trust you will not use it against them, but use it as a way to understand them better. And that in itself is a gift.
Your partner will also no longer feel the need to amplify their feelings in order to feel heard. And you, in turn, can express how you feel with less force. This helps each of you lower your defenses, and become more willing to recognize and truly understand the other’s perspective.
4. Put your relationship first
Remember: You always have a choice. And you can resolve conflict by choosing to put your relationship first. By making the effort to understand your partner’s perspective in a relationship, you are making the effort to bridge the divide between you and your partner as separate individuals with different views on the world. You are strengthening the connection and introducing a new dynamic of trust, where your partner feels that they will be accepted and understood no matter how far their feelings or beliefs deviate from your own.
Understandably, there may be certain situations in which you find seeing another point of view almost impossible. At those moments, perhaps finding empathy or compassion is the furthest thing from your mind. But those most challenging times also present the most room for growth. You are setting your ego aside to focus on putting your partner first. And you are turning away from anger and fear and choosing to bring love and security into the relationship.
The journey toward a healthy, happy relationship is never a straight line. But at the end of the day, seeing things from others’ perspectives will help you become more conscious in your relationship. It will help your partner feel more loved, more vital and more secure. And it will help you create the extraordinary relationship you deserve.