Is the glass half empty or half full? Is the Mona Lisa smiling? Are roller coasters thrilling or are they terrifying? Your answers to these questions may be very different from someone else, and quite possibly may even be different from how you would have answered them as a child.
Perspective is an almost magical concept because many of us can look at or experience the exact same thing, but somehow see or feel things that are quite the opposite! This is largely because perspective is a personalized concept that is grounded by both where one physically stands as well as where they’ve stood before.
Research suggests that our past experiences, how we interpret them, and the feelings they create stick with us and can influence our future perspective, feelings, and actions, for better or for worse. For example, someone who grew up near train tracks may find the sound of busy rails relaxing to fall asleep to, while someone else may be kept up by the perceived racket.
Keeping mindful of this, if we practice self-awareness while navigating various situations, we are better able to reflect on why we may feel a certain way about one thing or another and understand when someone else may not share that same feeling. This process is the first step to truly unpacking perspective taking, which plays a vital role in empathetic thinking and communication.
The 4 Parts to Successful Perspective Taking
1. Set aside your thoughts, feelings, motivations & intentions, momentarily
2. Consider others’ thoughts, feelings, motivations & intentions
3. Determine whether or not your behavior should change based on that information
4. Make any necessary changes
Students who improve their perspective taking are better able to:
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Georgia and a professional school counselor. My passion is helping students identify success opportunities in the areas of academic development, personal social development, and career development