My perspective is my reality, which is often the source of my problems.  Of course, I’m very good at seeing things my way.  I’ve had over 50 years of practice doing so.  Unfortunately, I forget the same holds true for others.  Differing perspectives, without some degree of empathy or understanding, often breeds hostility.  My second born son taught me this lesson.

Micah once told me, “When I’m talking to you, you’re not listening; you’re too busy thinking about what you’re going to say next.”  Darn him, being right.  When I feel challenged, my energy is spent defending my position.  My “input” is sealed off and the “output” valve is on full force.  I bury myself deep in my own trench of understanding, trying to drag others in.  Unfortunately, we all to do this to some degree, which is why we often can’t find common ground.

Starting with and understanding the perspective of others does not mean we have to agree – but it does increase the likelihood problems can be broached with less judgment and hostility.  Once I really tried to understand Micah’s reality rather than trying to convince him to see things my way, we were able to find an ounce of common ground and work through our challenges. 

For me, trying to change my egocentric belief system of “I know best” is my biggest roadblock.  Though difficult, my goal is to better venture outside my own trench and try to consider the perspective of others before defaulting to my own.  I’m certain it’s not the only answer, but it’s a good first step.