Why Seeing Another Viewpoint Benefits You and Others

We are drawn to people who understand us.

Who can peek into our world.

We sense they know us.

We feel seen and heard. Connected with them.

We tell them a sad story and they sympathize.

They ask questions. Wanting to better understand.

We tell them our dreams and they don’t laugh. Our hurts, and they don’t recoil, but instead offer bandages and encouragement. We give them a glimpse of our true self we usually hide, and they don’t judge.

What do these people have that draws us to them? They have the ability to get out of themselves and see another point of view. One different than their own.

The benefits of seeing other viewpoints is numerous to us and those around us. Seeing other perspectives makes us better people and will improve our relationships.The benefits of seeing other viewpoints is numerous to us and those around us. Seeing other perspectives makes us better people and will improve our relationships.

 

Interacting with people lacking this characteristic.

 

I think we all know someone who lacks this characteristic. To see a different view point than their own.

We tell them our dream, and because it isn’t what they would do, our dream is shot down by them.

We share our feelings, and they belittle them. Maybe question therm. Tell us we are wrong to feel that way.

We try and talk about our self, and they shift the conversation back to be about them.

They work hard to win an argument, because they can only see their side, and of course it is right (to them).

We tell them something sad, like our dad died, they say they are sorry, and then march right on with their agenda.

It seems impossible for them to mourn with us or rejoice with us.

All conversation keeps coming back to them.

We don’t feel listened to, encouraged, understood, or hardly acknowledged when we leave their presence.

The benefits of seeing other viewpoints is numerous to us and those around us. Seeing other perspectives makes us better people and will improve our relationships.

 

What is wrong?

 

What is different about these two people?

What makes us thrive and bloom in the presence of one, and shrink and feel neglected and unseen in the presence of the other?

One can step out of themselves and see another point of view than their own. The other can’t (or rarely does). They cannot (or refuse to) see and acknowledge another viewpoint than their own.

We may call them self-centered. Self-absorbed. Extremely selfish. And even a narcissist.

But one trait they all share is they all lack the desire or ability to see different perspectives. To put themselves in another person’s place. To look at something from another point of view.

They see and acknowledge only their point of view. Their perspective. Their ideas, opinions, and arguments. And unless you need them to remind you again, only their opinions, ideas, argument, feelings, and point-of view is correct. Well according to them. And they are quick to tell you that yours is wrong when it disagrees or differs with theirs.

The benefits of seeing other viewpoints is numerous to us and those around us. Seeing other perspectives makes us better people and will improve our relationships.

So why does this matter?

 

We as humans are able to have empathy, compassion and sympathize with others only if we can see (this doesn’t mean agree with) or understand to some extent the other person’s point of view.

Maybe we have a friend who gets quiet and visibly anxious every time there is a conflict. We may encourage them to be more assertive. More direct. But when we learn that every time there was a conflict in her childhood home her parents were verbally abusive to each other and to the children, a light goes on in our head. Suddenly we understand her behavior. We see her point of view and why she gets quiet. She is bracing herself for the storm.

We have put our self in her shoes. We have demonstrated empathy. Which is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another without having experienced the exact same thing.

We won’t tell her to suck it up. Quit being a wimp. Tell her she is too sensitive. Or belittle her.

No, we will demonstrate compassion. Which is showing sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. It is understanding the pain of another and trying to lessen it.

We will say we are sorry she grew up in a household like that. That we understand her anxiety during conflict. We will encourage her and sympathize with her. And our advice will take her background and experiences into account.

The benefits of seeing other viewpoints is numerous to us and those around us. Seeing other perspectives makes us better people and will improve our relationships.

 

Benefits of seeing another viewpoint. 

 

There are many advantages to being able to see other points of views.

This trait allows us to show compassion. Empathy. Kindness. Tenderness. Care and concern. Patience. Love. Long suffering. Gentleness. Mercy. Grace.

Seeing a point of view other than our own helps us understand people. Helps us forgive people. Keeps us from being so judgmental and critical. Lessons our hypocrisy. Assists us in releasing anger against others.

Seeing the world and people from a perspective other than our own helps us rejoice with those around us and mourn with those around us.

And just because we can see another’s point of view, does not mean we agree with them. But it does allow us to better understand them and their decisions.

Seeing other point of views helps us better understand our self. It can change or validate our feelings, thoughts, and viewpoint. It helps us learn and grow.

It helps us be better parents. Bosses, Employees. Neighbors. Children. Friends. Citizens.

It encourages us to be less selfish and self-focused.

And it makes us more like Jesus.

The benefits of seeing other viewpoints is numerous to us and those around us. Seeing other perspectives makes us better people and will improve our relationships.

 

Jesus is our model of someone who can identify with other viewpoints.

 

He wasn’t content to imagine what being a human was like. He came down to experience it.

He knows what it is like to be hungry. To be so tired your eyes keep closing and your head is nodding up and down. He understands what cold feels like and how a tasty meal can be the highlight of a day.

He knows what it is like to scrape a knee. Struggle to learn something new. Live in an unperfect family. Have the town gossip about you.

He knows what it is like to obey parents. To feel the wind blow. To laugh at a joke. To walk far on a hot day.

He knows about being a human and all that goes with it because he willingly humbled himself so he could better empathize, sympathize, and understand us.

He wanted to know our point of view. What it was like to live in an unperfect world with sin and suffering. Kindness and hate. Joy and unrest. Love and anger.

We are told he experienced it all and can empathize with us as our brother.

And his attitude demonstrates this.

He didn’t tell the lame man that he should have been a vegan and taken his vitamins, no he had compassion on him and healed him.

He didn’t lecture the lady caught in adultery and recite her sins to all who would listen, making her the object of a lecture so others could learn from her bad example. No, he had compassion on her and told her to sin no more.

He offered her grace. What she did not earn or deserve.

And he offers us the same.

The benefits of seeing other viewpoints is numerous to us and those around us. Seeing other perspectives makes us better people and will improve our relationships.

 

The dangers of seeing only our viewpoint.

 

Our enemy want us to keep our eyes focused only on our self. To see only our perspective. To promote our beliefs and opinions.

He doesn’t want us to see other perspectives. To put our self in another person’s point of view.

Because then we bond and connect with that person. We develop empathy and compassion. We better understand them and sympathize with them.

No, he wants us to criticize, judge, hold a grudge, think of ourselves as superior to them. Accuse instead of ask questions. Fight with them. Hold them in contempt. Adhere to only our viewpoint and consider none other.

But God’s way is to be open to other viewpoints. To love others and God, we have to be open to and consider their viewpoints.

And to become more like Christ, don’t we have to adopt and consider and strive to replace our viewpoint with his view point?

The benefits of seeing other viewpoints is numerous to us and those around us. Seeing other perspectives makes us better people and will improve our relationships.

 

What can we do?

 

We can develop our empathy and compassion muscles by taking the time and energy to listen to others. Ask questions. And try to understand them and their point of view.

The neat thing is God made us all different. We have different personalities. Gifts and talents. Different things motivate us. Make us sad and happy. We laugh at different jokes. Cry at different movies. Have different favorite foods, colors, and decorating styles. We grew up in different families, environments, and do different jobs.

Let’s be curious and broaden our horizons and thinking.

We can learn more about our self. Examine and understand our view point so we can change and overwrite the flaws we see. Having self-awareness helps us throw off the chains that are slowing us down and keeping us in bad habits.

We can learn to see other perspectives. So we can better love, understand, and connect with those around us. So we become God’s hands and feet to a world who needs grace and compassion.

Above all, we need to see, understand, and develop God’s perspective. His viewpoint is full of truth, grace, and mercy. Which will lead us to be more compassionate and empathetic to our self and others.

The benefits of seeing other viewpoints is numerous to us and those around us. Seeing other perspectives makes us better people and will improve our relationships.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa


Having trouble enjoying life? Reconciling your current reality with how you wish life really was? Get a free PDF with 12 tips to help you enjoy your life right now. Subscribe and join the journey. You will also receive weekly encouragement and hope tied up with some humor. Because life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the Discussion: How has seeing other viewpoints helped you? 

The benefits of seeing other viewpoints is numerous to us and those around us. Seeing other perspectives makes us better people and will improve our relationships.

May link up at Kelly Balarie (#purposeful faitht), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Maree Dee (#Grace & Truth), Anita Ojeda (#inspirememonday), and Mary Geison (#tellhisstory).

 

The benefits of seeing other viewpoints is numerous to us and those around us. Seeing other perspectives makes us better people and will improve our relationships.

Why It’s Hard to Be a Gracious Receiver

At the convenience store tucked along a corridor of the Atlanta airport, I am next in line to pay for my bottles of water and packages of string cheese.

I un-tuck the water from my arms and hand her my credit card. She swipes the card.

“Denied,” she says.

She swipes it again.

“I’m sorry,” she says, handing me the card. “It’s been denied twice.”

My mind races. My purse with other cards is back at the gate.

“Does it say why?” I ask.

“No.”

Then I remember how we are headed out of the country. “Must be because of the travel notification I placed on the card saying we would be out of the country starting today,” I say. Trying to explain it to myself and her.

I mumble, embarrassed, that I will return with another card.

But when I arrive at the gate, the plane is beginning to board.

“Forget the water,” my husband says, “we will be boarding soon.”

I gather my backpack and wait for our section to be called.

I notice a lady is standing nearby, handing me a plastic bag. “This is yours,” she says.

I glance at her and the bag. I’ve seen neither before. And I must look confused.

“It’s your water,” she says, holding the bag closer. “We are on the same flight. I heard about your card and got it for you.”

I smile and thank her. Then she is gone, gathering her own items for boarding.

My son steps up. “Mom, what’s in the bag?”

I tell him about trying to buy the water, my card being denied, and the lady paying for my purchases and bringing them to me.

“That’s so nice,” he says.

And it is. She didn’t need to do it. But what a blessing that she did. Her kindness lifts my spirits and I feel taken care of. Seen.

But I also feel a bit weird. Like maybe I need to rush over and hand her cash to refund her.

Or find something to do for her.

For a second, I wonder what I did to deserve this.

Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.

What are your internal thoughts when receiving?

 

Probably something similar has happened to you.

Someone passing on a little kindness.

Blessing your day.

Seeing you need help.

Stopping to notice you for a moment.

And I am sure you do, and have done, random act of kindness for others.

But what are your thoughts and how do you feel when someone gives you something?

Gratitude? Or embarrassment?

Thankfulness? Or thinking you don’t deserve it?

Amazement? Or wondering what they want in return?

Happiness? Or thinking there is something wrong with the person to give you something?

Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.

 

Why it’s hard to be a gracious receiver.

 

If you are like me, you are a doer. And probably feel best when you are the one doing the act of kindness.

Maybe because then we feel like we are in control. (We decide where, who, when, etc. )

Maybe because it is a bit scary to be on the receiving end. (What if we don’t like what they are giving? Or would rather do it our self? Or have someone else do it?)

Maybe we don’t want to be indebted to others. Or think strings will be attached.

Maybe we see receivers as selfish, and we don’t want to be selfish.

Maybe we feel we don’t deserve the thing given. Or haven’t earned it.

Maybe we have heard the verse, it’s better to give than receive, and we want to be the givers. (They do sound more important, don’t they?)

Maybe we just have a hard time receiving due to our childhood, feeling of worth, background experiences, or our thoughts on giving and receiving.

Whatever the reason, my guess is that some people would rather be on the giving end. And they have a hard time being on the receiving end.

Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.

Learning to graciously receive gifts from others.

 

It can be hard to be on the receiving end. I would rather give than receive.

One Christmas season I was mainly in bed due to morning sickness. I was worried my husband would forget to get me a gift. And then when he gave me a ring, which I thought was rather extravagant, I was worried that he spent too much. And of course, said so. Taking some of his joy as the giver.

You see, I wanted a gift, but on my terms and guidelines. (Which isn’t very nice to the giver, because if they don’t do it right, according to us, then we can get blamed for not doing it right).

Over the years, I have come to realize I need to do a better job at receiving gifts. To receive them with without feeling indebted. To receive them joyfully.

I know I don’t want to do acts of service for others and then get grilled about my gift

Be questioned about my motives.

Be told it was unnecessary. A waste of money or time. Or told I did it wrong.

And neither do others.

It leaves a sour taste in the giver’s mouth, and our prideful mouth too.

We need to learn to be appreciative and gracious receivers.

Take the focus off our self and put it on them. They don’t give gifts or do things for us because we earned it or deserve it. But because they want to.

When our five-year-old gives us a back rub that feels like a tickle fest on our back, say thank you.

When a friend brings us a dinner of minestone soup, when we had a hankering for fried chicken, tell them what a blessing they are.

When someone motions for us go first at the four-way stop, graciously nod your head and go first.

When someone gives us what we consider an extravagant gift, stop your mouth from saying anything unkind. A thank you, a big hug, and a smile will do.

When someone offers to babysit, say yes and thank you.

When your kid throws their arms around you and says they love you, quit thinking about how you are not a good enough mom, and love them back.

Learn to receive the gift without scorn, guilt, embarrassment, or thinking they should not go to all that trouble.

Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.

 

We need both, so be a grateful receiver.

 

My dad used to say, “We need receivers for there to be givers.”

He was a giver. He did for others. Served at church. Fixed wash machines of single mothers. Gave gas money for families in need. Took his neighbor grocery shopping. Listened to people no one had time to listen to.

I know it was hard for him to be on the receiving end of someone doing for him. He was lecturing himself too.

But he was right. If we were all givers, who would be receiving? And without receivers, how would the givers be blessed?

We want to be gracious receivers.

Receivers of the gifts from those around us.

Receivers of God’s free gifts. Which can most definitely seem extravagant. (Especially on our not so good days.)

He gives grace, not scorn. Forgiveness, not condemnation. Blessings not curses. Good, not bad gifts.

Not because we deserve them. Or have earned them. But because he loves us. Wants to shower them on us. Because he sees us and knows us intimately. Because he sees us through Christ’s worthiness and work. Because we are part of his family.

Let’s be grateful receivers. It’s one of the best gifts we can give the giver.

Joyful for what we are given.

Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.

 

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa


Having trouble enjoying life? Reconciling your current reality with how you wish life really was? Get a free PDF with 12 tips to help you enjoy your life right now. Subscribe and join the journey. You will also receive weekly encouragement and hope tied up with some humor. Because life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the discussion: How do you feel on the receiving end? What has someone done for you that surprised you?

Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.

May link up at Kelly Balarie (#purposeful faitht), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Maree Dee (#Grace & Truth), and Kristin Hill Taylor (#porchstories).

Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.

Why is it harder to receive gifts, than give gifts. Stop being critical of them or yourself. Receiving gifts graciously is a gift we can give the giver.

 

To the Woman Who Gets Hurt by Words

We hadn’t been married that long when my husband said, “Theresa why do you take everything so personally?”

Which offended me more than his previous comment had, which yes, I was taking personally.

Does this happen to you? Do you find yourself bristling, mentally arguing, and feeling beat up from other people’s comments? (And we are not talking about comments from our enemies or less liked tribespeople. We are talking about comments from people who love you. People like your mate, kids, friends, and co-workers?)

I know I did every time my husband tried to give me constructive criticism, offer reminders, give advice, or be helpful.

It happened with small thing.

“Turn on your blinker,” he would say while I was driving, and I would think he was putting down my driving ability.

It happened with bigger things.

“Do you think it’s the baby’s bedtime?” felt like he was questioning my ability as a mother.

“That dress does not look as good as some of your other ones. I wouldn’t wear it again,” made me think, “What does he know about fashion?

It didn’t take long before we fell into a predictable habit.

I would silently fume and bristle, and he would think I took everything to personally.

Now before you take sides, I want you to realize it was my perceptions about myself that was derailing me. His comments were just highlighting the false expectations I had of myself.

To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.

When our self-perception gets tied to our worth.

 

I grew up craving approval from my mother.

I also thought I needed to earn love. And one way to earn love from my mother and God was to be perfect. Or so I thought.

Being perfect was my goal. And for a short while I thought I was succeeding more than failing.

Then I got married. And then children came along.

And I slowly realized I was striving for the wind and was far from perfect. Ultimately it didn’t matter. Because God and others still loved me.

Eventually I realized that the dance my husband and I engaged in was partly my fault.

I would pout. Get silent. And sometimes lash back because I felt my husband was being critical, putting me down, and pointing out my faults / weaknesses. How could he love me if he started seeing my flaws? Or so I thought.

I was full of insecurity, and it was showing. Big time.

I was taking his advice, his reminders, his helpful opinions, and turning them into attacks and put downs.

I was putting me worth into my performance (my desire to perform at near perfection and feeling shame when I didn’t).

I wasn’t putting my worth in who God says I am. Worthy forever because he is forever worthy.

I wasn’t allowing myself to be human and make mistakes.

I was forgetting that God’s compassion never fails.

And I forgot my husband had compassion too, and that he saw my weaknesses and still loved me, just like God does.

It wasn’t all his fault.

My self-belief that I had to be perfect was tripping me up. Causing me to fall into self-shame, blaming others for my reactions, and the feeling of “not being enough” over and over again.

To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.

Hurtful words versus helpful words.

 

Advice. Helpful reminders. Different opinions. Criticism. All these can be hard to take graciously. Hard to hear. And I am talking about loving, constructive criticism, not mean-spirited criticism that is disguised as trying to help you put downs and attacks. (And yes, I know many of us have been on the receiving end of this type of negative and soul crushing criticism more than we can count. I am in no way condoning this type, nor do I approve of it masquerading as being helpful or loving. Because it is not.)

But sometimes those who love us are trying to help us in a loving manner. And we need to hear their words. And perceive their words as trying to be helpful, instead of instantly thinking they are finding fault with us and trying to shame us.

A lesson which took me awhile (okay years) to learn. And one I am still learning.

It is something I am trying to teach my kids. When I lovingly correct them, I am trying to help them. Yes, it can be hard to hear we are not as perfect as we believe ourselves to be, but to grow we need some loving feedback.

Not only did I need to change my perception about myself (needing to be perfect in order to be loved), but I also needed to change my perception about criticism (not all criticism is bad).

Now I am not saying I have achieved perfection in this area, or even success, but I will say I am getting better.

To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.

9 tips to deal with hurtful words. 

 

Here are some things that have helped me deal with words that seem hard to hear. Words that I immediately bristle at and want to define as an attack:

1. Ask if there is any truth in what they are saying. If the truth meter does not register at least 60 -70% truth, then don’t waste your time trying to evaluate if their words can be useful. (They are probably just attacking you and speaking in anger.)

2. Pause to look at the situation from their point of view. Are they trying to help you? Remind you? Hurt you? Their wording may not be as mild as you would like (and something you would definitely tweak if you could), but are their intentions good and pure?

Separate what the person is saying from how they are saying it. My husband is direct, a man of few words. He gets right to the point, which tends to catch me off balance. I want a paragraph and maybe some side stepping before you step on my toes. But that is not his style. Over time he has tried to be less harsh and I have tried to not get so offended by his launching right into his message.

3. Limit your self-talk to the actions they are talking about. Not you as a person. Being late does not make you a bad person. It only makes us human. Don’t start beating yourself up and make it bigger in your mind when someone is only addressing an action.

4. Don’t get hooked by their comments. Separate yourself from the criticism. Look at it from outside your body, as if you are your friend, and evaluate what is said. Our instant response is often generated by our self-perceptions and past and may not be the intent of the speaker.

Ask yourself, what is the goal of the person who is speaking? To get you side railed. Upset you. Vent. Bring up the past. Help you. Etc.

5. Tell yourself the truth, especially God’s truth. You are more than your actions. Loved faults and all. Especially after harsh and critical words that leave you wounded.

6. Realize everyone is entitled to their own opinions, thoughts, and perceptions (which will often be different from yours). So, they don’t like your yellow paint. You do. Agree to disagree and try not to take it personally.

7. Take responsibility for only what you can control. Your own actions and thoughts. Not their thoughts, words, anger, perceptions, etc.

8. Try to catch yourself (even if it a day after the incident) when you jumping to shame and blame because that is how you were raised or because it is your default method or internal self-talk.

Determine if a false self-perception is tripping you up. Are you thinking you need to be perfect? That everyone is out to get you? That you are not loveable with faults? That if people only knew the truth they would not like or love you? That you will never be enough? Are you trying to prove your mother, father, coach, or someone else wrong?

9. Run the words or scenario past a friend and see how they interrupt the scenario.

I do this a lot with my sister. Having an unbiased opinion often provides a lot of clarity. Sometimes she reminds me that I am making too much out of the situation and to just let it go.

To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.

Change takes time.

 

I know this is a long list.

And no, neither your or I can do all of these tips with every situation, or even during the conversation. But we can do many of these after the conversation and see if our initial response was correct or false. We can see if we need to take the words to heart or toss them aside.

We can replay the scenario and decide what we would do next time. Which prepares us for more success in the future. And allows us to learn from the incident.

We can become more aware of the words others are using and how those words are causing us to miss-perceive things about our self and them.

Like always, give yourself grace. Lots of it. Life is a process of learning and growing.

So, celebrate your steps on this journey, no matter how small.

To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa


Having trouble enjoying life? Reconciling your current reality with how you wish life really was? Get a free PDF with 12 tips to help you enjoy your life right now. Subscribe and join the journey. You will also receive weekly encouragement and hope tied up with some humor. Because life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the Discussion: Do you find yourself sensitive to words? How do you deal with hurtful words. 

To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.

May link up at Kelly Balarie (#purposeful faitht), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Maree Dee (#Grace & Truth), and Kristin Hill Taylor (#porchstories).

To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.

To the woman who gets hurt by words, here are 9 tips to deal with hurtful words.