Yesterday, on Valentine’s Day, I used almost the last of our garden-grown potatoes (Norkotah Russets) for heart-shaped, homemade french fries. I got the idea on Pinterest, so no “creative mom of the year” award here, but a great idea! I am just a lover of Valentine’s Day, so I seek to show my family extra love. The golden fries looked great on the dinner table!
As I said, in this pursuit I used nearly the last of our stored russet potatoes from the fall harvest. These potatoes were not at all in perfect condition. The peels are no longer usable, they are sprouting and look like the picture below. However, I peeled these potatoes and found that the inside is still usable and makes yummy heart-shaped french fries.
What does the word perspective mean to you? Are you able to consider another person’s perspective? It can be challenging, right? After all, we find our own perspective to be so much better! It is right! It is the only way. Hmmmm, or is it?
Guess what I uncovered–surprise! There are generally many perspectives, possibilities, and solutions from each person we interact with. We just need the willingness, the patience and the wherewithal to get curious, value others, ask them in sincerity, and then actively listen. We must possess a “work through it” attitude to be present with the other person sufficient to truly understand their perspective, what they value and how they think and feel.
The key to gaining and integrating these skills starts with how we see and value other people. Do we see them for just their outside peel? Do we see them as not like us, but instead as rough around the edges and sprouting out of control? Do we come to know and consider their journey? Do we look past the superficial to the inner meat, that part of human beings that can be good and so very valuable?
Do we view others with the grace that we grant ourselves? Can we put our ego aside? Do we offer humanity to others? We are vulnerable, mistake-making, trying-our-best-in-our-circumstances people. We are people that need a tender word rather than criticism, and we need to be given the benefit of the doubt. We are people who physically need hugs (for survival), someone to cry to. We often act badly, we have wacko emotions, and at times we just need an exceptional therapist. Yes, we just gotta find a way to view others as essentially good people who are worth the time and effort to understand their perspective.
This is not often easy! For example, I am challenged when my eleven-year-old will not get in the van until she is sure her accompanying playthings will surround her properly, or when my dear Midnight Gardner wants to be sure I understand his instructions for the second (or third) time. I am sure you can think of your own family members or friends who require what seems to you to be considerable effort before they feel their perspective has been shared and understood. No, it is not easy but it is the needful and right thing to do.
Interested in some useful reading related to the topic? I read or listened to both of these books this summer and I highly recommend both books. They are not new books but they are still valid and insightful on how to be more at peace with ourselves and in our relationships. Finally, the article is one suggested by The Midnight Gardener.
Feeling Good by David Burns
Feeling Good Together by David Burns
Taking On Another’s Perspective by Naphtali Hoff