When you have been hurt by a family member or loved one, you can truly heal by seeing their point of view. “But they are wrong!” you might say to yourself. Or you might scream to yourself “I am F-ing RIGHT!!.” While putting up a fight might seem like the right and logical thing to do in the moment, it’s not always the best path in the long run. The first step you must take in this situation is to acknowledge and validate your own feelings about what is happening. Also consider if any past unresolved experiences are contributing to the current emotionally charged situation. Then, take a few slow, deep breaths.
Next, you can try this simple exercise when you have to see someone you have been in conflict with. You can heal by going with the flow and seeing the situation from their point of view. Let me explain…
Their Point of View is Actually Still a Point and a View
Understanding someone’s motives when they have hurt you is extremely difficult. Yet, for human growth, it is important to try to see from all angles. It takes a very strong person to do this, so kudos on trying at all. Most don’t. You’re ahead of the game already.
You see, every person is motivated (usually) by similar things: their basic needs, the need to feel loved, and the need to feel understood. We’re all humans after all… And, we live in a chaotic world where we really don’t know what’s next each day. Fear can oftentimes consume even the most put-together of us.
An Exercise in Perspective
In our counseling practice, my team and I use journaling as a way to self-reflect and work on our emotional responses. Journaling also helps us gain clarity and work on our goals. It also acts as a filter when we have angry thoughts, which can very much be the case when a loved one has “wronged us in our minds.”
Here is an exercise to try when you will be encountering the person who hurt you (perhaps repeatedly such as a relative at the holidays or someone in your workplace for example.).
First, Journal from Your Point of View, Then Theirs, Then Burn It
Write down the experience first from your side. You can include every little detail so that you get it out of your mind and onto the paper. Include the reasons why what they did (or didn’t do) hurt your soul. It’s okay to be self-indulgent here. This is your point of view, just get it all out. The paper is there to be your filter.
Next, (and this is an important part of the healing) challenge yourself to write down the same event from their point of view. This can be a stretch. It can be really hard to do. Especially when you feel you still are the victim in the situation (and perhaps rightly so!). Consider the human needs hierarchy, their past, their present and why on earth something may motivate them to react or act in the way they side. Write down their whole story.
Feel like you got both sides down? Okay. Now, get a metal waste bin or lay wet paper towels down in the sink. Get a match or lighter. Next step? Burn that motherfucker. Watch it burn and with it, you might find a little piece of pain burning away with it.
Healing from Practicing Perspective Exercises
Regularly practicing empathy and letting go in this way can really heal you heal from painful (and repeatedly painful) experiences with others. For example, many of us do not choose our family. Yes, there are friends we choose who become like family, however, most of us have family members who we wouldn’t necessarily choose to be around if we had the option. We usually still love them anyway.
How would it feel to put some differences aside and try to “burn away” the pain? How could you grow by writing down the other’s side’s point of view, stretching yourself to consider their perspective? We hope you’re nodding your head and saying, “yes… yes, this could really work.” It can and helps so much when it comes to mindfulness in your daily life and during stressful times like the holidays or company projects.
About Stephen Rodgers Counseling of Denver
Our Denver-based practice helps men gain back control in their lives. My team and I seek to focus on men’s issues as it relates to many areas of life. Our counseling team often works with men on organizing their lives, rebuilding relationships, focusing on growth, working through challenging problems, and of course, helping men see things from the other’s point of view for conflict resolution.
The sky’s the limit and you still have time in your life to make changes. If we’ve resonated with you, consider clicking below to schedule a counseling session with myself or a member of our talented and mindful therapy team. We hope you join us soon. We’re ready for you man.