Sunday, February 26, 2012

Perspective

It took me until fairly recently to realize that perspective is absolutely everything to a conversation. In my psychology class, we've recently talked about how teens interpret the emotions that they see on faces. In most cases, they would see anger where an adult would usually interpret the face as fear. On a whole, teens didn't comprehend the full spectrum of emotions and couldn't see exactly what was meant.

None of this really sunk in until I started noticing how important perspective is to things around me. For example, a friend of mine was late to class once recently. He was running from his room to be on time to everything and had a ridiculously busy day ahead of him. He hadn't slept much and was frustrated. When the professor tried to fill him in on what was going on, and he got snappy with her. Knowing this friend of mine, I know that he wasn't trying to be disrespectful, but the professor noticeably took it personally. My friend had no idea that anything had happened and put his head down and worked forward on our assignment.

From the professor's standpoint, the student was being disrespectful and she didn't know how to handle it. The student didn't have any idea what was going on. The same thing goes for a lot of situations as I was growing up.

For a long time, I didn't realize how selfish a teenager I was. There are so many situations in my childhood that I didn't realize how wrong I took the things my parents said. In nearly every case, they had my best interest at heart, and now, being able to more fully understand their positions and feelings, everything makes sense. I'm sure a fair amount of this is that "hindsight is 20/20," but I'm fairly sure that in growing up, I've learned to take other peoples' perspective into account. Sure, I'm the first person to tell you that I'm not perfect in the slightest. I know that I can't possibly understand what everyone's feeling or what they'll think about what I have to say. In a lot of cases, I can't begin to comprehend how my words and actions will be taken by others, and there are times that I can't possibly understand them until I get to know the people around me better. That said, having some sort of understanding that it's possible for other people to take things differently can possibly make all the difference in the world.

When parents tell us that it's important to think through things before we say them, it's hard to take it completely to heart because we don't fully comprehend what it is to understand other perspectives until a later point in our psychological development. That said, considering how others feel and understanding their position is incredibly important. I've come to the point that if there is some sort of perspective that I don't understand, that I try to ask questions and understand where they're coming from. On a whole, it makes your relationships much more meaningful and deep.

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