Perspective

 

Gaining some perspective in a difficult situation can be a first step to resolving it. Have you noticed how, when you are charged with emotion in a situation, things become distorted? Caught up in feelings, do you ever sense that your capacity to be constructive is slipping away?

It is important to feel your emotions and to express them. Yet the card PERSPECTIVE reminds you that it is also important to reduce the distorting effects of raw feelings – and prevent destructive communication that can result from this distortion. One step in doing this is to gain some perspective.

There are many ways to gain perspective. One is to simply call “time out” and leave a problem situation, in order to get some emotional distance. Breathing in a few full breaths will help, especially if you keep on breathing. Moving your body a bit – even walking to the other side of the room and back – may do it. If you feel stuck in strong feelings, get out of your chair and move around until you can breathe freely.

Many phrases in everyday speech are about perspective – like “stepping back,” “rising above,” and “seeing the bigger picture.” Each suggests getting some distance in order to view a troubling situation from a wider angle.

One way to practice perspective is to imagine you are an eagle flying high above the ground. Feel the wind brush your wings. Taste the freshness of the air as you take in full breaths. Look down at the ground, and imagine seeing that situation you found problematic. See all the participants there below – including yourself. Continuing to breathe, you can fly higher, and look down at that distant scene in a more detached and relaxed way, perhaps even with some compassion.

As an eagle, you have special powers. You can fly, high and mighty, with absolute confidence and comfort. Your eagle eye can see all things much more clearly than the human eye. With that eagle eye, look down and watch the person in that distant scene who resembles your partner. Observe in detail all their gestures, words, and voice tones. Calmly note how the person who looks like you responds to these things.

Now shift your eagle vision to the person who resembles you. Carefully observe all of that person’s gestures, words, and voice tones. Note how these affect the person who looks like your partner. Watch how each person’s sensitivities come up. See when each slips into poor communication, cuts the other off, or fails to understand the other. Start to recognize how each of them is trying to voice a deeper positive intention in that scene – but is failing to communicate it.

Your eagle eye also has the power to see healthier ways to interact down there. You can see better choices for the person who looks like you. Imagine that person has a more confident and resourceful demeanor. See him or her communicating in a healthy, constructive way. Then, for a moment, glide down into that scene and feel what it is like to be that person – what it is like to be communicating so well!

Perspective is a higher place in you. Reach it by letting go for a moment, and moving toward acceptance, understanding, and compassion. Then go forward with a clear vision of how to truly resolve your issues with your partner – together.

Get the effective coaching you need for lasting relationship change. Learn about our couples retreats and marriage retreats »