Keeping it real
"There are three sides to every argument: Mine, yours and the truth - and none of them are lying!"
I heard this soundbite today and it reminded me of how important it is to remember to consider the other side of things. This can relate to so many areas of our life.
For example, in our personal relationships: Maybe we expect others to see our point of view, when their own is tightly bound to very different experience or reality. We may assume that visiting family for special occasions is to be expected, when actually, for the other person, the word 'special' may not be something they associate with family get-togethers. Or when it comes to spending time together, one person's idea of 'quality time' may involve a late start over a newspaper in bed as a complete change, whereas the other person may assume that getting out and about doing anything but the mundane is a priority. Both have their own views based on their own reality - it just needs airing and clarifying.
In the world of work and business, life may be fast-paced and pressured, but assumptions and expectations can again be a cause of friction of misunderstandings. If you wanted more support from your manager, did you actually let them know, or were they thinking you wanted to continue and manage the situation independently? When other colleagues do not respond or carry out work you thought was due, are they being lazy and unhelpful, or were they not aware of how important it was to you? Clarifying plans at the outset - and monitoring progress along the way - can be invaluable in avoiding misunderstandings and ill-feeling.
On a day to day basis, our desire to get on with our own priorities in life can lead to ugly clashes when the traffic is bad for example, or the queue is not moving quickly enough. We all act in what we believe is the right way, but when conflict arises, differing views come to the fore. In the moment, it may well be difficult to view the situation from a mental distance, but just a brief reflection that other people are involved, too, can help us see things in a calmer manner.
Coming back to the original point about truth and reality, when you find yourself feeling frustrated, or in a fractious situation, it is worth taking a step back to reframe the situation in as an objective a way as possible. Ask yourself, what actually happened? How did I perceive it? And how could somebody else have perceived it in a different way? This allows you to approach a resolution by acknowledging the other's potential point of view, giving them credibility, and allowing for a platform of fair expectations.