Our ability to adopt another person's point of view (POV) steps us and our clients into accepting other people more completely and ultimately reveals the felt sense knowledge of the koan-like question “who is another human being?” More on that at another time 🙂
As our clients develop and enhance their ability to assume another's POV, it is natural that they discover an increased sense of connection to and compassion for the people in their life. They find it easier to fully appreciate where someone else stands.
When we 'get' where someone is coming from, it's natural to treat them with more respect. It's natural to feel a heart opening.
However, when our clients are still embroiled in their own emotional pain, sliding into someone else's POV is not only difficult, it is often experienced as somewhat noxious --- the LAST thing they want to do. Yet, once they have moved through acceptance and integration, the spaciousness of the heart is more available. It's easier to enter the other's POV.
One of the most tenacious emotional tangles is the psychological energy on the regret - shame continuum. It binds us with it's sticky pain and distorted thoughts.
James was deeply troubled by how he treated his daughter on the way to school. He yelled at her about some minor misdemeanor. The look he saw in the rearview mirror broke his heart.
After untethering from the pain of his regret, he bumped into a patch of deep remorse and shame. Assuming his young daughter's POV, we explored the landscape and found where she was wounded in that encounter.
From her POV, she was angry and hurt. All she wanted to do was get out the car and get away from him.
Often, just compassionate awareness of what's going on with another person is enough to discharge the energy.
However, with James, we decided to resolve this tension with integration. We used Deep PEAT 4 (Prime Energy Activation & Transcendence). The relief and love that flooded his face after this work warmed my heart. I knew that the shame and remorse would no longer be problematic for him.
The next time I saw James, not only did he report being more patient with his daughter. He also found himself being more curious about her and her experiences.
An unexpected consequence was that he generally found it much EASIER to see things from other people's POV. Feeling an easy compassion. As James is a physician, the value of easy compassion felt priceless to him.
I've found that the timing of inviting another POV is absolutely critical. When personal pain is resolved, our clients can more readily slide into another's POV. But as long as they are still bound by some pain, accessing another's viewpoint can be extremely difficult and tends to be more intellectual than heartfelt.
In the AAIT Fellowship Training Group, we dive deeper into this territory, PM for details. In the meantime, is helping clients slide into another viewpoint part of your work? What challenges have you faced in helping clients access other points of view? What wins?