Recently two of my yoga friends relayed to me a coffee conversation with a visiting yoga guru. It was interesting to see them describe a conversation with two viewpoints that were so different you would have thought they were different events. Neither could accept the other’s view of it. One talked about the person as self-centred and uninterested in anyone else. The other said the guru was very caring and so willing to share her knowledge with other people. Each was amazed that the other could possibly see the same conversation so differently. I remembered a previous boss saying: ‘There are always at least four sides to every conflict’
It is very useful to access this awareness of different views, when we are emotionally involved in a conflict. NLP provides a handy technique, Perceptual Positions, to use as you prepare for a difficult conversation. Using this tool, you shift you physically around the different viewpoints in a conflict and gets you to talk about the conflict from each positions’ point of view. It sounds a bit 80′s, but physically shifting certainly helps us see the different viewpoints.
Recently I’ve been re-visiting Byron Katie’s fascinating work, called, prosaically, The Work. She calls this shift to an alternate perception, ‘turnaround’. Seeing it in action is very productive, confronting and yet often soothingly hilarious! The idea is that you make a statement you believe, for example: ‘She was condescending to me’. Then you explore turning it around in various ways: ‘I was condescending to me’, ’She wasn’t condescending to me’, ‘I was condescending to her’ . Then just see what happens to your approach.