How was Christmas? Have you had some more unpleasant discussions on Covid with some relatives?
Did you notice that the art of communication has already suffered a lot and it feels like there is only black and white? One side hits the other and vice versa. Where did the togetherness go? Where the understanding? Where is the exchange in a respectful way? And everything is controlled by the inner fear. The only thing that helps is a change of perspective to get through the current times and into the new year in a more happy and friendly way.
An exercise that I learned as a coach in NLP many years ago and that I like to use in my coachings and motivational lectures is the “Me, You, Meta” exercise.
Let’s start with “Me”. That is your opinion on the subject of covid, vaccination or whatever you have an opinion about. And the opinion is good for you as it is, because it is your personal opinion, for which you have good reasons. Unless you just parrot everything that others say. Then it’s someone else’s opinion.
Then there is your counterpart and thus the first change of perspective. Maybe it is a colleague, a superior, your own partner or a neighbor. Or Aunt Ida under the Christmas tree. Strangely enough, this person now has a completely different opinion. We call this person “You”. This means that you know your “Me” opinion and, since you are an eager listener, also the “You” opinion of Aunt Ida, which, however, differs greatly from your “Me” opinion. Now I want you to put yourself in the position of “You”. Pretend you understand Aunt Ida and her opinion. Why could she have this opinion? What are the reasons, what are her fears, what are her experiences, what people does she talk to about them, what kind of information sources does she choose for herself? Start to show more understanding by slipping into Aunt Ida shoes, so to speak. And lo and behold; It will quickly become clear to you why Aunt Ida behaves this way and why she has a different opinion. Stop using sentences like “she’s just stupid”. Start getting interested in her backstory. How does the other come to this opinion? You will be amazed how easy it is for you to understand the other. To do this, you have to lock up your stubborn ego briefly and become a little more open and flexible in the pear.
If you now know these two perspectives, go to the “meta” level and carry out the second change of perspective. In other words, you imagine that “Me” and “You” are arguing under the Christmas tree and you are watching the whole scene from the corner seat at the dining table. That’s a completely different perspective. You hear the arguments of “Me” as well as those of “You”. And as a neutral third party, who now neither endorses one nor the other side (as their discussion has nothing to do with you), you suddenly understand both sides very well. As a mediator, what would you advise the two to do? What arguments or suggestions do you bring for them to come closer together again? And no; “Pack your things and we’ll go home” is not the solution. It is about more understanding for the other and also about leaving and accepting other opinions.
This gives you the solution, how you can allow, accept and better understand other opinions with a simple change of perspective. In these three positions, you should always choose a different chair, for example, to sit on. Not only rationally change your perspective, but also physically. So, you are your own coach now and find answers to all challenges in life, which then have a lot of different colors instead of just being black or white.
The hope of being happy “someday” by being constantly unhappy on the way is like pouring coke into your glass and expecting orange juice instead. That won´t fly. Start now to be happier by changing your perspective instead of hoping that everything will be better when Christmas is over. Because New Year’s Eve is just around the corner. You might see your lovely relatives again. Therefore use “Me”, “You”, “Meta” or simply choose your partner wisely.