Perspective can be powerful. When we come across an idea or behaviour we don't agree with, our initial reaction can often be negative. However, these negative emotions fade away when we reflect on the situation and take time to consider it from a different perspective.
But how can we use perspective to resolve conflict?
There were five blindfolded people standing in a circle. They were told there was something in the middle and they had to describe what it was. The first person stretched their arm out and said they were touching a wall, the second person said they touched a tree trunk, the third said it was a fan, the fourth said they felt a rope, and the fifth was convinced it was a branch. They were so sure of their answers and began to argue about who was correct.
It may surprise you to know that from their experience, or perspective, they were all correct. However, their experience (or what they touched) was only part of the full story. The wall was actually the body, the tree trunk was a leg, the fan was an ear, the rope was the tail, and the branch was the trunk. They were all touching different parts of an elephant.
They began to describe their experiences to each other and soon gained a better understanding of what they thought it might be, which we now know, was the elephant.
In the Jain faith there is a concept called 'Anekantvada', the theory of multiple viewpoints. In simple terms, this means there are many different viewpoints or multiple aspects to one reality. More often than not, conflict arises because of misunderstandings and differing interpretations. We often think that because we are right, the other side has to be wrong. What if we only have part of the picture, part of the story?
Perspective is one concept. A concept we can learn and benefit from, and one which can help steer us when faced with difficult situations and disagreements.
Mediation gives you an opportunity to explain your perspective to your partner or ex-partner and at the same time, listen to the other side. By gaining a better understanding of the other perspectives, and as a result having more knowledge, it can build communication and find solutions.
Source: https://www.collegeofmediators.co.uk/perspective-can-be-powerful-rishma-gudka/, online 16 December 2020
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