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Civil unrest over the city's condition ignites Detroit in 1967, resulting in 43 deaths, 7,000 arrests and $50 million in damage.

A Different Perspective

POSTED: July 22, 2009, 11:52 am

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One of the biggest lessons we can learn in life is how to see things from a different point of view.

It’s very easy to believe that what you see, hear, and feel is so. Have you ever had the opportunity to have a moment retold by another person, a moment you bore witness to, and you found they saw it a completely different way. Or, you missed a detail that was later revealed and now you realize it changes your entire perspective.

The ability to see things from a different perspective is a gift in relationships, in all areas of your life because it requires a certain amount of humility and a willingness to surrender. You have to be willing to believe that anything is possible. When you are willing in relationships to allow a different point of view to exist, listening happens, and disagreements are less. You will find that your relationships are more joyous and people find great ease in being with you. There is no battle. There is less to defend. People feel heard and safe in knowing that their thoughts and ideas are respected.

The ability to see a different point of view requires that you give up “being right”. If you dare to believe that you could be wrong, even if you would swear you heard or saw something a particular way, I guarantee you there would be more harmony with your colleagues, spouse, and even your children.

On your way to practicing seeing things from a different perspective, try speaking less and listening more. I know it’s difficult, even when your gut says otherwise.

I will drive home my point with two examples from my personal life.
#1 My daughter is nine years old and there are many life lessons, I try to teach her. In the course of our interactions, she will insist something is different than the way I see it. What does she know? She is nine and I am forty-five. I have seen these things before, therefore, I know better. Most times, she is correct. Why? She comes to everything with a new way of looking at it BECAUSE she is nine. Her perceptions are not tarnished by years of assumptions. Sometimes, it seems impossible but she has been correct.
Anecdote: I try to end these interactions with, “I am sorry. You were correct.” Even when I do find I am correct, I try not to insist on it. I want to leave her with a sense of herself and an ability to be owner of her own thoughts. It’s important for her to know that I can be wrong too.

#2 My husband and I have had countless disagreements over the course of our twelve year marriage. I am often right. Wives usually are. The pain in the disagreements are rarely about who is right and who is wrong, but more about how you defend your position. Do you pull out the daggers to prove your point? Do you feel like you are not only defending your position, but your life? Can you agree to disagree? I find our most bitter disagreements occur when I am unwilling to be wrong.

Ultimately, you need to ask yourself, “What is more important to me, being right or having a great relationship with this person?”

If you have a comment or question about seeing things from a different perspective, contact Sandra A. Daley at or visit her at

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