kaleidoscopeThe lens or filter of perspective has implications for how we receive and interpret the behaviors of others and receive the world around us. Perspective changes with new life experiences, when we take on different roles, and can call on us to be flexible when “looking through the eyes of another person” or “walking in their shoes”.

During a recent trip to the grocery store, I was in the crosswalk and two cars drove by without stopping. The driver of the second car did catch my eye and I saw her facial expression which I interpreted as “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you”.

This experience had me pondering all the different reasons why someone wouldn’t stop for a pedestrian in a cross walk. Maybe they are in a hurry, or didn’t see the pedestrian. Perhaps they don’t feel they need to stop, are thinking of themselves, or missed seeing pedestrian crossing signage. If you stop and think, you would likely uncover a myriad of reasons why a driver didn’t stop for a pedestrian, along with numerous ways in which the pedestrian interpreted that behavior.

Several modalities can help us to expand our perceptions including Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Family Constellations, and Voice Dialogue, among others. In NLP, perceptual positions are a skill taught to provide perspective for what others might be experiencing to broaden your own perspective. A Family Constellation calls for workshop participants to represent members of an individual’s family and provide feedback regarding what they are sensing to facilitate a new perspective. A Voice Dialogue is a way to step into the perspective of own opposites to learn more deeply about the cause of our inner conflict.

Thinking of perspective reminded me of the kaleidoscope sitting on my desk from a customer focus group I coordinated years ago. The kaleidoscope was a gift to the customers for their assistance as we moved to a new user interface model and it is engraved with the words – Thanks for giving us a new perspective. Perspective can be shifted just like a kaleidoscope – one turn and new colors and shapes and connections appear right before our eyes.

How do you receive the experiences of your life? Do you assume you know what caused someone’s behavior? Do you assume that how you see things is how others do?

What would be available to if you turned the kaleidoscope just a bit and gave yourself a new perspective?