Improve Your Relationship: Practice Perspective-Taking With These 5 Steps

Picture this: on your drive home from a bad day at work, the car in front of you is going at least five miles under the speed limit. You get upset and start honking your horn, tailgating, and flashing your headlights. Then, you come home to a messy house. As soon as you see your loved one, you end up taking out all of your frustration on them. How many times has this happened to you?

At some point or another, most of us have experienced something similar. We all have bad days. However, if we try to see the situation from the other person’s perspective, we can usually choose a more positive and productive way to handle our emotions. Below, you will find five easy tips that will help you take a step back, see things from your loved one’s point of view, and ultimately, improve your relationship.

  1. Take a time-outMan in car

Do something else for a few moments. This could mean taking a walk around the park, or sitting in your car for a few minutes to reflect on your tough day at work before entering your home. If you find yourself about to lose your temper with your loved one, you can leave the room before a situation gets heated. Step outside or find a quiet place to take a break.

  1. Check in with yourself

Ask yourself why you really feel angry. Are you are feeling underappreciated, disregarded, not valued, etc.? Peel back the layers and analyze the emotions behind your anger to find out what is truly upsetting you.

  1. Recognize the positiveAfrican couple together

Now, it’s time to focus on the positive. Positive thinking is attributed to reduced stress levels, improved satisfaction levels, and healthier interpersonal relationships. Do your best to remember all the times your partner has made you feel appreciated and valued. Avoid thinking about the stressors in your life as things that are “always” happening to you. Try to recognize that this is an isolated experience, and do your best to look on the bright side.

  1. Practice perspective-taking

Think about the situation from the other person’s perspective. Maybe the house is a mess because your loved one is not feeling well, they received bad news, or the children were an extra handful today. By showing compassion and understanding toward the other person, you are also practicing compassion toward yourself. This will allow you to react in a calm, mature, and appropriate manner.

  1. Decide on a solutionMan and woman cooking

How will you handle this situation? Will it be with compassion and understanding, or with anger and aggression? After going through the steps above, you should have a clear indication of how best to approach your situation with kindness as well as patience. Instead of getting into a fight with your spouse over the messy house, you could ask them how their day was, turn on some music, and clean up the mess together instead.

This technique can be applied to all relationships in your life, including those with your children, family, and coworkers. It can even help you better relate to strangers such as other drivers on the road. By taking a closer look at our own emotions and practicing perspective-taking, we can become more in control of our own feelings and behaviors, which positively affects everyone around us.