Perspective – the way that you see something, a point of view.
An example could be a patient and his spouse sitting in the doctor’s room waiting for said doctor to deliver the verdict of the patient’s recent colonic biopsies.
Precancerous adenomas. One considered an aggressive form that can develop into cancer and needs regular colonoscopies for detection and removal.
The two people receiving this news could be hearing the same information but have differing perspectives. The patient’s perspective could be that this is good news and some changes to the diet might be needed. What will be, will be. His spouse’s perspective might be that this is devastating news and drastic dietary changes are necessary. A ‘all or nothing’ approach.
How is it that two people can have such differing views?
We are a product of our upbringing and environment. Our beliefs are influenced and shaped by family, childhood, culture, religion, life experiences and so much more. We look at the world through our own unique pair of lens. Our perspectives are formed by our core belief systems.
How can differing perspectives cause conflict for this couple?
Well, I would imagine the woman might throw a fit and demand that the dietary changes she’s made to reduce the man’s risk factors aren’t extreme and that kale doesn’t taste THAT bad! And eating couscous is like eating rice…
I could see that the man might try to rationally and logically explain that crash diets don’t work and smaller changes are needed to maintain longevity. He might use conversational tactics he uses on work colleagues to get his point across. He might get frustrated at the woman’s defensive and increasing volume, and start talking to her as though he’s disciplining their seven-year-old stubborn child.
She might threaten to feed him more kale. Sure, it’s bitter and tastes like medicine but that’s why you pinch your nose and swallow whole.
He might suggest eating a meat pie once in a while isn’t going to lead to cancer.
Eventually, they will reach a stalemate with neither seeing the other person’s perspective. Something about Mars and Venus is at play. Someone will cry because crying is good for the soul and an effective stress reliever.
So how can they resolve their conflict?
Time apart can help them reflect on what the other person has said. It can allow them time to consider why the other person might behave the way they do and find common ground to resolve the issue.
The man might consider that allowing the woman to have control over the family diet will alleviate her anxiety and fears of the unknown. She’s only trying to help and she might need more hugs. Plus, she can become batsh*t crazy when anxious.
The woman might consider finding a middle ground with dietary changes, that an ‘all or nothing’ approach isn’t sustainable. She’s not the only one affected by the information and her emotions must play a secondary role.
They might want to sit down and make a list of possible changes and mark what can be achieved now and gradually over time. They need to turn towards each other for support and give the other person respect and love. They must remember that everyone is different. People see the world and its problems differently, and that is ok. They both have a common goal, reducing the risk factors that lead to colon cancer, and working together is the answer.
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