Learning Through The Eyes Of Another

Thursday, November 13, 2008 6 comments

One NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Method that has helped me tremendously in problem solving and personal relationships is the use of Perceptual Positions. I have learned more about myself, and come to understand others better through this method, than any other, in my opinion.

Perceptual Positions

First Position – The easiest one for all of us to understand is the first position, because this is how we see, feel and interpret the world and others around us, looking through our own eyes.

Second Position – Putting you in someone else’s shoes, and seeing, hearing, feeling, and looking back at yourself through their eyes.

Third Position – This is making you the proverbial “fly on the wall”. This is placing you as an objective observer.

When you are in the middle of a conflict with someone, you both are trying to get your needs met, and protect your ego from the attack of the other, and during the confrontation, it is hard to look through any perspective, other than your own. However, if you can learn to take the time to both look through the second and third position, even if you have to use it later, you will be amazed what you will see and learn.

Visualization is a powerful tool, and we all use it from time to time when we are daydreaming, reading a novel.

Putting It to Use

There are many ways to use these perceptions, but today I am only going to write about one.

Second Position - Sit back and relax, and take deep calming breaths, and when you have relaxed yourself, replay the prior events, first looking through the eyes of the other person. Imagine your self floating around that person and then drifting right down inside of them. Look through their eyes. Look at your hands, where you are standing or sitting. Look over there at yourself and what you are doing. What do you see? What do you feel? Imagine saying the words that they said, and the body language that they used. What are they trying to protect within themselves? What needs were they trying to have met? You can even use this tool to learn more about yourself by using to see through the eyes of another part of yourself. Some conflict you hold within.

Third Position – Watch both of you from “over there”. What are they saying and in what tone of voice? What are they each feeling? What body language are they using? If you were that detached person, or fly, what kind of advice would you want to be giving to yourself? Try it by making yourself observe the scene from within someone that you admire and respect. How would they see and say to you about the situation? What would their advice be?

What did you learn?
Try it again using what you know now, and run through the process again.

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