Unlike most people throughout the US, our family had Thanksgiving celebrations this last Saturday. My nephew is a truck driver and was out on the road on Thursday (the official Thanksgiving Day). Within my little household, Hubby had to be at work at the time the dinner would have started that day. All the way around it was just better to postpone it until the weekend.
We have our holiday celebrations at my brother-in-law’s house. It’s been this way for years and with me not being all that good of a cook, I’m glad that my sister-in-law is willing to slave in the kitchen for all of us. Of course, the rest of us bring at least one side dish to help out a little. The spread is usually huge.
This year there was a small tiff between my sister-in-law and me. Yes, I started it. I’m too protective of my husband, son and stepdaughter, and I let it get the best of me sometimes. Fortunately, we were able to patch things up between us quickly with hugs and me giving her a heart-filled apology.
Why was it that I couldn’t see things from her point of view from the very first? Quite simply, it’s because I know myself best and, therefore, find it easier and automatic to see all situations from my perspective. I’m not always happy with this. I’d rather be thinking more of how other people perceive incidences. I want to be ‘the good guy’ all the time.
Am I being ‘the bad guy’ looking at life through my own eyes? I have felt this way many a time, but as I put my mind to it and really give it deep thought, more often than not, I’ve not ‘the bad guy’. I’m not being selfish, self-centered, and self-absorbed. I just readily see the world through my own eyes.
I attentively put myself in the shoes of others so that I can see things from their perspective and, therefore, understand them more fully. Yet, this is a conscious effort I make. This doesn’t come natural to me. Furthermore, I don’t think this comes naturally to anyone. We learn this social skill so that we’re not left feeling all alone in the world. Without this skill, we are, most assuredly, an island, with no hope of finding others we are compatible with.
I’m able to make my point of view understood by using tact in my approach to people. This, too, is a learned skill; however, I find it easier to maintain than the skill of empathy. In fact, I must confess that there are times when empathy in specific situations is impossible for me. It is these times when I switch over to tact trying to explain my lack of understanding for that person. Does it work? Sometimes.
As I look back at the squabble my sister-in-law and I had, I feel relief and a little pride. After all, I was able to experience empathy for the situation she was in and see things from her perspective. This is sometimes difficult for me.
- My First Thanksgiving With The In-Laws Turned Into A Drunken Fest (madamenoire.com)