I have been talking to a number of lovely clients over the last few weeks who were struggling to understand why people were not reacting to them how they wanted them to.
To look at the situations we have been using a simple exercise to allow them to ‘step out of their own thoughts/headspace’. The reason we have been doing this is because when we are struggling with a relationship issue with a friend/partner/family member we can get caught up in ‘our side of the story’ which inevitably leads to a number of assumptions being made, cross words or putting words in their mouths. Inevitably it will end in upset for one or both parties and in some situations complete breakdown of said connection.
So how do we do it?
Here’s a step by step breakdown of how to use a simple ‘moving around the table’ exercise….
- Think of the situation that is bothering you.
- Close your eyes and imagine that all the people involved in this situation are sat around a board room table.
- Write the problem/situation/conflict on a placard in the middle of the table.
- Starting from your seat say out loud how it makes YOU feel – you must focus only one how you feel about this particular situation.
- Once finished, stand up and move yourself to one of the seats of the other people involved. NOW, say out loud how this person could feel about the situation. You need to consider they feelings, thoughts and interpretations of the situation – what impact may it have had on them? Could your behaviours/words/actions have been interpreted differently by them?
- Now, consider how this interpretation could impact their behaviours/feelings or thoughts as well as their responses to you – how does this change how you feel? think? perceive?
- Once finished, stand up and move to another seat around the table – perhaps a friend involved, a family member watching, any other parties involved until all seats have been explored.
- Once all seats have been considered, return to your chair and consider how this changes, alters or impacts your original interpretations? Could your actions have been perceived differently to how you thought? Could your assumptions be incorrect? When you are on the other side of the situation does it change your thoughts/feelings about that person? Is there anything that needs to be apologised for? reconsidered? reviewed? discussed?
- Step back. How does ‘getting out of your head’ change this situation?
When discussed in detail this can be a beneficial method to really exploring a situation from multiple viewpoints and removing our emotions from a problem. We know that when we are emotional we can become irrational and look at a situation with blinkers on, only from our only feelings and impact. No conflict ever occurs with only one person involved in it, so stepping off your soap box and into someone else’s shoes to empathise with where their feelings are coming from can allow realisation, consideration and calmness to be restored to resolve a problem – rather than leading from a point of frustration/confusion/mis-interpretation.
Give it a go – see what happens!
To book a coaching or therapy session with Nicky to review situations which are impacting you visit www.astepatatime.org.uk