By:Tywauna Wright

Many people go through life changing situations whether its family issues, friendships, or relationships. Nobody knows exactly what that person is going through or how they feel, everyone handle things differently. So judging somebody for their actions shouldn’t be necessary. The first impressions can have a long lasting effect on what we think about a person until we really get to know them better. Before you judge someone, ask yourself if you know this person inside and out and if you know what made them the person that they are today. If you can understand what they go through day after day, if you can relate to them and what it must feel like to be in their position, then you can form an opinion about them, without being biased. in reality, we are all the same. No matter of our ethical background, skin color or religious orientation we all are striving for happiness, peacefulness and love. Also, each of us is trying to avoid sadness and suffering at best. So, instead of being blinded by the differences that superficially separate you from another person, try to acknowledge the commonalities you share with this person. Being able to empathize means to be capable of identifying and understanding another person’s feelings, without experiencing them for you at that particular moment the ability to literally experience the world from another person’s perspective; to walk in their shoes, to view life from their living conditions and to feel what it feels like to be that person.

Shannon was settling into her first few weeks at college and was being proactive at meeting new people. She and a few of her new friends went out for dinner one night and invited a girl who lived nearby to join. Despite Shannon’s friendly invite, the girl abruptly declined. Put aback, Shannon wondered: “What’s wrong with this girl?!” After that exchange, Shannon put very little effort into getting to know her. Over time, they did eventually cross paths again, and Shannon later learned that money was a big concern for her. Not knowing that information had unfortunately affected their early relationship. Shannon’s experience is one to which many of us can relate. At times, we jump the gun and make uninformed assumptions about others. This behavior can negatively affect relationships, productivity, and our well-being.

Most literature on this topic has focused on motivating or reminding people about social perspective taking (SPT), the process of understanding another person by considering their thoughts, feelings and motivations. SPT is a critical skill to develop as it has been found to help people decrease egocentrism, social aggression, access to and use of stereotypes, and it can help increase perception of similarities. Many of the problems we see in our relationships are from errors in perspective taking. If we can improve our ability in SPT, we will be on a better road to more positive relationships


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