When we are alive, problems and demanding situations happen to us. If you want to know where you can find a spot where no problems are experienced, you just drive out to a cemetery!
Fully alive, life might present yo with a conflict situation. How do you deal with it? A bowl of fruit to a hungry person means something to eat. To an artist, it is the subject of a painting. Different persons look at the same thing in different ways. One way of looking at something is through one’s own eyes. When we do so, we ask: “How does this affect me?” This is called first position.
If an experience becomes difficult or painful, you can consider entering what is called second position. This means that you walk in the other person’s shoes. You take into consideration how you would look, sound and feel from another person’s point of view. This position gives you flexibility and you build up ability in experiencing empathy. If you are in conflict with another person, it is important that you appreciate how they feel about what you are doing.
You can distance yourself from the whole situations by going into third position. You now become an independent observer. You can ask, “How would this look to someone who is not involved in this situation?” From this location you have an objective viewpoint. It is very useful to be able to take a third position view of a problem. It can save a lot of trouble and stress.
What would happen if you got suck in any of the three positions? Someone stuck in the fist position would find himself or herself an egoist. A person who gets stuck in the second position would be improperly influenced by other people’s views.
A person stuck in the third position would become a detached observer of life. Others perceive people stuck in the third positions as unfeeling and cold. People in this position are often thinkers and philosophers.
In everyday life we move from one position to another. When we do so, we are able to enhance choice and productivity to our conversations.
To experience the above positions, recall an argument you had with another person. Move into first position by seeing what you saw, hearing what you heard, and feeling what you felt. – Then imagine yourself moving into the body of the person you argued with. You are now in the second position. Look through the other person’s eyes at yourself. How did you look during the argument? How was your tone of voice? How do you feel looking at yourself and hearing your tone of voice? – The next step is to move to a location where you can watch yourself and the other person having the argument. You are now in the third position. What view do you have on the argument watching it from outside? How is your perception of the argument now that you have been in all three positions? Would you have reacted differently if you had been through the different positions while the argument was happening? The ability to move the three positions gives us the possibility of having a fresh approach and seeing things in a different way. You have more choices.
All events can be described in three different ways.