Imagine a movie theater filled with regular seats except for one giant, red, velvet chair. When you sit, you sink way down into the plush, cozy material and you realize that you’re right in the middle of the very back row – the holy grail of movie theatre sweet spots. I like to call this the third-party point of view – the ultimate spot in the audience from which you can watch the situation play out. From this view, giving advice is as easy as breathing because you’re emotionally disconnected: you see the facts as simply black and white.
Giving advice is really easy, and anyone can do it when they aren’t immediately involved in the situation. If a friend is dealing with a break-up, an argument, or anything stress-related, the solution to the problem is usually clear as day to you. So, why does life seem to get so blurry when we are the ones directly involved in the problem?
Often, it’s emotions that blur our judgment. I couldn’t possibly list the countless times when I didn’t know how to react because I was way too emotionally involved. I could feel myself searching for the red movie seat, but I was usually in the totally wrong movie theater. I was lost in a sea of anger and sadness, and if I had only removed these from the equation, I probably would have found the answer on my own. So why didn’t I?
We are so opposed to removing ourselves from our own sticky situations for a short period. We fight the urge to curl up in the red chair and watch the movie from afar. This is probably because the emotions seem too important to compromise. What I can tell you, though, is that emotions are ever-changing, fluctuating, and never static. Actions are definitive and they have consequences. While you shouldn’t abandon what you feel altogether, it is definitely beneficial to step back and study the situation as though you weren’t the main actor in the show. What would you tell your friend to do if she was in your shoes?
To have the ability to bask in the glory of the third-person point of view, we must believe in ourselves and in our self-realization. You know yourself better than anyone else – you know your desires, needs, rationale and disposition. Once you realize that you know yourself the best, finding the third-person point of view will start to come easily because you’ll be able to separate the wants from the needs. You’ll find the ability to realize that you can’t always get what you want, but you can get what you need.
Finding the balance between emotions and rational thinking can get tricky, but turning to your friend is a waste of a perfectly good advisor: yourself. While it can seem like there are too many stairs between you and the red chair, once you get there and sit down you’ll never want to leave.
Featured image courtesy of Sara Robertson on Flickr