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When Perspective-Taking Is Too Easy: The Challenge of Staying in Your Own Shoes

·319 words·2 mins
Confessions of a Recovering People Pleaser

As I’ve written before, perspective-taking is one of the most valuable relationship skills there is.

If you can actually stop yourself, tuck your own ego away, and put yourself momentarily in a partner’s shoes — and they can do the same for you — there’s very little that you can’t work through. Not nothing you can’t work through, mind you. There can actually be full-on dealbreakers, insurmountable challenges to compatibility and having a relationship that makes everyone in it happy. But mutual perspective-taking can take care of the rest.

Research agrees.

Anyway, it’s kind of easy for me to recommend perspective-taking, for one simple (and likely predictable) reason:  I’m a person who easily takes other people’s perspectives.

Arguably, I do it a little too much. I tend to have the opposite problem — I can have trouble sticking up for myself when what I want is in conflict with literally anybody else (spoiler: if there are enough people involved, this will pretty much always happen).

It’s easy for me put myself in other people’s shoes. Sometimes — I’d say most of the time — this comes in handy.

But other times? Not so much. And it can be tough for me to stay fixed in my own perspective when I need to and to advocate for what I want.

Not only that, but it’s exhausting going through life constantly playing out all the roles in my head.  And my tendency to do so left me quite vulnerable to exploitation by people who have a hard time taking someone else’s perspective, for whatever reason. Because it has a way of making things one-sided.

Thankfully, over the years, I’ve found good success with assertiveness therapy and various other lessons I’ve learned as a recovering people pleaser.


This post is part of a recurring feature called Confessions of a Recovering People Pleaser.  To see the full series, please click this link.


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