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When artists speak of perspective, they often couple the topic with the term "vanishing point" – this is the place where the object disappears on the horizion of the drawing or painting.  The amazing thing about vanishing points is that they can be moved all over the page, depending on where the artist chooses to place the closest part of the object.


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When you have conflict with someone, making decisions about if, when and how to address it reminds me of these perspective drawings.  If you choose to confront the person while the issue is very close to you, it is possible to make it bigger than it really needs to be.  If, however, you wait too long, you approach the vanishing point of the situation – where really, the issue has very little relevance to either them or you; it ceases to be on either of your horizions.  Some conflicts can be let go, and really, it is ok.  However, often, if things aren't resolved, the next disagreement or hurt will be compounded by the memory of the first.  This is why often, you see others over-react. (If you have good self-assessment skills, then you recognize this in yourself).

So where, when, how?  Quite the conundrum.

I like to imagine situations like these art exercises … usually, when in the middles of conflict of any emotional weight, I need to 'gain perspective'.  This means I need a little distance from the occurence. If I can place myself half way between the foreground and the horizon, I have a good chance of being able to hold THEIR perspective as well.  And to stay calm, aproach them with respect and a spirit of restoration.