The Power of Perspective
Why is it that countless people can face essentially the same experiences in life and have different emotional responses to it? My theory is that it is simply because their mindset is holding a different perspective.
Using the POWER of PERSPECTIVE is my favorite go-to tool whenever I am in a situation that is potentially frightening or intimidating or causing me to feel stuck.
For instance, when being diagnosed with breast cancer, rather than focusing on the possibility of suffering or even dying, my mind automatically went to gratitude that I had treatments available to me. I chose a perspective of positive outcomes and thought about the countless women and men that faced this same diagnosis and not only survived, they thrived.
Our minds are very powerful and since I know I can shift the way I feel simply by the thoughts I think, many years ago I began to strengthen that muscle of perspective by using it daily.
I often get push back from both friends and others on social media that don’t even know me that judge my habit of seeking a positive perspective no matter what is going on around me, believing I am burying my head in the sand.
I am also accused that my choice to accept what I cannot change means I have given up the fight for what is right and that if I am not suffering I am in avoidance.
For some reason, it is hard for many to give up their own defeated and hopeless perspectives for one that makes them feel better in the moment as if a positive mindset diminishes the importance of their current situation.
Since we humans tend to project our own fears on our fellow humans, I understand that it is hard to believe one can legitimately go through life riding one positive perspective to the next, facing life’s challenges without constant pain, heartache, and severe emotional trauma.
I am not saying there is anything wrong with feeling sad, overwhelmed, confused or even depressed. These emotional states are also part of being human. The power of perspective, however, in my book of life determines how we each move through an emotional downturn.
We can either dig a deeper hole in which we continue to feel powerless and victimized by our situation or we can feel the feelings as long as we find they are helpful, examine our fears and then focus on a perspective that helps us return to a more empowering emotional state.
If you’re still reading this and are curious how to go about shifting your perspective to one that serves, here are a few of my favorite tips:
- FACE YOUR FEARS: Ask yourself what you’re afraid of then have compassion for yourself in your fear. Once you get clear on what those fears are, take another look to determine if your fears are true right now or if you are simply making up a scary story for the future. If you are making up a scary story, change the narrative to one that has a happy ending. (It is all made up anyway, so use your creative imagination in a way that will serve you in the present moment).
- BE GRATEFUL: No matter how bad or hard life can be there is always something for which to be grateful. Focus on whatever is good in your life. Let that feeling of gratitude grow as you allow the sense of all is well to come over you. Repeat often.
- DO NOT COMPARE: Avoid comparing your life or your specific current challenge to others that appear to be problem-free. You are on your journey, they are on theirs. Seek the learning that will carry you forward rather than keep you stuck in the muck of believing you have been overlooked or are meant to suffer. Suffering is optional.
- WHAT DO YOU NEED NOW?: Whenever you are embedded in a stuck perspective, ask yourself what you need in that moment. For example, complaining about your situation or challenge will not change it. You may need to ask for help. Simply talking about your situation with someone you trust can bring clarity and help you get back on a positive track. You may need to get some answers to questions that have been confusing you and need to do some research. You may need to get outdoors since you know that always helps you feel more alive, or be around someone that loves you, pray, meditate, journal, or pet your dog. Asking yourself what you need and then honoring it rather than repeating habits that hurt you is a no-fail way to get into a positive perspective.
- REMIND YOURSELF YOU DESERVE JOY: Since it is impossible to be proactive in a positive way if you believe you do not deserve it, tell yourself that just because others may not have always treated you with respect or even loved you, does not mean you are undeserving. To make that shift, practice loving and respecting yourself unconditionally. Living a joyful life does not mean you must live without making mistakes. Unconditional acceptance and love mean you deserve to feel good no matter what.
Since life’s challenges will continue in a variety of forms if you’d like to stay aligned with peace and joy, notice the perspective you are choosing as you go through the experience. If it works for you, great, continue until it doesn’t. If you would like to feel different now, then simply adopt a perspective that feels better.
Yep, you are that powerful!