The Power of Perspective

Sep 4
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In less than twenty-four hours, my daughter and I will hop into my Prius and head north, crossing a national boundary, on a trip to visit colleges in Vancouver, British Columbia. Soon she’ll turn 18, a legal adult, and just before she turns 18, my son will turn thirteen. How I feel about all this depends on the perspective I take. To me, the word perspective is one of the most powerful words in the English language. It directly impacts our well-being, and it directly impacts our relationships with ourselves and with others. Malcolm Butler It’s also empowering because it implies that we have a choice. Perspective is about changing the world inside of you.We do, indeed, have choices. Every day, we can decide to choose how we are going to experience the day. There are days, for example, when I wake up and am overwhelmed before even getting out of bed. Or, even worse, I’ve been overwhelmed all night, tossing and turning with anxiety. canada goose bebe snow bunting If I take a moment to sit somewhere peaceful and experience the feel of the air, the special morning quality of the light, I have taken charge of that moment and given myself the opportunity to choose my perspective for the day. As I reflect on the overwhelmingly stressful day ahead of me, I break down the day into smaller bits rather than seeing just the overwhelming to-do lists and anxiety-provoking tasks. Adidas Survetement Now I can perspective-take. Do I want to continue to obsess over the looming tasks? Or do I want to adopt a different perspective? For my own core happiness and mental wellness, I shift my perspective. I have a monstrous to-do list. That’s overwhelming and heavy. I have a list filled, for the most part, with tasks that I like and feel lucky to be able to do. That feels lighter. My house is fully of clutter and it’s weighing me down. When I take a step back from the clutter and shift my perspective, I see the signs of a busy, happy family who has a place to make clutter. Yeah, the clutter is still there and still is annoying, but it’s not so heavy anymore. It doesn’t make me grouchy. It makes me grateful. Perspective doesn’t just apply to how we look at the things in our lives. It applies to people, too. Canada Goose Trillium Parka Experts in human development discuss the landmark change that occurs in kids around toddlerhood/early preschoolhood (I made that word up). This monumental change is the ability to perspective-take, to see the world through the eyes of another human being. In other words, to have empathy. Perspective-taking is a skill that takes a few years to develop and then a lifetime to maintain and perfect. It doesn’t always come easily for people, but when we get it, we free ourselves from hate. When we can walk in another’s shoes, we are not as quick to judge. When someone treats me poorly, I don’t have to like it. I don’t have to ask for more. But, since I can’t undo their treatment, I can choose my perspective. I can take it personally and ruminate about it for days (I’ve done this), thus feeling increasingly horrible about myself and them and the world in general. Or, I can shift my perspective and realize that their behavior is very unlikely about me, that they have something going on that causes them to mistreat people. And if it is about me, I can still shift my perspective and realize that this is something specific and it doesn’t mean that I’m a horrible person hated by everyone. Some might argues that perspective is weak because it can’t change a thing. The day is still overwhelming and full of stress. Adidas Zx 700 Homme The clutter is still there. Canada Goose Citadel Parka Another person still acted like a jerk. Nothing has changed. Nike SB Blazer Perspective isn’t about changing the world outside of you. Perspective is about changing the world inside of you. It’s similar to principles of positive psychology. It’s about gratitude for what’s good rather than resentment for what’s bad. It’s about choice. At its essence, it’s a glass half-full or half-empty type of attitude. Adidas Pantalons But it’s not a cliché. It’s a frame of mind that has substance. My kids are growing up no matter how I feel or what I think about it. My daughter will be a senior. I can spend the year mourning over the fact that the time has gone too quickly (I’m sure I will do that occasionally), or I can celebrate how lucky I am to be able to feel sad. Her childhood was great, her adolescent years have been a breeze, because of her academics she is eligible for some pretty impressive colleges and thus we are able to go on this trip to Canada. My son will be a teenager next week. He’s thriving in middle school and has a sunny disposition that makes him pleasant to be around. Instead of lamenting over my kids’ growing-up and stressing over to-do lists, I have made a choice to shift my perspective. Tom Brady Life has a lot of ups and downs. Little stress, big stress; illness and dying; mental illness and its challenges; work and financial stress. Rather than curse life and all of its ups and downs, I’m going to celebrate it.


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