"Nothing is, unless our thinking makes it so." – William Shakespeare
Our thoughts, our mind, and our perspective are all very powerful. When we pay attention to our thoughts, even the most simplest of thoughts, and we tune in…we can shift and enhance our whole life! A small shift in our perspective can make all the difference. We have multiple opportunities each day to choose our perspective…it‘s like choosing which pair of sunglasses we want to look through. We have the choice to be negative or positive. We have the opportunity to see another‘s point of view. We get to broaden our mind and to see things another way. We get to loosen our grip a bit on life. We can enjoy more.
A perspective is a belief or truth for you, something you have believed for years.
If you have always told people that you don‘t like the rain, then that is a belief for you. Maybe that is true for a number of reasons, but what if you were able to erase that stifling thought and replace it with a new one. Maybe even create a new experience to shift your perspective. Instead of always concentrating on all the things you dislike about the rain, think about all the reasons there are to love the rain: The sound is relaxing and soothing, it smells beautiful, you love to curl up on the couch and read a book when it is raining, it cleans off your driveway, it makes your garden grow, etc. Maybe the next time it rains, you go outside without an umbrella and dance around and jump in the puddles…allowing yourself to bring out your inner child!
Here is another example: Growing up, your Mom always told you that spiders are awful and if you ever see one in the house, you must kill it. As a result, that has become your belief. So, whenever you see a spider in the house, you think, "Ewww…Kill that spider!" Years later, as you are going in for the kill on another innocent spider, your husband tells you, "Those wolf spiders are good and they won‘t hurt you. Do not kill them, just put them outside." At that moment you have a choice. You can scoff your husband and continue to hate spiders and kill them, or you can shift your perspective on spiders. You can see them as innocent, helpful insects and set them free.
Life constantly presents situations to you that allow you to evaluate your perspective and change it to a healthier one.
Last week, one of my sisters was at my home visiting. We were hanging by the pool. At one point we were really hot, so we put the lawn chairs in our pool so our feet could be wet and cool us off. As we sat down in the chairs, our bottoms submerged into the water. I immediately said, "Ewww, I don‘t like it when my crotch (I know…gross) is sitting in the water." My sister said, "Really…Wow, I think it is refreshing!" We had two very different perspectives. I took a moment to think about what she said and to see her point of view…and I was then able to relax and feel refreshed instead of being uncomfortable and grossed out. It was a simple change, but extremely powerful!
Have you ever noticed that your attitude is so positive when you are on vacation? Things are new and exciting, food tastes better, you are friendlier to strangers, and you are more calm and relaxed. You view each day as a new adventure. Some people need to take regular vacations so that they can "Change their latitude…and therefore change their attitude". What if we were to pretend to be on vacation every day? What if we had that same fresh perspective in our daily chores and journeys? It would make us have a new perspective and appreciation for how wonderful our lives are. It would help us to be more appreciative of how blessed we truly are.
Think about going to the grocery store. This is such a simple and mundane task, but we have to do it if we want to have food in our home. Imagine for a moment that we lived in a third world country and did not have the luxury of a beautiful, convenient grocery store. And then we came to vacation here, where we live…and we went to the grocery store. We would be blown away! Our perspective would be one of awe and appreciation. WOW…we don‘t have to catch, kill, and skin the cow? We can walk down the aisles and just put whatever we want in our basket? So convenient and fresh and wonderful!
"Changing our attitude helps us have more gratitude!"
I could give you example after example of changing our minds and our perspectives to healthier ones…but I think you get the idea…it applies to everything. Maybe you are the one who already has the healthy, positive perspective. If that is the case, then changing your perspective for a moment will enable you to connect deeper with others, be more compassionate, have a deeper sense of gratitude, and become a well rounded person. When you realize that by changing your perspective, big things can be seen as little things, and it becomes much harder to worry about anything.
Take Action: This week and beyond, let‘s pay attention to our thoughts and perspectives. Let‘s open our minds to see the other side. Let‘s make little shifts that allow us to feel better and more positive. Let‘s contemplate different points of view and dig our heels out of the sand. Let‘s pretend we are on vacation and appreciate the things we take for granted and see things with fresh eyes! Which pair of sunglasses will you wear today?
Change your perspective…change your life!