This little jewel of wisdom came from my Daddy.
One day while we were talking about something, he said, “It is all about perspective. Would you rather spend a whole day fishing or a day digging in the dirt?” The obvious choice is fishing. Then he said, “Well that really depends on if you are a worm or a man.”
There is so much truth in that. Of course, we can’t change our basic form from human to worm or vice versa, but we can choose to change our perspective.
In his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Steven Covey says, “Our paradigms, correct or incorrect, are the sources of our attitudes and behaviors, and ultimately our relationships with others.”
What he calls paradigm, I call perspective. It is the way we see things. How do you view the situation you are in?
If you are thinking, “my situation is what it is and I can’t change it”, you may be right, but you can change the way you see it. I’m not talking about lying to yourself about where you are, but in looking at the bigger truth and finding the power to be more positive and proactive in your life.
So, how do I do that?
First, you can really put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
When it seems like someone has been unfair to you, try to imagine being them. What life experiences have they had? Maybe their issue isn’t you, it is how they see themselves.
I read a blog post/article recently where a woman was lamenting that she was going to have a son and questioning how she was going to raise him to be a good guy in a Trump run world full of misogynists.
She said that when questioned about decoration a nursery in a sports theme, she snapped and questioned, “Just because he’s a boy he has to be a jock? What about reading and music and art and cooking? What if he wants to be an accountant, would that be manly enough?” and ended with, “Does he have to be a bully and rapist too?!?” (In all fairness, her full article can be read here.) As anti feminist as it may sound, she made me mad. She is railing against misogyny but is all in for misandry. (I could go into a whole different post here, but I am going to try to stay on topic.)
Then, after I thought about it a minute, I felt very sorry for her. I can’t imagine looking at half of the population and assuming they were out to get me, that they hated me and thought of me as less than, or worse, that somehow I was less than. That they had no use for me unless it was sexual. I can’t imagine seeing men as all one type. Are there men out there like that? Yes. They are jerks. Have I encountered some of them? Yes. They are jerks. Guess what there are women out there like that, too. They are jerkettes.
What must have happened to her in her life to make her feel that way? When I considered her perspective, I wasn’t angry but felt pity for her (and her son and husband – again, another post) and a desire to get to know her and help her see that people can be good or bad without regard to anatomy.
Another great way to change your perspective it to take into account time factors.
Whenever something happens, ask yourself will this matter later this week? Later this month? This time next year? For eternity?
Russell and I had a huge fight once. Ok, more than once, but on this particular occasion, it was because after being married for over ten years, he didn’t know how to spell my middle name. (In case you don’t know, my middle name is Diann – this is not a complicated name.) I was furious. How, when I know your name, DOB, place of birth, social and blood type, can you not know how to spell my middle name?
After stewing for over a week about it and sharing my anger with a very wise pastor’s wife, she said, “Oh Honey, he’s just a man and they are going to mess up. Will it really matter in eternity?”
That was some of the best advice I have ever been given . Want to get a better perspective on something? Ask yourself if it will matter for eternity? The answer to that will totally illuminate its importance. It is worth having a complete hissy fit over something that really doesn’t matter for the long haul? Probably not.
The third way to change your perspective, is to realize you are a very small cog in a very large machine.
In some ways, this goes along with considering time. You are part of something larger. You are important, no doubt, but hear this: Sometimes what happens to you in your life isn’t about you at all. It is about getting someone else to a place that they need to be in their journey and you are just a piece of the puzzle.
I have a friend who tried for a long time to have a baby. After several failed attempts, she finally said I don’t have to have another baby, but I want to raise another child. Less than a week later, some she knew, who knew someone offered to give her an unwanted baby. In probably less than two months, she was holding her newborn.
What was happening to her, wasn’t all about her. It was about the fact that little baby was coming. A baby whose mother had considered abortion because she knew she wasn’t able to raise another child. That baby was going to need a momma who was ready to raise another child even if it wasn’t one she gave birth to.
So how will changing your perspective help your life?
I believe it will give you more joy and peace.
It will make you a more thankful, mindful person. That example in the first point up there, after I considered her life, I wasn’t angry any more. In the second point, I wasn’t angry at my husband any more. (Ok, he did buy some flowers, chocolates and romance inducing candle to get me totally over it, but considering eternity really did take the edge off of the mad.) In that last point, my friend realized if she had been able to have her own biological child, her heart might not have been willing to raise a child who needed her. Changing your perspective will help you remove the destructive “what ifs” and “if onlys” from your vocabulary.
It can help you see others in a better light.
I believe if we can see the best in someone, then the way we treat them will or at least should reflect that. Realizing that someone is hurtful because they are hurting should change the way we respond to them. After I considered how the boy mom in the Trump’s America story must have been damaged, I felt differently about her. I saw her as someone who really was concerned with how to raise a better boy than the men she knows.
Lastly, I believe in the laws of attraction.
If you are looking for the best in others, learning to empathize, and letting go of your anger when you think others are wrong or have wronged you, then that will come back to you. If you keep your focus on what is wrong and don’t try to change your perspective, all you will ever see is what is wrong. You get back what you put out into the world. I know some people believe that is some new aged mumbo jumbo, but that is Bible.
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” Proverbs 23:7
You cannot live a life rife with negativity and expect a positive life in return. Even if life handed you positive, you would only see the negative. That type of person says “Well, I wouldn’t want to win the lottery, then I’d have to pay taxes on it.” They always see and point out the negative. Don’t be that person.
My prayer for today: Lord, help me to shift my perspective. Help me to see others’ motives so I can better understand. Help me to see people as you see them – all flawed but all lovable and worthy. Help me to learn by focusing on the positive in negative situations. Help me remember that what is so important today, might not matter tomorrow. Help me to focus on what is good and pure and trustworthy. Lord, in areas where I find that I truly am wronged and where there are relationships that are truly destructive in my life, help me to cut those ties in a way that would bring glory and honor to you and then Lord, help me to forgive them as you forgive.
I hope you all have a great week! Be blessed…..