I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how a shift in perspective can have a significant effect on our lives. How we view something informs our experience. Perception is reality. Where we focus our attention affects how we feel. Our minds quickly and naturally categorize things as pleasant or unpleasant, good or bad, right or wrong, and we may accept these labels without question.
Do we see the world through rose-colored glasses or do we jump on the misery loves company train more often than we’d like? What stories do we hold about ourselves? "This is just who I am. I don't... I always..." Are they solidified from years of repetition or do they allow for evolution, expansion, becoming? What would it be like to shift to "Maybe... I don't know. It might be possible."
Since there are so many places we could go with these ideas and questions, I’ve invited some wise and beautiful souls to write a series of posts about perspective that I will share with you in the upcoming weeks. Asking them to share their experiences with changing perspective and the impact it’s had on their life. I’m excited for us all to hear what it means to them and to learn from them what’s helped support a shift in a challenging time.
Sometimes asking a new question or considering a different viewpoint can lead to a pivotal moment in one’s life. For instance, when I came to terms with the idea that my son might never find recovery, that he might not even want the recovery I envisioned for him, I softened a bit, nagging him less, listening more (at least every now and then), and our connection deepened.
The Power of Questions
Questioning our own beliefs or pithy phrases thrown around as if everyone knows and accepts them as truth is healthy and wise. For instance, “You’re only as happy as your unhappiest child.” Is that the only possible truth? Does this have to condemn you to their level of sadness? Or is it possible that you can be happy, even if your child is struggling?
Lucy Hone, a leading authority on resilience poses the question, "Is this (thought) helping or hurting me?" Thinking about what serves you and what disempowers you invites you to make a change.
"It shouldn't be this way" is a thought I've entertained, held onto, and dwelled in many times in my life. A thought like this can lead to advocacy or taking a stand for change, but it can also keep you stuck. Even with advocacy, we need to begin with the reality of what's here. For healing, we need to let ourselves feel what's true. When we can come to, "I don't like it, but it is this way, so now what?" we can lean into what's next. We can discern what steps to take, what's called for.
Shifting from "I can't" to "I won't" can move you from feeling a victim to making an empowered choice. Feel into the difference between, "I can't take this any more! I can't do this!" vs. "I won't do ____." Won't feels like it gives you ground to stand on and also opens the door for "I won't do this, but I could do this other thing." Thoughts that land as absolutes are limiting whereas questions open possibilities.
Learning to discern for ourselves, “Is that really true?” can open our minds and maybe reveal another path or ground of being. Is it true that I'm not a good public speaker? Is it true that my kid always lies to me? Is it true that things will never change? Never and always are pretty good indicators that we're locked into a limiting story.
Please enjoy exploring this contemplation with our guest writers in the coming weeks!
So many questions...I’d love to hear from you
- How does this land for you? What does it stir up?
- When have you changed perspective on something?
- Is there a perspective shift you're playing with right now?
- Change is hard - particularly mindset change. What helped you to get there?
- How have things in your life changed as a result?
Please drop me a note or share with us in the comments below. Thanks for adding your wisdom!