We choose our perspective

…and it is a daily affair! Put quite simply, it is how we decide to view things. A situation itself or an object of our focus does not alter, but rather it is the way we opt to see things which affects the feelings, emotions and the outcomes. It is understandable that rain to a farmer is met with a very different response to the same rain experienced by a hurried mother trying to get her three children to school. By the same token to a worm, we may be the least dangerous creatures on this planet, and chickens may be the most dangerous creatures; while to a chicken, it’s us that are the most dangerous. Everything is a matter of perspective.

As such we are able to comprehend the expression suggesting someone may be ‘looking at the world through rose tinted glasses’ or conversely the statement that implies that someone has a ‘cup half empty’.

Perspective is everything in life, if you change your perspective you change your life. The same thing may be presented to a number of us, but different people look at it differently.

Hence some are happy and others are unhappy. Some are successful and others are unsuccessful and some are sailing in life and others are failing in life. When we think negatively, everything around us tastes bitter. When we think positively all that is around us tastes sweet. When we look at a problem with agony we experience anguish. When we look at the same problem with enthusiasm we experience joy.

In order to change our perspective, we need to change our emotional and mental inputs. We need to find sources of positive influences. These come in many shapes and forms and each individual will respond uniquely to books, blogs, friends, spiritual leaders and a variety of other resources.

As counsellors we need to be inquisitive of our client’s perspective. We need to take time to ask questions, to be genuinely interested in their answers and caring enough to try to understand what is being said. It is also relevant in supporting our clients that to provide a good, solid perspective of their issues that we learn to look at things differently. Knowledge, interest, information, and genuine discussion gives us a forum in which to explore other viewpoints and opinions. Mental growth occurs when we are happy to respectfully question and understand other peoples’ attitudes, ideas and views. Patience and tolerance are a pre- requisite to this approach.

There is an ongoing silent conversation we have with ourselves. Are we aware of what we are thinking? Why we hold this view? Is it realistic, fair, based on evidence? Is there another way of looking at it? Should we be listening to our heart or follow the dictates of our mind? The battle is always on. It is for us to decide which side of the circumstance we wish to view it.

Changing perspective is not as easy as it appears. To suddenly think something you thought was wrong, to believe it to be right is hard. To change a perspective, it needs lots of courage and a good amount of effort. It is not a quick fix solution nor is it an overnight process to acquire fresh perspectives. It needs reconditioning of the mind. It needs training of our brain. Our perspectives are there hidden in our storehouse of hopes, dreams and learned behaviours. We need to recognise our views and learn to nurture new thoughts most often through practise, success and rehearsal in ongoing and different facets of life.

The concept of reframing will be a familiar one to us all. Reframing requires seeing something in a new way, in a context that allows us to recognise and appreciate alternative, positive aspects of our situation. Reframing helps us to use whatever life hands us as opportunities to be taken advantage of, rather than problems to be avoided. Breakdowns are transformed into challenges and new possibilities to experience life more fully and to become an increasingly whole human being filled with resilience and experience to forge forward. Your perception creates your reality.

According to Marcus Aurelius, it is worth remembering that “what we hear is an opinion not a fact and what we see is a perspective and not a truth.”

“If you change the way you look at things; the things you look at change”

Dr Wayne W Dyer