One of the combining details that affects our inner state and our subsequent decisions is our perspective about the situation. Depending on our perspective we will give the meaning to that particular event and from there follows our emotions and decisions what we are going to do next.
I am sure we all have experienced situation, when we, after hearing some news or having some particular experience, automatically reacted to what happened accepting the event as a bad thing. Being overwhelmed with negative feelings, we got so fearful, frustrated or disappointed that we offended someone, hung up the phone or broke our relationship with someone, dropped pursuing our goal, gave up on a project we intended to work on, broke our commitments and similar. After some time, when everything calmed down, we asked ourselves “Why did I do that…?”, then realizing that we acted that way because we were driven by the emotions that we had at that time. Unfortunately, our words and actions most often are irreversible. But if we learn how to stop ourselves from the negative reaction and allow our empowering perspective to shape our response to a situation, it is much easier to accept and handle occurred problems, and we can save ourselves from unpleasant further situations that we might put ourselves into as a result of our reactive response.
Our perspective shapes our response. Having the same event, we have a choice of how we will look at it and how we will interpret it.
- Is this a punishment or is this a lesson for me?
- Is this a loss or an opened opportunity to have new and better?
- Does this situation show me that I am not good enough or does this situation show there is an area where I can improve myself, so I can do better next time?
- Is this a dead end or is it a challenge for me to find a way because I know there must be a way?
- Is this a failure or is it an experience with the lesson of what I can do better and where I should improve? Is this a crash or is it just the end of something that will be replaced by something that really needs to take place in my life?
- Is this too much for me to handle or is this opportunity for me to overcome a new challenge and become stronger?
- Is this a problem or is it a challenge for me to find a way, to improve and create what I want?
Let’s take a simple example. Ken, after a break-up with the woman he loves due to her lies and cheating, can look at it in various ways. Ken can come up with ideas that he is not good enough, something’s wrong with him, he has been lied to because there is something better than him and probably this woman only wanted to use him. What is he going to do next? Very likely, this kind of perspective will lead him into a belief that will lower his self-confidence and will greatly impact his decision what love and relationship means to him. He might start believing that he is not good enough to be loved, women are deceptive cheaters, it doesn’t work out for him because he is not worthy of a good strong relationship and similar. From that belief and new perspective about himself and relationships, he might make a decision that close connection and love hurt, and he doesn’t even want to get into a new relationship, because he doesn’t want to be hurt and disappointed again.
Having the same situation there is a choice to look at it differently. Ken can look at the break-up as a good thing, because if his second half chose to lie to him and be dishonest, then this was not really his second half. He knows what kind of woman he wants to tie his life with, and this is definitely not what he wants. In fact, it would have been worse if he wasted more time with her and especially if he had made a life commitment with that person. Now he has a new opportunity to meet his true life partner, who will love him unconditionally, who will not hurt him and will be faithful to him. Actually, he is truly thankful for this break-up, because now he is free to meet his true woman for him and is ready for that special connection and relationship. How will this perspective make Ken feel and what kind of decision he will make? Much different, right? The same situation, two different perspectives and totally different outcomes.
Another simple example in a different situation: let’s say I come to work and find out that I was let go. What am I going to do about it? It greatly depends on my perspective. I can see it as I am not good enough and they are getting rid of me, it’s a big problem, it’s the end of my security and wellbeing. But what if this is an opportunity for me to get a better position? What if this door closes, so I would open another door to have a career that I really want? Maybe this is an opportunity for me to apply for the position that I dream about or maybe even create my own business? Again, two different perspectives and both of them will create totally different outcomes for a person.
What if we look at circumstances or occurred events as just the facts. The fact itself can’t make us feel in any particular way. It is just a plain fact same way as any object. It’s how we look at the fact will shape our attitude and our feelings about it. Events, same way as objects or activities are simply neutral matter and they have both likes and dislikes, depending on what it means to people. Let’s take a gamble game. It is just a game, nothing more. But how we feel about it depends on how we look at it and what gambling game means to us. We can look at it as a fun time with friends, excitement of a mystery of what’s going to happen next and a great opportunity to gain unlimited amount of money with no effort and work. Also, we can look at it as a waste of time, opening doors to something that can bring a great destruction into our lives and it is just throwing away our money that we can spend on something more meaningful. It’s all how we look at it will make us feel about that object or any event.
Our perspective is the foundation of what meaning we give to the event or any circumstance, and depending on that we will feel about it in a particular way and will choose what we are going to do about it.
Perspective depends greatly on our beliefs. We have a choice to believe that we are capable and will improve in the learning process or we may believe that we are just not good enough and will never be. We have a choice to believe that everything that happens in our lives is in God’s control and everything happens for the purpose and for the better. We also may believe that there is no God, life is whatever events happens to us, it’s all about luck and most often life’s not fair. We may believe that with our decisions we can shape our destiny, and we may believe that all life’s events and circumstances are out of our control; therefore, it is meaningless to work hard and make the effort. We may believe that we are not good enough and are not really worthy of love and strong family, and we may choose to believe that everybody is worthy and can have it, so we do as well and we will have it when the right time comes. We may have a belief that we will not succeed anyway, because we are not worthy of success or we are simply not as lucky as others, and we can believe that we will be blessed and will succeed wherever we go. These are just several examples of general beliefs about God, life, love and us as people, which shape our perspective about the events and our connection with people. Belief is nothing more than what we are convinced about, which we can choose as well.