An incident over the weekend reminded me of how stepping back and taking a fresh perspective can help when something happens, and we react. Sometimes badly.
For instance, when the gas grill ran out of propane as soon as we put burgers on. Everything after that went wrong: the burgers got overcooked, someone forgot to warm the buns to get grill marks, and the indoor cooking alternative made a mess of the stove! Why didn’t we use the oven broiler, you ask? Well, I had just finished cleaning the oven, that’s why! While this was not a life-changing event, it caused some tension and chilled the air for a time that evening.
Even small annoyances can set off your behavior because someone pushed a button. And, you can’t see the situation any other way through the anger or displeasure.
The reaction, at the moment, might be caused by an underlying fear or belief. You perceive something terrible is happening, so you jump to conclusions or pass judgment unfairly. This behavior can lead you down a rabbit hole if allowed to prevail.
Whether it is a significant, life-changing event or something simple, like the grill episode, some look at the glass as half full, while others see it as half empty. And, sometimes, those two people live in the same household. What rolls off her back gets stuck in his craw.
It happens in the best of families. When it occurred in mine, I got frustrated that he was making such a big deal of it – “put the burgers on the stove and get propane tomorrow,” I thought. But, it was not so easy for him because of his perspective.
A Cloudy Glass, Half Empty
Sometimes, when negative thoughts cloud our perception, it is impossible to see anything positive in the situation.
Taking a fresh perspective requires practice. Along with that practice comes clarity and hopefulness that a different outcome is possible.
A great example of this comes from one of our guests on the video podcast, Tips for the Transition. Erin struggled to find herself again when she discovered her husband was cheating on her and lying about it for a long time. Erin found it difficult to show up as a good role model for her young daughter, and she knew something had to change.
Her answer to taking a new point of view was to create a mantra: “The plus side is…” When something challenged her or her daughter, they repeated that phrase and consciously looked for the silver lining—a new way of looking at things.
RELATED VIDEO: The Plus Side Is…
“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and focus on what could go right.”
Now, it’s not easy to focus on what could go right or find the silver lining. But, when you focus on the positive outcomes, rather than what is making you angry or afraid, you can change the way you see things. And, on the other side of that is hope.
Think positive thoughts about your circumstances, and you will find the power to change things for the better.
“If you can’t change your circumstances, change your perspective.”
~~ Author Unknown
Don’t you love how smart this “Author Unknown” person is?
Taking a Fresh Perspective during Life Transitions
When life gets dramatic and challenging, and you are changed in the process, a fresh perspective is critically important. It is what will help you move toward a successful outcome.
Life events such as loss of a loved one, divorce, career upheaval, or retirement are only some of the transitional times you can face that leave you asking yourself, who am I now that things have changed? Another question I often hear is, how do I move out of this rut?
“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.”
~~ Walter Anderson
Taking a fresh perspective is a choice. When you think the worst will happen, it usually does—a self-fulfilling prophecy. And, when you choose to believe that you can survive this latest life catastrophe—in fact, thrive through it—more often than not, you do.
What happens next is a beautiful thing. You show up wearing that new attitude. It is evident to those around you that you’re committed to making good things happen for yourself. The people you care about most will march beside you to encourage, behind you to push and in front of you to lead the way.
When you surround yourself with this incredible network of supporters, you’re never alone on your journey. You are empowered to keep moving forward, one small step at a time.
A New Point of View Affects Your Mind
“Open minds lead to open doors.”
~~ Author Unknown
Taking a fresh perspective is also about keeping an open mind. When you are free to see new possibilities, you will be amazed at what happens. There are so many famous adages that fit this—“when one door closes, a window opens” and “everything happens for a reason” are two that I believe are true.
My life’s journey is evidence that doors close and windows open all the time. I also believe that there is no such thing as a coincidence.
Here’s what I know for sure: Good things happen for me when I stay open to the opportunities that come, study to understand their potential, consider them carefully, and reach deep to learn what I should do about them.
Not taking your circumstances at face value is an excellent place to start. Pick it up, turn it around, roll it over, and find another point of view.
Your Heart Will Know
“Sometimes, the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.”
~~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Above all else, when it comes to taking a fresh perspective, you must listen carefully to what your heart and inner voices are saying. Often, during the emotional upheaval you feel when life events happen—big or small—you might forget to listen to your own better judgment—your inner wisdom and gut instincts.
Personal experience tells me that the practice of listening to your heart will catalyze your ability to see things differently. Practice noticing what feels right and wrong. What are your little voices saying to you? Practice writing about those thoughts, ideas, and insights. The journal in which you record these musings will become a valuable resource to look back in and see how far you’ve come.
These practices will help you to:
- Turn your situation around, leaving the fear behind.
- Sort through the confusion and bring clarity.
- Let go of the hopelessness, replacing it with empowerment.
Testing out new ways to look at things differently when you feel afraid, overwhelmed, panicked, or otherwise mired in the muck, will open a door or window for you. What floats in might be a surprise or a welcomed answer.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get better, you got curious instead and started taking a fresh perspective to see how you could re-imagine a different outcome.
If you are facing adversity and living with uncertainty about how to move beyond it, you may wonder if it’s even possible. Making choices that move you forward and finding ways to look at things differently can be hard, and getting some guidance may be just what you need. Start by exploring how change can impact you? And learn how to move through it with more dignity and grace by reading my free ebook, then let’s have a chat. Click here to take the first step: From Darkness to Light: Learning to Adapt to Change and Move Through Transition.
All good guidance suggestions. I like- “The plus side of this is…” Thanks.
Thank you for sharing your comment, Kate. I also love “the plus side is …” as another way to look for silver linings.