Perspective. It’s all in our perspective.

It always amazes me how wrapped up I can get at times when even the most inconsequential things in my life happen. I am talking about those things that happen from day to day that in the big picture really do not matter. For instance, from a mother’s perspective when our children don’t clean their rooms when we tell them to for the third time in as many days, we tend to get upset. Never mind that we have to pull pieces of dried pizza crust or hair pins out of our feet or feel the imprint of a well placed Lego in the soft of an unsuspecting bare foot as we clear a path through everything on the floor just to get close enough to turn off a forgotten alarm clock!

Or, it might be something like that of your significant other overlooking something that was important to you like a special day that you have shared in the past, even your anniversary. It could be a disappointment like that of a hurtful word or insensitive act by someone close to you, or maybe you were not affirmed at work for a job well done or passed over for a promotion. If you are a student, it could be that you studied like never before in your life to get that hard-earn B, and ended up with a C as a result of a very unfriendly professor. The list goes on and on, doesn’t it?

Most all of these issues can be very upsetting to us, especially if we feel that our expectations have not been met either in a situation or a relationship. And, it is very possible that these unfulfilled expectations can lead to us being consumed with negative thoughts and emotions surrounding a less than ideal life experience.

Here are some steps that you can take to gain perspective on the events of your life that I have used successfully, and they have made all the difference in the world to me concerning those things (or people) that I cannot control. They have helped me to see the bigger picture, and to better address the underlying problems associated with those less than ideal situations or events that come into or brush by my life.

1) When an event happens that bring a negative emotion, stop yourself from saying or doing anything immediately as a REACTION towards that event or situation that could be cause for escalating it to a higher or more volatile level.

2) Remove yourself graciously and without confrontation from the situation or experience and take a deep breath, even if it means simply excusing yourself from the room where the event or action (of inconsideration or offense) towards you has taken place. I have found that this really helps when I can step back from what is happening right at that time, take a deep breath, and have some time to gain an objective perspective on what is really going on, whether the time you choose to remove yourself from the situation is a few seconds, a few minutes, a few hours, or even a few days.

3) When you remove yourself from a situation or potential destructive confrontation, take the time to ask yourself what part you played in bringing about the disagreement and if it has been the result of irrational thoughts or imaginations, unfounded accusations, or your acting on irrational self-absorbed thoughts.

4) Our attitude determines our altitude in success, whether that success in relationships or circumstances. A positive and realistic attitude that is not over-burdened with overly demanding expectations of others can change our lives both on a daily basis and in the long term.

5) Avoid ingrown eyeballs. When we are self-consumed and always looking at what is in it for us or how others can make our lives easier, we lose focus on what really matters in life.

6) When we choose to lead by example in the areas of our lives that we feel that others have let us down in, then we become the model for others to follow.

7) Think big picture. When we make a decision to keep a proper perspective on daily events and interactions, it will enable us to see the big picture and to realize that some things are just better off overlooked when it comes to what our expectations are in others. It does not mean that we must or should live with continued unfulfilled expectations when it is within our power to effectuate peaceful and positive change through open, respectful, honest communication with those in our lives.

Let me know how things are going for you as you begin to implement these seven principles of perspective and positive action into your life. I would love to hear from you.

 

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4 Responses to Gaining Perspective in What Matters

  1. Lisa says:

    Thanks for your thoughts, Roger! (For the record, you are one of the FRIENDLY, well-liked professors! Your great reputation precedes you!) :) Lengthening the gap before responding is certainly a great way to help control what we DO end up eventually saying or doing. I think, for most people, controlled responses are on the list of ‘have to work more on’! The important thing, in my opinion, is the attitude behind it.

  2. Roger Strickland says:

    Maybe I’m one of those unfriendly professors. :) But I suggest we can each visualize our “ideal self” (or our ‘better self’ or ‘better angel’) and try to imagine what she/he would do. It’s a technique that takes practice, but if, for example, you ideally handle stress by not getting upset, by remaining pleasant, by being quiet – then return to that ideal at every chance. When practiced regularly, this technique can become more habitual. Like everything in life, it’s not 100%, but it’s a step in the right direction.
    This also requires being able to “get out of yourself” or seeing yourself from the outside. Also a very helpful habit to develop. It helps lengthen the “gap” between stimulus (stepped on the Lego) and response (“_____(bad word!”) Lengthening the gap is a great step towards controlling your anger, not letting it control you.

  3. Lisa says:

    Thanks, SD! Of course- anybody can comment on this site! I’m thankful to hear feedback!

  4. sdw says:

    Great article Lisa! Not sure if us guys are allowed to comment here, but just wanted to say that this article is well worth spreading around. Lot’s of good information! Thanks!

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