By: Sherry Levine, Regular Contributor
Image from coachingcultureca.wordpress.com
The word “perspective” has been on my mind a lot these days. To me perspective is the filter to which you choose to look at life through. It is a combination of everything you've learned, felt, experienced, and value throughout your life. It is formulated by your parents, your childhood and where you grew up. But it can change. And change and change again as it determines how we see the world. Suddenly, perspective seems very fragile to me. It is something that can be shifted and changed in an instant. It can be influenced by those around us, things we hear and see. It is also something that determines our feelings and reactions to pretty much everything in life.
The reason I'm even writing about perspective is because I feel like so many of us live our lives in our default mode. We feel, we do, we react and we live in this never-ending breeze that pushes us along, side to side. So much of my profession as a teen life-coach is forcing my clients to slow down and take a deeper look at our lives, to be proactive and intentional as opposed to reactive and living each day in default. In order to see those less obvious meanings, to read between the lines, to understand those around you and close to you better, we must first purposefully and intentionally want to.
While on this topic of default I can't help but feel that as a default, human beings feel and see the worst. Our default is often insecurity, jealousy, greed, putting people down we think are less etc. As we get older we must LEARN the other way, we must TRY to not be jealous or envious, we must be TAUGHT that life is beautiful because of its other glories and we must INTENTIONALLY try to see that other perspective.
Your perspective is a beautiful thing, and a genuine thing, but it's a conscious thing. There are events and happenings in our lives that can give us a shift in perspective, causing us to see the world in a different light, making us possibly appreciate things we never knew were there, or react differently than we have in the past, but I also believe we create our own perception.
Differences in perspective cause a difference in reactions, a difference in feelings, a difference in actions, thoughts and so on. Who's to say whos perspective is the right one? Is it possible that your neighbor has experienced some sort of event causing them to see the world in a different way than you do? Is it possible that maybe you're so busy trying to push your points and opinions onto your neighbor that you're not even seeing how their perspective is viable?
This example of how easily perspectives can shift, and how our own journeys affect our own perspective made things really clear for me. Death is a huge perspective shifter, and more generally, tragedy. Stevie Nicks portrays this so eloquently when she commented on the death of her mother in an interview with the U.K.’s The Daily Mail:
"My mom just died two months ago, and since she died, I don't have any problems anymore. My problem is that my mom is gone."
Tragedies and deaths cause us to reevaluate what's important in our lives. But how come it takes something so tragic to remind us of how incredible life is? This perspective is an intentional one, a mature one, and one that will significantly better your life. The perspective that life is beautiful, that I must cherish every moment, appreciate more, get rid of the feelings that are a waste of time like jealousy, greed, hatred, judgment and just enjoy everything I've been given and everything I've created for myself.
It’s difficult out there these days, trust me, I know. These ideas are definitely easier said than done, and I’m aware of that. Every day I deal with intentionally trying to see the good and feeling the good instead of concentrating on the bad. In a world where everyone’s lives are constantly on display we must always remind ourselves to look for the good and not let those dark, silly feelings make us feel like this life isn’t great.
If everyone remembers these few things when they leave this post I will be happy:
1. Slow down and take a minute to try and understand people's different journeys in life and how everyone's journey is special, precious, and necessary for them.
2. Don't force your own perspectives and opinions onto others, but rather understand that everyone must come to their own conclusions through their own journeys.
3. Work hard to appreciate and see that beautiful perspective on life, especially when life gets tough, or you feel jealousy or envy creeping up.
4. Embrace and realize your own perspective shifts and remain curious and open to the perspectives of others.
Ask yourself more: Is this really how I want to react to a situation? Is this reaction accurately portraying my values? Is this really that important that it can make me feel this way?
Just because you think something, doesn't make it true. Use your brain to dig for that deeper understanding of those around you and yourself. Which filter will you choose?
About Sherry: I am Sherry Levine. A 26-year-old woman committed to supporting and inspiring women in any way I can. With my contributions to I AM THAT GIRL and my life-coaching program Generation Teen, designed to provide guidance to everyday teen girls, it is my mission to encourage and empower all women to create the happiest and most fulfilling life possible.