I was out walking with my wife and we were about 2 miles into a 5 mile walk when it started pouring down. After 15 minutes we were both soaked and she said “If I had known it was going to rain I’d have stayed at home!” I said “What’s the problem? Skin is waterproof and we will be in a nice warm house with clean dry clothes in half an hour! Just think about those poor soldiers in the trenches in the last two wars, they were wet, cold and hungry for months on end and fighting for their lives! A little bit of rain is nothing compared to that!” Get some perspective!
We just need a different perspective!”
For a lot of us, the idea of gaining some perspective has never been more relevant; as the country is pulled from pillar to post tier-wise by the government, and society becomes more and more divided on the seriousness of the situation, and the idea of a ‘new normal.’
It’s been said that “Your outlook on life is a direct reflection on how much you like yourself”, and we’ve all experienced ‘not seeing the woods for the trees’, meaning that sometimes you are too close to something to see what it really is – you’re not seeing the bigger picture – but how do we get further away from ourselves in order to gain some perspective, and see things for what they really are?
I’m not really a fan of the ‘don’t complain, it could be worse,’ attitude – it’s like telling someone not to be happy because it could be better, but having said that, we do all need to put things into perspective sometimes in order to appreciate what we have; especially with everything that’s going on in the world at the moment.
Here are my six tips to help you get some perspective!
1 – Live In The Now!
It’s easy to dwell on the past – especially if, rather than reminiscing, you’re full of regrets and ‘what if’s’. The past is irreversible, and what’s done is done – all we can do is learn from it. The present is where we are right now and it’s where our focus and mindset needs to be. The future is based on where you are right now – THAT’S what you can change; the decisions you make today can affect tomorrow, but not yesterday.
Let’s say, for example, that you’ve been dwelling on a past relationship. Perhaps you’re thinking that you could have done or handled things differently. Revisiting that past relationship is probably a mistake; you can’t move forwards by going backwards, as they say, but you can gain some perspective from it and take what you’ve learnt into your future relationships. Yes, that relationship (or friendship, or career path; it works for those too) has ended now, but with any luck you have gained experiences that you can use to mould your future relationships and job opportunities. Never get so caught up in the past that you forget to appreciate and live in the now.
2 – Don’t Get Hung Up!
Society often dictates what we feel we should or shouldn’t do, and it can be easy to get hung up on that and feel overwhelmed with the idea of living our lives based on what other people feel we should or shouldn’t be doing.
If you feel yourself getting stressed about this, try and gain some perspective on the situation. In the grand scheme of things does it really matter what someone else thinks about how we live our lives? As long as what we’re doing isn’t hurting anyone, does it matter if people are laughing about us, or whispering about our decision?
Perhaps you have decided to take your family and move abroad, or give up a well-paid corporate job to follow your dreams of being an artist…sure, people might be rolling their eyes, saying you’re crazy, or talking about you behind your back – but it ‘s your life, not theirs. It’s said that it’s better to regret the things you do rather than the things you don’t do, and if you take that attitude when you make life-changing decisions, you can take comfort in knowing that you’re not limiting yourself by conforming to the expectations of others.
3 – Don’t Blow Things Out Of Proportion!
How many times have you been convinced that what is happening to you is the WORST things to have EVER happened to ANYONE EVER? More than you care to admit probably. I’m not talking about the ‘big’ things – death and illness, for example, are devastating and it can certainly feel impossible to find any good in those situations…but if you find yourself complaining about the small things; being caught in the rain, a power cut, that jacket you’ve had your eye on all month being out of stock come payday, it’s probably an idea to take some time to put things into perspective.
Yes, you got soaked on the walk home; but you can get indoors, dry off and put on clean, dry clothes. Sure, the power’s gone off during your favourite TV show – but generally on a daily basis you have access to all the utilities: electric, gas, running water…all readily available within the roof you have over your head. Can’t buy that jacket now? At least you have a job and the means to buy new clothes – a privilege denied to many. Disappointment is real, but it’s important to keep things in perspective and not let it affect your mindset and ruin your day.
4 – Don’t Be In Such A Rush!
We live in a fast-paced, ever-changing world, and we’ve become conditioned to expect everything in an instant – especially those of us who are part of the Instagram generation, where it seems that everything is available as and when we want it, gift-wrapped and served on a silver platter. It’s hard, with this mindset, to not want to apply this to our life goals.
Put things into perspective – Goals are not achieved overnight, and we shouldn’t expect them to be. It takes hard work and determination, we might get knocked back several times, and doors might shut in our face….but at least we have the opportunity to follow our dreams.
Have you been trying to start your own business? Are things not happening as fast as you’d like? Struggling mentally with not being an overnight success? Take a breath and check your mindset. At least you have an idea and a dream to move forward with. At least you have the means to not be stuck in a 9-5, and at some point, even if it’s months or even years from now, you’ll be doing something that you love and will be enjoying the fruits of your labours.
5 – Think of others!
Nothing will help you to gain perspective of your own life faster than working to help those who are less fortunate than yourself. Volunteering for a charity, helping out at a soup kitchen or food bank – or even donating to those places, are humbling experiences that go a long way to making you see how good you’ve got it.
Having an exasperating debate with a partner over what to have for dinner? How lucky you are to have a choice. Hate your job? How fortunate you are to be employed. Do you keep ignoring that call from your mum/sister/friend, because you’re busy? Isn’t it wonderful that there are so many people who care for you, when there are others who are so lonely and perhaps don’t speak to another person for days, weeks, months, at a time.
I’m not trivialising what often seem like real dilemmas in your life, but if you put those things into perspective you’ll no doubt realise that in the grand scheme of things, they’re not really dilemmas at all – particularly if you take the time to see what it’s like for those on the other side of your reality.
6 – Be Grateful!
As Tony Robbins might say, adopt an Attitude of Gratitude! Gratitude is the greatest force you can put out into the universe in order to attract better things to come. The more we appreciate what we have, the more we’re able to live in the present and keep things in perspective. We should even learn to be grateful for the experiences and life lessons that might not always be pleasant – because they are part of our journey, and we should always strive to take something positive from them….after all, without the sour, we can’t appreciate the sweet.
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