A healthy perspective really is the foundation of joy and happiness because the way we see the world is the way we experience it. Changing the way we see the world in turn changes the way we feel and the way we act, which changes the world itself.
“With our minds, we create our own world.”
For every moment in life, there are many different angles. When we look at something from a wider perspective, our sense of anxiety and worry reduces and we, in turn, have greater joy. While changing our emotions during a moment of suffering can be difficult, changing our perspective is relatively easy — it’s part of our mind (which we have quite a bit of influence over). The way we see the world and the meaning we give to what we witness, changes the way we feel. It’s the first step to the spiritual and cognitive journey that results in more equanimity and our default state being more joyful.
Perspective is the key that unlocks happiness in our minds.
But what exactly is this healthy perspective that allows us to greet life with so much joy even when faced with sorrow? It means having a wider perspective and involves stepping back, within our own mind, to look at the bigger picture and to move beyond our limited self-awareness and our limited self-interest. Every situation we confront in life comes from the convergence of many contributing factors. We must look at any given situation or problem from the front and back, top to bottom, side to side,…from at least six different angles. This allows us to take a more complete and holistic view of reality, and if we do, our response will be more constructive. We suffer from a perspectival myopia and as a result, we’re left nearsighted, unable to see our experiences in a larger way. And when we confront a challenge, we often react to the situation out of anger. The stress we experience can make it hard for us to step back and see other perspectives and other solutions. It’s natural. But if we try, we can become less fixated, or attached to one outcome, and we can use more skillful means to handle the situation. We can then see that in the most seemingly limited circumstance we have no choice and freedom, even if that freedom is ultimately the attitude we will take.
But how can a trauma lead to growth and transformation? How can a negative event actually become positive? This is our invitation to see the blessing in the curse, the joy in the sorrow, the silver-lining, so to speak. For example, take something that happened in the past and find all the good that came out of it. But keep in mind, this is not to say we should see the world through rose-colored glasses; it’s just a reminder that what we often think is reality, is only part of the picture. We can quickly consider a discouraging situation in our world a calamity, but if we take another look, we can also see all those who are helping to heal those who have been harmed. This is the ability to re-frame life more positively based on a broader, richer, more nuanced perspective. By having a wider perspective we can see our situation and all those involved in a larger context and from a more neutral position. By seeing the many conditions and circumstances that have led to this event, we can recognize that our limited perspective might not actually be the truth and we might even see our own role in the conflict or misunderstanding.
When was the last time you used a narrow perspective toward a difficult situation? Did you later discover your perception of reality was not really reality at all? It might not seem like much, but even a thoughtful reminder to yourself to not focus on your own frustration and pain is therapeutic to your mental and spiritual health. Just this thinking alone will make you feel much better.
Our mind is more powerful than we think; it’s moving and it’s life-changing, so it’s vital to remind ourselves to think happy thoughts.
DAY 26. Love, Ro