What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are. –C.S. Lewis in The Magician’s Nephew
Although this is a quote from a children’s book series (The Chronicles of Narnia), it holds some wisdom for us grown-ups, too.
Allow me to rephrase:
What we see in other people and what we hear other people say, depends a great deal on how we see ourselves (and listen to ourselves). It also depends on what sort of personality we have.
If we change perspective (the way we are seeing and listening to ourselves and the people around us) we can avoid unhelpful attitudes and behaviors. This can be a key that opens a door for healthy change. Take a look at this:
|Unhelpful look at self||Unhelpful look at others||Helpful look at self and others|
|Self-critical||Critical of others||At peace with self and world, as much as circumstances allow|
|Perfectionistic||Avoidant||Can take life as it comes, with mistakes and imperfections|
|Finding things to worry about or denying there are problems||Nagging or “sticking head in the sand”||Change what can be changed (mostly “you”), accept the things that cannot be changed (“mostly others”)|
|Living in the past or postponing life for the future||Unforgiveness of others or brushing aside relationships while you strive for future goals||Living in the present, being respectful of past and future|
Here’s an example:
The cashier at the local grocery store snips at you and stands staring into space while you bag all your own groceries. If you take the perspective that she is trying to offend you or has a bad attitude, you will feel angry. If you take the perspective that she thinks you look funny and have bad breath, you will feel embarrassed. You might have a panic attack if her behavior reminds me of your abusive first grade teacher.
Unhealthy perspectives can eventually change your personality (for the worse). You could allow yourself to become the kind of person who is rude to cashiers or makes other people do your shopping.
On the other hand, changing your perspective might change your experience:
What if you find out that the cashier’s husband just filed for divorce, her father is extremely ill, she lost her wallet with the cash from her paycheck, her first grade child is failing math and she couldn’t find her dog this morning? “Poor girl,” you might be thinking… and WILLINGLY bag your own groceries.
A change in perspective can change your experience. A lifestyle of keeping healthy perspectives helps improve one’s personality.
Try changing where you stand by changing your perspective, you’ll see more peace and strength in your life.
Of course, this might be easier said than done, which is why the counseling services at Pike Creek Psychological are so very helpful. Give us a call.