“It isn’t the things that happen to us in our lives that cause us to suffer, it’s how we relate to the things that happen to us that causes us to suffer.”

-Pema Chodron

Perspective is the key to a happy or miserable life. We all come with a set of ingrained beliefs. Some of them will work for us and others will work against us. Then we go through life gathering more and more beliefs and again, some will work for us and others will work against us. We get fixated on what is true according to our beliefs. It starts so early! As much as I try to teach my kids perspective and give them examples of other ways to look at any given situation, they still believe their way is the only way that could be right. The battles for right and wrong, no wonder why some of us have so many issues in relationships. If we are battling for right and wrong there is a winner and a loser. That is a competition, not a partnership. I can’t hear other people when I’m so fixated on being right. I can’t hear someone talking to me if they are so fixated on me being wrong. All I’m doing is coming up with my argument.

Perspective opens our mind to possibilities. We can see things from other angles and really get our creative brains flowing if we can simply change our language from I’m right, or I’m in the right to this is my perspective, what is yours? We are more open to understand if we don’t think in absolutes. We can come up with real working resolutions when we are not acting against one another but working for the betterment of the relationship with one another. Does this mean we can’t have strong beliefs and convictions? Of course not! We just stop being limited by them. We open ourselves up to understanding. We still may not agree with what another person says or does, but we can all agree to disagree whenever we sit fit. You can agree to disagree with this article and that’s ok too.

All I can say, I’m happier when I am not competing to be right. When I don’t understand someone’s perspective I can ask questions, I will learn enough in their answers to know if it’s worth sharing my beliefs or not. I know I won’t change someone’s opinion by saying they are wrong, but it might change eventually in time when they are ready. If we aren’t battling a person to make their beliefs wrong, and simply offering our perspective, it is much easier to disagree and keep things peaceful. If a person doesn’t feel threatened by our opinion, they might remain open enough to hear what we have to say. We also may be able to hear what they have to say, who knows we may alter our perspective on some issues.

No person can be 100% right all the time. We are all shaped in very different ways, this doesn’t make any of us right or wrong. We need to have people who are different and who have different beliefs. This is how we learn empathy, compassion, and acceptance of others. This is what makes us better people. We can turn to judgment, hate, and bigotry if we want too. All I know is when I go there, I don’t feel good. My stomach gets tied in knots. I get tense. I get angry. Overall, I feel like a miserable human being. Though I can fall into some nasty cycles of judgment here or there, I do become aware much faster now and can work my way out of it for the most part. I have a few stragglers that keep rearing their ugly head from time to time.

When I don’t work myself out of my misery, I know there is a bigger issue at hand. I know the issue doesn’t involve me changing anyone else’s behavior except for mine. I don’t have to respond any ONE way to people I disagree with. I have tons of options. When I know that AND can spot it, life becomes so much easier.

Perspective of knowing, I CHOOSE to see things the way I do is so incredibly freeing. This perspective is what opened doors for me out of toxic relationships and helped me to be kinder and more loving to myself and others.

Now, I can look in the mirror and know that I have a choice in what I want to focus on. I can focus on the areas of my body and mind that cause me to not like myself or I can CHOOSE to celebrate what I see.

I can look at someone else’s beliefs as a personal attack or I can see that they are only reflecting their own beliefs on me. I don’t have to agree with them under any circumstance if I CHOOSE not to take on their opinion.

I find it fun to play with perspective now when something really gets to me. It may take me a little bit before I’m ready to play, but once I get there I feel soooo much better. Seeing things with an open mind never means we have to agree with anything that we don’t feel comfortable with. What it does do is help us trust our gut to tell us what feels comfortable and what doesn’t. At least, that’s my perspective.

 

With Love and Gratitude,

Rachael Wolff ©2017

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