It’s now my second opportunity to share with you my monthly inspirational theme: Perspective.
“As we approach the mid-point of the year, it’s a good time to pause and evaluate how we’ve been looking at the world. Our perspective is key in shaping our experience of life, whether positively or negatively. A balanced perspective helps us to separate life’s big challenges from the not-so-big and modify our behaviour so we deal appropriately with whatever life throws at us. It’s also important to think beyond our own point of view. Acknowledging, exploring and accepting different perspectives allows us to gain a three-dimensional understanding of the world, and to hone our empathy and compassion for others – even if, in the end, we hold firm to the way we see things initially. Use this month to get in touch with how you see and experience the world, and to think about how you can bring new perspectives into your life going forward.”
Affirmation of the month: “I seek out new perspectives.” *
I hope you’ll agree that this is a good one. In its very nature, it is thought-provoking and challenging. We become so accustomed (and justifiably) to seeing the world through our own eyes, tainting or colouring situations with our personal opinions. It is not easy to take a step back and see what someone else can see. It is only made easier by talking with others about what they think, how it makes them feel and how they react to stimuli that we may really gain insight and a fresh perspective. How are we to know that a trip out with friends may ignite feelings of excitement in one person but a sense of trepidation in another? A holiday abroad is a chance to relax and rejuvenate but it can also be a time for home-sickness, and anxiety about a change in routine. A spontaneous trip into London is a chance to see the sights, but it can be filled with worry over threats of violence and danger. The world is full of opportunities, events, chances – be them big or small – and each one is experienced uniquely by the viewer.
I like to think of myself as an open-minded individual but I did have to force myself to think outside of my being. I took an everyday situation and sat there pondering, how would XYZ think of this? A simple task like cutting the grass, for example. The thought of getting out the lawn-mower, traipsing back and forth, getting covered in little bugs, bits of grass and dirt does not appeal to me one bit. However, when my brother undertook the task he saw something different. He didn’t jump for joy, but it was a welcome break from revision, a chance to spend time in the sunshine, breathing in fresh air and moving his body. Headphones on, he can switch off from work woes and enjoy the breather.
Let’s take another example: Sunday night cooking. When you do a food shop on a Monday, ingredients are often sparse by Sunday evening, waiting to be replenished. While some people see this task as an almighty feat; lacking inspiration and motivation, I see something different. I can open the cupboards/fridge and see what’s left and feel encouraged to try something new. To make do and cook. Half a cauliflower and some tofu become a delicious curry. A few carrots, some leaves and a tin of chickpeas and I’m dreaming of a raw slaw with crunchy baked chickpeas and a miso-ginger-tahini dressing. A few berries and a lonely pot of yoghurt transform into an evening snack bowl drizzled in peanut butter and chocolate. I could go on… but it just goes to show how much perspectives can differ on the small things. Imagine what that is like for major decisions.
I’ll leave you with a gentle encouragement to spend time in someone else’s shoes, to consider how they approach a task, and even if you disagree, congratulate yourself on taking some head space to engage with perspective.
There are no facts, only interpretations.
*Taken from “Every Day Matters 2018 Diary: A Year Of Inspiration for the Mind, Body & Spirit”, Watkins Publishing.