Perspective is a beautiful and frustrating thing, isn’t it? To be clear, I mean “perspective” from the definition of having experienced something in life before and being able to apply that experience and memory to a different situation. I’m sure there’s a more appropriate word than perspective, but that’s the one stuck in my head.
Being able to look back with past experience we can see how important challenging times were for the formation of who we have become. Without those difficult times we wouldn’t have grown into the people we are meant to be. Once we have that perspective it should be easy to know the right way to handle a situation. It should be easier to realize the right answer and take action… but… I’ll come back to this in a moment.
When someone else has a challenge in front of them we’re able to see it very differently as we’re not the one in it. We don’t know all the detail, nor do we need to. The theme is quite often similar to one we’ve faced before. Fear. Guilt. Doubt. Disappointment. Loneliness. Envy. Frustration. Maybe, most likely, a combination of several of those. From the outside looking in and with the beauty of perspective we can see that the situation is only temporary. The person can choose to grow through the challenge. This could be an incredible tipping point in their life. We know this because we’ve been in their shoes (to be clear, I know not all challenges are the same, however there are often more commonalities than we each care to admit when we strip the issues down to their core). We’ve been in that spot. We’ve found a way. We’ve persevered. We’ve become closer to who we are called to be specifically because those battles made us stronger. Again, the beauty of perspective is that we know that the person can be successful in taking on their challenge. Why is it so difficult for them to see that? Hmm… that sounds a lot like how the last paragraph ended, doesn’t it?
Perspective is beautiful as it helps us know that we and others can be successful and find a way to turn almost any challenge into a life defining moment that shapes us for the better… if we choose the right mindset.
Perspective is frustrating as it is easy for us to heed from afar, yet so tough to focus on when we’re too close to it. When we’re the one with the challenge we have to fight twice as hard to remember we’ve been successful in difficult times in the past. It’s so easy to focus on when we apply it to others, but we can’t push them to see it, they have to see it for themselves.
Today I’m thankful for this dichotomy of perspective as I’ve seen both sides of it so clearly. If I remember to apply what I’ve learned and experienced in the past I know I can accomplish anything. When I hear someone struggling I can not only attempt to help them see the big picture, but it reminds me to pause and examine my life from a third person perspective. What challenges am I facing? How could I better use my own past experiences to find the right answer or the strength to solve the challenge? What a beautiful opportunity to improve!