An friend of mine recently posted these images about perspective on her Facebook page and gave me permission to share them with you as well.
On the left you see a pretty bleak image. The side of a building, a grey wall, a somewhat dark sky, and trees who have all lost their leaves. It’s sad, troubling, discouraging, and certainly not what I would considered to be pretty.
On the right hand side, however, you see the beautiful colors of a South Carolina sunrise with a palm tree in the foreground.
What you don’t see, however, is that these two pictures were taken at approximately the same time, the same day, and from the exact same spot. Kind of cool, huh?
The lady who took this picture literally has this choice each and every day. When she comes out of her patio door she can choose to turn to the left and see that wall, or to turn to the right and see beauty. She’s in the same spot, no matter which choice she makes. Her circumstances aren’t any different. But her outlook definitely is.
Why Perspective Matters To Mental Health
Often times, we become fixated on the grey walls and skies in our life, so much so, that we don’t turn and look at the beauty there at the same time.
When someone close to me was suffering from depression, they once told me, “I’d be happy if I had anything to be happy about.”
They did. They just weren’t able to shift their focus a little bit to see it.
They had a home, a family, a car, pets, church friends, and so much more! But all they were looking at was that dark grey sky and wall.
They saw their job loss, their physical pain, and other negatives in their lives, and they just weren’t willing and/or able to acknowledge the beautiful sunrise happening on the other side.
How To Change Your Perspective
I’m not going to lie to you and say changing your perspective on life is easy. It’s not. It takes a great deal of strength, and I believe even some help at times. But here are a few little things you can do to set yourself up for seeing the beauty instead of or in the midst of the storm.
Make a List
I’m all about writing things down! Get a notebook and FORCE yourself (yes, FORCE, it isn’t going to be easy in the beginning) to end your day by writing down five GOOD things about the day. Just five. If you’re struggling to think of any, let me give you a few ideas to start.
- Talking with family/friends
- Being alive
- Having a job/income
- Hearing your kids laugh
- Seeing that funny Facebook video.
- Having the opportunity to read the Word of God.
- Having hot water to bathe or shower in.
- Seeing the sunshine
- Feeling the rain
I could go on and on and on. But maybe you can’t, and that’s okay. But making a conscious effort every day to seek out five good things is going to change your perspective
Change Your Words
When I was at my best point in my fight against lifelong depression, I made a very simple word change that I am trying to get back to. I would certainly encourage you to do the same. Here it is:
Instead of saying, “I have to….” say “I get to…”
Why does it matter? It’s a reminder of the opportunities you have every day that maybe others don’t have. And it helps you to see the beauty in life.
Here are some examples.
- “I get to go to work today” – I have a job.
- “I get to go to the grocery store.” – I have money to buy food for my family and I have a way of transportation to get there.
- “I get to take the dog for a walk.” – I have a pet to care for and to love and I have the physical ability to care for him/her.
- “I get to take my kids to school.” – You have kids and are able to get them a good education.
- “I get to take my medication.” – There is medication available to help.
Just a simple one word change (“have” versus “get”) makes a HUGE difference in my perspective on life. And while it is certainly a habit I’ve gotten out of, I am trying again to make it a priority in my life.
This was the case in Debi’s yard. She just had to turn a bit to see the beauty. She had to stop facing the darkness.
Sometimes in our lives, the best way to get a new perspective is to turn away from what’s causing us pain. If your job is making it impossible for you to see anything else, maybe it’s time to get a new one. Or maybe you need to find a new church. Perhaps social media is making you feel inadequate. Get away from it. Uninstall it or even delete your account.
But the main point is, turn away. Stop looking at what’s causing you pain. Stop looking at the gloom. Start looking at the beauty that’s back behind you and walk towards it. I guarantee you it will make a HUGE difference in the way you view your life!
Paint The Wall
On the original Facebook post, one of Debi’s friends commented “Now paint the concrete wall!” As simple as that comment it, it was also very eye opening to me. Sometimes there is ugliness in our lives. Sometimes we can’t just turn around and ignore it or to walk away. Tearing it down isn’t always an option.
So sometimes, to change our perspective, we just need to improve what’s in front of us. Paint the wall. Take the unsightly events in your life and turn them into something beautiful! Debi agreed this is a great idea and hopes to have a beautiful mural painted soon!
Do You Have A Wall In Your Life?
What can you do to change your perspective? Can you turn away, and see the beauty elsewhere? Or do you need to paint the wall? How can you do that? Let me know in the comments below!