Perspective is Everything
It can change your life
Coping well with life’s many changes is crucial for success. Maintaining a positive perspective is the most powerful coping mechanism. In fact, perspective is everything.
In 2010, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. As I sat in the surgeon’s office, I saw a photo of a woman scaling a mountain. She was healthy and whole and nearly to the top. My surgeon looked at the picture and said, “She’s my patient and is a Stage IV breast cancer survivor.”
That day, he talked to me about cancer, surgery, and treatment options. I hardly remember what he said. I was emotionally numb and quite frightened, but one thing he said to me resonated.
He told me that my perspective could positively impact my physical outcome. (Learn more about the relationship between health and a positive outlook.)
My doctor encouraged me to find joy anywhere I could and to LIVE IN IT. He couldn’t promise me remission or a cancer-free future, but he could tell me that my attitude during cancer would influence my experience with it.
The photo and his words empowered me. I wasn’t sure if I’d be scaling a mountain like the woman in the picture, but I knew that I’d walk through cancer with a positive perspective.
Improving Perspective in the Face of Depression
This is all about separating fact from fiction
It’s important to point out that mental health plays a huge role in having and maintaining a positive perspective. Depression is a serious mental health condition. If you are suffering from depression and/or having suicidal thoughts, help is available. You can contact the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or SupportLine in the UK.
This blog post includes tips to help you change your perspective but is not intended to replace medical intervention, medication or counseling.
Now that we’ve got the disclaimer out of the way, here a few things to know about perspective:
- Your feelings will lie to you. If you’re depressed, you may feel that hope is a fantasy that exists for others, but not for you. Such thoughts of doom are not based in fact. Negative thinking can become an invisible monster under the bed. Knowing the beast isn’t real may change your perspective, and open you to the hope that exists.
- Recognize that life isn’t easy. There will be struggles related to finances, relationships, employment, health, and more. It is not a personal failure to feel sad. Know that your emotions are valid and that you need to feel your feelings to get to the other side of them and heal. Give yourself the time to recover from everything; healing is a universal perspective changer.
- Love yourself through the hard times. Give yourself the love and acceptance you would give to a loved one. You are unique, valuable and worthy of healing. Practice self-care and nurture yourself through your struggles.
- Help someone and turn off your head. When you are stuck in a rut, and your thoughts are tumbling into a downward spiral, do something for someone you know who is struggling, sick, or lonely. Helping someone else is a powerful anti-depressant and can help you forget about yourself. Feelings of love produce a hormone called oxytocin. It turns out, love is an excellent perspective optimizer. Learn more about the link between oxytocin and depression here.
- Do life-affirming things. For some, a gratitude list is enough to change their daily perspective. Others may find caring for their children, a loved one, or an animal reinvigorates their zest for life. It may be meditation, prayer, or a trip through a fragrant flower garden. In the midst of sadness, it is important to remember that life and beauty coexist just as life and sorrow do. Believing that life is a balance between pain and joy puts everything into perspective.
Acceptance and Perspective
Recognizing life is a journey
With age, comes perspective. I can look back at my life now and see how events that seemed unrelated have actually been tied together in a neat little row.
For example, when I was 24 years old, I became very sick, and my doctors could not figure out what was wrong with me. After eight months, I went to the library, buried my head in medical books, diagnosed myself and found a specialist to treat me.
Twenty years later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and realized that I already knew how to face a medical challenge. My coping skills had been established decades earlier. Once I connected my earlier experience with illness to the growth that helped push me through cancer, my perspective soared.
Life is a tapestry, and it has to unfold a bit for us to understand it. When we recognize the connectedness of things, pain becomes easier to accept. I still don’t like pain or loss, but I am clear that it always provides growth that will benefit me or someone else in the future.
Perspective. One Final Word.
Isolation Destroys a Positive Perspective
The best way to improve your worldview is to follow my surgeon’s advice and enjoy life. In some small (or significant) way every day, live and share your life.
I’m an introvert, and I cherish my alone time. That said, I’m well aware that my joy comes entirely from my friends and family. I work on my relationships and mend broken fences because letting people in cures loneliness. Corny as it is, love is the answer to every question.
Isolation is love’s greatest enemy. When you feel isolation encircling you – even if it feels comfortable – get up, get out, and become part of the world. Don’t give in to it. Isolation blocks the light from coming in, and it’s hard to have a positive perspective alone and in the dark.
What Are Your Thoughts on Perspective?
Connect with me in the comment section
Please comment below and let me know your thoughts on positivity and perspective. I write this blog to connect with you, and welcome your feedback!