30 days: Day 7 – Perspective

Sunday, July 3, 2011 Permalink

Seven days of self-love challenges down already. So soon. Obviously putting my thoughts onto paper (screen) has been confronting and cathartic all at the same time. But most interesting is that I find myself pondering over my words at other stages throughout the day. I guess that’s the value of an exercise like this…. it gets one thinking. And it challenges one’s thinking.

Today’s theme is no different. Perspective: It all comes down to that, doesn’t it?

Every day upon arising, we begin a journey led by one choice after another. Those choices add up to the sum total of our lives and whether or not we can claim to live in joy. What is that I hear you saying? Oh…you think that’s ridiculous and that we can’t control everything. You know what I say? You’re right. We can’t control everything. We can, however, control our perspective.

 As discussed yesterday, sometimes we choose to put more emphasis on our body at the expense of fully experiencing the world around us with pleasure. We determine whether or not we live in that manner. In the same fashion, we choose whether or not to succumb to other forces in this world hoping to weaken us. That choice lies in the perspective we adopt.

When a challenge arises, such as a lost job or illness/injury or broken heart, you can choose to continue living with the belief it will make you stronger or grab a shovel to dig yourself a hole of regret and self-pity.

Our perspectives don’t always have to shine with rainbows and glitter. No shame should occur in feeling pain, hurt, anger, sadness, etc in particular situations. We’re human and those emotions should not be glossed over or ignored. Sometimes we need such feelings to cloak us like a heavy garment and really feel them before moving on with our lives. Nevertheless, we still control those feelings and keep the perspective intact.

All of the above relates to self-love because part of loving ourselves comes in providing the best life possible. That life consists of seeing the glimmers of hope in dark places, the pain of others in their attempts to cause pain, the waste of time in fretting over matters we won’t remember in a few months, and the ongoing list of similar situations. The authority to provide a “best life” comes in a little package called perspective. It’s your choice whether or not to open that gift.

How do you witness the power of perspective in your life? Do you currently face something where your perspective could make a difference?  

I’ve mentioned before that I’m cynical or pessimistic. Or both actually. In a post from about 6 months ago I vowed to become a more positive person. It hasn’t worked… although sticking to this diet and feeling some sense of achievement has helped get me motivated in other areas of my life. For that I’m grateful.

We don't see things as they are; we see things as we are.  Anais NinI have to admit I’m not great with criticism or negative feedback. For example, I enjoy writing and dream of submitting SOMETHING somewhere. An article for a magazine, or even a bloody book review for the local paper. But alas, I’ve never done it. Instead I have a partially finished novel and I ‘sit’ on ideas; dreaming of them being published rather than actually sending them to anyone. I wasn’t a great University student for that exact reason. I skipped tutorials which brought me into direct contact with teaching personnel. Better to be one of the nameless, faceless crowd rather than singled out and possibly criticised. Even now, I’m loath to nominate for things if I might not succeed, or not be the best. And… in all honesty I feel ridiculously competitive with others (with similar amounts of weight to lose etc) on my weight loss program. Once upon a time I would have given up if I couldn’t be the best. It was one of my greatest weaknesses. And still is. Occasionally.

I’d like to be able to turn that around. I’d like to be gracious in defeat and learn from the criticism I receive. I’d like to accept feedback as a natural part of my own growth. I’d like to NOT perceive criticism as a personal affront. I’d like to NOT fear failure. And I’d like to have more fun.

PerspectiveOne of my other biggest problems (again which I’ve talked about here) is my black/white thinking. I am an ‘all or nothing’ person. I’m either dieting or binging. Historically if I wanted to eat chocolate or drink wine, I’d eat 1kg of chocolate or drink a bottle of wine. I’d buy two bags of corn chips instead of one. I’d eat both bags instead of a small bowlful. When peeling potatoes for dinner I’d keep adding and adding some – constantly worried that what I had before me won’t be enough. I am also prone catastrophising. A minor mishap in my private life gets blown out of proportion. If I eat something I shouldn’t, I figure I might as well go crazy and make the most of the binge – after all, tomorrow is another day and I will start afresh.

Instead I’d like to view a ‘slip’ as just that. I don’t want to decide that all is lost; I want to pick myself up and dust myself off wiser than I was before. As our fearless leader Michelle says, we sometimes need a breakdown to have a breakthrough.

I don’t want to get ahead of myself (says the pessimistic cynic / cynical pessimist in me), but this time around (ie. on this diet) I feel more in control than I have for a long time. I’ve had wine on 4 occasions, each of which has sent me over my calorie limit BUT on those occasions I’ve only been a bit over. I haven’t gone crazy and eaten everything I can lay my hands on, AND the next day (even the one when I felt hungover) I haven’t been tempted to eat to allay my guilt and seediness. Instead I’ve gotten straight back on that horse. I’d like to think I’ve made a breakthrough. I’d like to think I’ve ‘grown’ a little. I seem to be getting better at ‘moderation’. Who knows? But I’d like to think I can continue to reshape my thinking; be more positive; and approach the world a bit differently.

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