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Category Archives: Change Your Perspective

The way we see our lives and ourselves affects how we live. Change your perspective on yourself and your circumstances and you have the potential to live with much greater freedom.

An all-year-round holiday mentality?

A relaxing holiday has furnished me with time to stop, be still and enjoy the moment (eurgh, I sound like an advert for something). It has enabled me to get off the mad gerbil wheel of The Next Thing and take a breather, to enjoy The Now Thing. A very wise person once said “Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself” (Jesus, in Matthew chapter 6) – but often we choose to live our lives like this, so focussed on what is happening next, or what we need to do/organise/plan/finish next that we miss the beauty of the little moments happening now, right at this moment, in the present. Maybe it’s just me, but I suspect not. Practicing being present in the moment is another spiritual discipline that takes, well, just that, practice. But the rewards can be huge – living in and celebrating the moment, no matter how seemingly insignificant, and being thankful for that moment. Living the full life now and not letting it pass us by because of the need to get to the next thing. A holiday mentality all year round? Is that possible? I don’t know, but it’s worth a try.

The Now Thing

We have recently returned from holiday – a lovely, relaxing lazy time away. Holidays are not always like that, and it is not always possible to have a couple of weeks away from it all, but this year, we were really blessed with two weeks of great weather, a delightful location, lovely accommodation (thanks to generous friends),  fabulous food, lots of time to relax. And stop. And that is what we did. And gradually I noticed that time…started………..slow………..right……………down. My brain, usually full and working overtime with the thinking and planning and lists and organisation that constitutes our weekly routine, started to empty. For me, this is an odd phenomenon – like most people, the majority of my time is spent living a busy life with family, work, friends, lots of other activities and commitments, some exciting, some very repetitive and mundane. I am an organised sort of person, a bit of a control freak, and get bored easily – not always a great combination, and the danger is I am always so busy thinking about The Next Thing that I miss The Now Thing. What is happening now, right under my nose, right at this moment.  Whether it’s a comment, a gesture, a colour, a smell, a laugh – all so easily missed when I am at full pelt heading for the Next Thing, and yet all tiny blessings in their own right that are each worth celebrating.


Celebrating others

This has been a week of connecting with precious friends, lovely folk who have known me years and years, have seen me change and become more comfortable in my own skin, and who have remained faithful friends throughout that (often prickly and difficult) process. Friends who really listen. Friends who do get inside my skin and walk around (not literally, or all at the same time you realise – that would be truly revolting). Friends who challenge me, encourage me, laugh and cry with me, don’t let me get away with being stubborn or trapped in my own head for too long. Friends who encourage me to be my best self. And friends who, yup, you guessed it, allow me to see my own world with fresh perspective. Our lives are so enriched by friends like this, who bring joy and depth to our world. And how much do we need to be this kind of friend to those in our lives who would call us friends. How often do we stop to appreciate them, tell them we love them (how un-Scottish), and affirm them for the role they play in our lives? How often do we stop and say, d’you know what, I wouldn’t be who or where I am now if it wasn’t for you? Try it – it’s fun! 

Walking around in someone else’s skin

I have two Primary school age children. Last week, we were discussing their school work with their teachers, and it turns out that our 8 year old (that’s her, leaping for joy on the beach at the top of the screen – she is a really exuberant character who experiences life to the full daily) is very good at seeing things from someone else’s point of view. According to her teacher, if there is a bit of bother in the class, or one of her classmates is behaving badly, our worldly wise little one will stop and wonder what might be going on in the life of that individual that is causing their behaviour, and not just jump straight into an argument or get annoyed. We are heartened and pleased by this, as we are trying to bring them up equipped to see the world from different perspectives. My favourite book of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and probably my favourite quote of all time comes from Atticus Finch:

“If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view—until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.

Have I mentioned that I like perspective? Maybe a few times? Really listening to someone (see last week’s entry) often starts when we get into their shoes and to try and understand how they feel, how they see the situation, what their perspective is. There’s that word again.


10 Things I Like About You

Perspective. One of my favourite words (see previous posts like The Mona Lisa trick and Try something unpredictable). How often is it the case with our nearest and dearest, those who know us best or we are at our most familiar with, that we sometimes get stuck in negative cycles of behaviour or words, particularly when discussing or revisiting something important….I say something, you react negatively, you say something back that puts me on the defensive, I react badly and say something destructive and whooosh, off we go again, round and round and we’re stuck inside a washing machine of negativity, battered, bruised, sometimes managing to surface for air but generally left feeling like we are drowning a wee bit. And like being in a washing machine, it’s hard to get out from the inside, we just keep going round and round. We need a helping hand in the form of some Fresh Perspective. Try my new game called Ten things I Like About You. The rules are very easy – instead of the usual game of ten rounds with negativity, we take turns to list ten things we like about each other, but also ten things we like about ourselves (oooh, that can be a bit tricky too). It seems to stop the normal negative pattern mid-cycle and allow a bit of breathing space to reflect, re-group and re-focus on what is good, likeable, positive, and dare I say, loveable, about each other.   

Try something unpredictable

Today I did lots of mundane, repetitive and predictable things like washing, tidying, cooking lunch and dinner, dishes – the same as I do everyday. No doubt, you did the same, and will do again tomorrow. But then, in the middle of it all, my children went out into the snow (a brief afternoon’s worth) and built a snow fish, a snow cat and a small snow Queen Victoria. Nothing predictable or conventional about that, and it made me smile. Some days are just a bit dull and predictable. But even in the midst of that, it is always possible to do something completely unexpected, even a very small nonsensical thing, that opens up the lid on the box of normalness and lets in a chink of fresh perspective.

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The Mona Lisa trick

My 10 year old daughter has been attending a local art class, which she loves. Portraits are the current theme, and at her last class, she was practising copying the Mona Lisa. We set our standards high, you understand. On the way home she observed to me that if you turn a picture upside down, as she had done with a print of the Mona Lisa, you see it in a completely different way, often noticing lots of details about the picture you had not seen before. This made me wonder – are you stuck on something in your life and can’t see how to move forward? Maybe a situation at work, or a relationship, or an event that is coming up that you are not looking forward to. Try the Mona Lisa trick – turn the situation upside down, and look at it from a different perspective. Maybe that way you will be inspired with new ideas or insights to unlock the situation and move forward. Equally, you could actually stand on your head and think about whatever it is – if this doesn’t solve the problem, you will not have wasted your time as you will certainly see the room from a different perspective, and all that blood going to your head will do your brain good!   

Try something new

Are you bored with the same old repetitive structure of your day or week? Try having some fun in the little elements of your day and get a fresh perspective on what is important. Do you walk past the same people every day on your way to work, or taking the children to school, or to the shops, but never even register their presence? Today, try making eye contact with and smiling at someone you walk past. You could even say hello. It’s fun to see the reaction, and you can count how many smiles you get back in return.