Perspective Makes a Difference

Jan 31, 2011 by

I’ve been through quite a journey on the importance of perspective. When I was 15 I thought that 30 was old. When I was living in Phoenix 50 degrees was cold. One white lie was an ultimate betrayal. When I lost $20 it was the end of the world.

As these things were happening to me I thought my life was terrible and felt sorry for myself. I wondered how things were ever going to get better even though I thought there was no way but up. Then, eventually, I learned about perspective.

Now that I’m 38, 30 isn’t so old anymore. Living in Denver 50 is tropical. A lifetime of lies is worse than one every now and then. And losing $2000 in a day changed my mind about the $20.

As I learn and grow I realize that I can do better. Perspective has made quite a difference!

I recently found myself going back into the old habit of moping about some problems I was having at home. After all, old habits die hard. Then I read on Facebook that a friend of mine lost her husband. She’s younger than I am and is now a widow with three children at home.

My perspective changed in an instant. It was time to get it together. I remembered that somewhere on my journey I read about asking important questions to get out of my current self imposed hole.

I asked myself:

  • Will this problem really matter in a year from now?
  • Is this worth wasting any more precious time over?
  • Is this something that can be fixed?
  • What can I do to contribute to the solution?
  • What do I need to take away from this situation so next time will be better?

With these questions I was able to stand back and take a more realistic look at what was happening in my life. No, nothing has happened that is the end of the world. It’s a matter of talking through some things and learning how to let go of some things. My communication hasn’t been the greatest through the years. The way I see it, I’m being given a brilliant opportunity to practice some new skills I’ve been working on.

Forgiveness seems to be the predominant theme for me at the moment. I have been known to hold on to a wrong for years so I can justify keeping people at a distance. Living with my feelings doesn’t leave much room for distance. I want to come closer to people and I am learning to forgive mistakes and hurt feelings. I am working on embracing the pain, looking at it, letting it go and moving on.

That means opening myself up to more pain and disappointment. I am ready for it though. I’ve missed the companionship of real relationships (outside of the casino key people and cocktail waitresses).

As I type this I’m smiling. I’m realizing that I have changed and that my perspective about gambling has changed as well.

At the first sign of trouble I used to want to go escape into the smoke filled glow of the neon lights in the casino. I wanted to see if I could win some money to prove my worth, even though I knew I probably wouldn’t win. The worse I felt, the worse I played. At the very least I could run away into my habit of video poker and video slots until I had something better to feel bad about. I loved numbing to my problems for a while and feeling the pain of gambling that I was used to.

Today I actually bought myself a massage. I thought about getting one yesterday, but I had to work through some emotions first. Today I realized that I wanted to take care of myself. I wanted to be gentle on my tender feelings. Gambling hadn’t even crossed my mind until I started this post.

It feels amazing to finally be at a point in life that I will care for myself before I self destruct.

Even though life may be throwing us curve balls there is always hope. My habit of escape and destruction was gambling. Yours may be something different, but, in the end, escape is escape. Ask yourself some of the questions I used here. Keep making choices to take care of yourself in healthy ways and it will eventually become your habit. You will feel better.

Gain perspective and allow yourself to make healthy choices. Remember: you deserve the best!

P.S. Be sure to subscribe so you can read the interesting twist to my friend losing her husband. There’s even deeper perspective!

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