Keeping Perspective: When Bad Things Happen That Are Not Life Threatening
The very first thing to question is how important is this in the overall scheme of life? Compared to all of the things that have happened, are happening, and could happen in my life - how bad is this? Is it something that will impact the rest of my life? Is it temporary? Although the pain may not feel like it's temporary, it usually is. It's important to get a perspective. If your car has been stolen, that's a major nuisance that will cost you time and money to replace, but how does that compare to a diagnosis of cancer? If your marriage is ending, it can be extremely painful, but your life will continue no matter how bleak circumstances may seem. So wouldn't it be easier to find a way to transcend the pain and move on, let go, and take away the power from the negativity? Wouldn't it be more pleasant to look at the 'bright side'? and yes! There always is a flip side! It may not be one you believe in at the moment, it may not be where you want to focus, but there IS another perspective.
It's good to keep in mind - although during the painful period it's not always the first thought - that out of every crisis comes an opportunity. No matter how bleak or dire circumstances may seem, we can't change them, but we CAN control how we view them. Again, it's our perspective - our "Point of View" (P.O.V.)
Usually when something bad happens, we take it personally. For instance, when a boss is constantly yelling, demanding and being unreasonable, we feel as though we are not okay, our well-being is in question. In actuality, it's usually not personal - not about us. It feels as though it's coming AT you - so often, we say "Why me?" but it's not really ABOUT you. It's usually the other person venting, feeling frustrated angry and they are holding the emotion. You only take it on if you choose to do so. Eleanor Roosevelt said it beautifully: "You can't make someone feel inferior without their consent."
Now that the bad thing has happened, you have the ability to stop giving it power and energy and to begin feeling free and truly let it go. Only by holding on to the thoughts of the past, can they stay alive. What are you getting out of hanging onto it? The negativity can be draining your energy, taking up time, keeping you from other things. We may want revenge, may want to vent our anger, or choose to stay in the victim 'poor me' role, and feel sorry for ourselves. That's okay initially - briefly, but it becomes a waste of energy when life is continuing without us.
The main choice is to transcend it (not often easy when you are enmeshed in the pain) or if possible, do something about it... otherwise you are whining, Complaining seems like you are doing something about it when you really are NOT. What you are doing is feeding the pain or anger so that it stays alive and well. By letting it go, it dies; it disappears; it can be left behind. If you are unhappy with the way your boss or significant other treats you, you could possibly have a talk with him/her explaining how unhappy you are - how their behavior is affecting you; you can leave the job; you can look at the bright side - you HAVE a job, or you could continue to complain and experience the same old, same old. While there are many more options possible, the first one has to be how you view the situation - as that's the ONLY place where you have complete control. By coming into the present and focusing on the positives - no matter how difficult it may be, you are taking control and taking the first step towards freedom.
Invitation to Experiment: Think about the things that you are holding onto from the past. What is still swirling in your mind that is no longer truly relevant to you right now? Where can you change your point of view (P.O.V.) and affect a difference in how you feel about a situation? What have you been complaining about lately? Is there something you can do about it? What are you believing is directed at you? Can you see it from another perspective so that you can see that it's about the other person and not about you?
Marion Franklin - is a Professional Certified Life Coach who coaches individuals and groups regarding personal and professional change, focus, human relations, and conflict management. Marion has coached managers at major corporations including PepsiCo, Toys'R'Us, and Reader's Digest. She conducts and help clients design workshops and presentations, has been a featured presenter at meetings, retreats, and an ongoing Women's Workshop Series, has been cited in The Journal News and The Wall Street Journal, and has appeared on local Cable Television. http://www.lifecoachinggroup.com
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