Your perspectives or points of view on anything – life, events, topics of conversation – are all influenced by many factors such as your experiences, beliefs, desires, fears and values.
Your perspectives may also shift over time. Sometimes you may not even be able to pinpoint what impacted the shift and you may look back disbelieving that you once saw things the way you did.
The stories we tell about our lives reflect our perspectives. Change the story and you change your life.
But first we need to notice the story.
Many of our perspectives are unconscious. Until we become aware that what we are thinking is just a perspective and not a fact, we may assume that this is what everyone else thinks too.
As part of a workshop a teacher once proposed to our class an example of a man walking across a battlefield waving his arms. One person may say – “he’s crazy” another “he’s brave”. Neither interpretation has anything to do with the man – he is simply walking across the battlefield waving his arms. We don’t know his motivation and any assumptions we make are about our interpretations, our stories, not his.
Think about when it rains. What do you say about the weather? “It’s a miserable day.” “It’s cosy inside.” “Let’s jump in some puddles!” Just a story, right? But notice that each story has a different feeling, a different attitude and likely spurs a different action.
Sometimes in order to work with a challenge or issue that we are facing we first need to understand our perspective. We need to step back and notice what is really happening as separate from our story about what is happening.
This can be really hard to do because many of our perspectives, interpretations and assumptions are deeply ingrained.
To gain perspective it is helpful to step back and look beyond the obvious.
Two wonderful tools to help you do this are reflection and self-observation.
It may also be useful to start grounding your assessments. Look for evidence for how to assess something to be.
Once you’ve noticed the story you are telling you may wish to work towards shifting your perspective. This may require a few steps and perhaps practice.
If you struggle taking these steps on your own you might like to work with someone else, like a coach.
Our perspectives are influenced by many factors and these perspectives may also shift over time. The stories we tell about our lives reflect our perspectives. Remember – change the story and you change your life.
Want to read more?
Consider this perspective on surviving and thriving.