It’s All About Perspective

I know that over the years, I have talked a lot about putting things in perspective. I honestly believe that if you have the ability to do this, you will live a more gracious, grateful, happy, thankful and fulfilling life.

I subscribe to this website, that offers inspirational books, videos, posters and more. I love looking through all they have to offer because I can always find the right quote or the right poster or the right book to give me that boost that I need. They also happen to have great prices and daily specials that I consider an added bonus!

Their daily “deal” today was entitled “How to Be Happy – Smile for No Good Reason”. I clicked on the link and found the following excerpt from the book:

An excerpt from
Smile for No Good Reason
by Dr. Lee Jampolsky
Have you ever noticed that two people can confront the same circumstances with very different reactions? This is a matter of attitude and nothing else. Freedom is being able to say, “Rich or poor, alone or with a mate, physically healthy or not, employed or laid off, I believe that peace of mind is possible.”

We have all experienced what it is like to be having a perfectly fine day and have a situation or crisis arise that sends us into a tailspin. It may be something small like a traffic jam making us late, or something more severe like the loss of a job. Our response can seem automatic.

Though at first it may be difficult to accept, freedom depends on recognizing that you’re not upset because of what occurred, you are upset because of how you perceive the situation. Key to Attitudinal Healing is recognizing that you are not a victim of the world.

Another way of saying this is: There is absolutely nothing in the world that has the power to ruin your day. If you are upset, it is because you have directed your mind to be so. Initially these truths can be hard to accept because you have become so accustomed to giving your power away. Every time you blame another person for your unhappiness you are giving your power away. Stop blaming and start healing.

How you perceive a situation will determine your experience and your reaction. Let’s imagine that you have a favorite coffeehouse that you frequent. The staff knows your name and always has a warm and friendly greeting as you walk through the door. An extremely grumpy woman whom you have never seen before serves you this particular morning. She appears preoccupied rather than caring about you or what she is doing. As she pours your hot coffee a good portion spills in your lap. Despite your jumping in shock, no apology follows. Your experience is anger: both toward the waitress and the owner, Joe, for hiring such an incompetent person. Then, a friend of yours at the next booth says, “Isn’t it great that Joe hired her!”

“Great! Are you out of your mind? She just spilled hot coffee in my lap and walked away,” you reply with your best indignant voice.

“Oh, you didn’t hear the story?” your friend whispers.

“What story?” you angrily reply, still drying off your new slacks, wondering how you will go through the day looking as though you wet your pants.

“Yeah, Joe didn’t know her from Adam. He read in the paper that her husband had died last month in a car accident. Apparently her husband’s health insurance stopped, and she was looking for another job in order to pay for her sixteen-year old son’s chemotherapy for leukemia,” your friend responds.

Now, you still have hot coffee in your crotch, but are you still angry? Unlikely. The only thing that shifted was your perception and attitude. Through discovering a reason to be compassionate, your entire experience changed—and there are always reasons to be compassionate.

An important part of healing (i.e., letting go of fear) is developing compassion. Instead of going out in the world and finding plenty of reasons to be upset, go out and discover reasons to extend love. There are thousands of reasons waiting for you right now. A helpful thought to remember is that a miracle is nothing more than allowing an old grievance to become a current compassion.

If you ever run short on reasons to be compassionate, remember there is always one good reason: It makes you feel better than anything else you could do.

When you are upset remind yourself
the cause of your discomfort is your own attitude.
This is freedom.

This story may or may not be true and may or not seem real to you, but I think you’ll get the basic message and agree with it. There are so many times I know that personally I am in a situation when someone “assumes” that my life has gone a certain way and they couldn’t be more wrong. The most common one is when I say “my first husband” because I am re-married, or “the father of my children”, people automatically assume that I am divorced, not widowed. In the above excerpt this woman who had poor service assumed that the new employee simply didn’t care. It is an innocent and natural assumption. The difference with those of us who have experienced traumatic loss is that we are more “tuned in” to the possibility that there is more to the story than what’s on the surface. I think it’s because we know we are the “exception”. We’re not a part of the “norm” anymore. We are different – just like our children, and we live our lives differently. We are aware of our mortality, our vulnerability and know that our lives will never be the same. We are forced to see life in a different way – something that can very well be fleeting – and we tend to give people the benefit of the doubt more often. That becomes our way of living because we live it every single day.

I believe though that, because of what we have gone through, that we have the ability and the power to be happy because of what we have experienced. We posses the gift of knowledge – knowing that life is precious and never, ever, ever taking it for granted. We look at those precious people in our lives who have stood by us through our darkest times and appreciate them for all they have done and meant to us.

I highly recommend signing up for this website’s contact list and hope that you find it to be as valuable a resource as I have.

Much happiness and peace!



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