It really is all about perspective.
I was talking with a friend the other day, we were catching up on life, and I loosely said the phrase, “I missed the boat” regarding the topic we were speaking about. He quickly interjected, looked me dead on and said, “Kim, you missed “a” boat, not “the” boat.” To believe that a whole area of my life was “over” because “I missed the boat” was incorrect. What was valid and true, “is that a potential opportunity passed by.” Period. The End.
That rephrasing of that particular statement changed my whole perspective. My friend was dead on. I loved that he realigned my view. It was perfect. It resonated with me. It comforted me. It made me feel better. It’s nuts how one word changed the whole meaning of the statement for me. This is often the case in life, one small tweak can change everything.
I found myself thinking about "the boat comment" for the rest of the day. Initially, my perspective was judgmental, harsh and incorrect. My friend's perspective was refreshing, valid and made me soften. Leaving that interaction with my friend, I felt more positive and more grounded because, if I’m really honest with myself, I know that life is filled with endless possibilities and lots of boats! (opportunities) Sometimes, you just need to be reminded of that.. As much as it’s my job to help others with these concepts, of course I’m human and need this reminder too.
What I know for sure is that when my perspective is negative, I feel awful. There is no way to have a grim perspective and be happy. It just doesn’t add up. What is true, time and time again, is that our perspective matches our reality. To go further, our current perspective is going to affect our future reality.
So, what do we do when we feel trapped in a negative space? After all, none of us are Buddha, and there has been and there are going to be times when it’s challenging to keep a positive outlook. Here are some ideas on how to press the reset button and get back on track.
Let Yourself Feel the ICK
Allow yourself to sit and be in your icky space. Feel it. Have an afternoon basking in it. Be sad for yourself. Have a conversation with someone you trust where you can rap about it mindlessly. Although…..eventually……….. it’s important to get yourself out of this space, so you’re not getting contaminated with it for too long. Maybe its an hour, maybe its a day, maybe it’s a week. Feel it and then move on in a more positive manner.
- If your sulk goes on for more than two weeks and you just can’t get yourself out of your bad space, I would seek some outside help.
It’s common that, when you’re stuck in a negative perspective, you become unrooted to your true essence. So, to say it simply, you’re not the best version of yourself when your perspective is dark. It’s okay. Your human. You can’t always be on point with a glowing perspective. What can be helpful is to think about actions that you can take to refocus and recenter yourself, so you can feel better. Most likely, when you feel bad, nothing is going to sound appealing, so think about things that your “more positive self” would enjoy doing. Push yourself to do something positive. It can be the smallest action.
Little by little, small positive action after small positive action, you usually will find that you feel relief. It’s a fact that what you put your energy into grows, for worse or better, so believe in this theory of life to keep you motivated. Take one small step in order to strengthen the core of who you are. You will make much better decisions for yourself when you’re operating from a strong core.
Focus on YOU
So often, we find ourselves “off” when we are neglecting our own self care. One major way that we can become unbalanced is by focusing on other people, while dismissing our needs. This is very common for those “people pleasing” personalities. It can also be a sign of low self esteem. When we are consistently going outside ourselves for answers, praise or permission those are some signals that it can benefit us to take a hard look within. When we focus on other people and create stories about why they do what they do, we are setting ourselves up for pain because our focus is off. When you are hyper focused on someone other than you, it’s a breeding ground for unbalance, low self concept and pain.
It can be a great habit to learn how to redirect your thoughts when you notice that they constantly drift off into someone else’s world. Live in your world, not in the world of another’s. Your world needs you to grow and thrive. When you’re constantly living outside of yourself; you’re neglecting yourself. This will lead to a loss of your self worth, which will feel empty because, literally, nobody is home.
Please Remember: It’s so very important to consider your needs and wants and take action to support them. Always. You are NOT selfish for tending too and taking action toward your needs. You’re being respectful of yourself by doing so.
Do Something Different
When you do a different action, you will get a different result. Its a fact of life. Often change comes from making a choice to change and then committing to it. When you make the choice that you want your life to shift, thinking of ways that you can operate differently will lead to different results. Making small changes everyday will lead you to feel differently because your reality will change based on your different choices. Your job is to commit to acting differently than your usual. If you usually say “No,” say “Yes.” If you normally go straight home after work, switch it up and try something new. Mix up your routine. Challenge yourself. Go outside what is comfortable. Do something different just for the notion of doing something different. If you keep it up, you will see change.
It takes the courage to be willing to experiment in order to feel better about your life. The same old routine will keep you feeling stuck. Remember that it’s often in the small little tweaks that you make in your life that lead to a changed reality over time. So, don’t stress, just be mindful to be aware of what is not working for you and challenge yourself to make small adjustments. Change does not need to be drastic in order for you to feel relief. Hang in there and focus on getting yourself to a stronger inner space. It’s there that you will be able to have the courage and motivation to strive continuously to a life that can fulfill you.
* I took this picture in Maui, Hawaii.