What’s Your Point of View?
Imagine a scenario like this: day after day you go through your morning routine of waking up and getting ready for work, passing by the same couch, making a pot of coffee, pulling clothes from the same closet. One morning you decide to mix it up and stretch before work. You lean into a downward facing dog and as your head hangs in the pose you notice a magazine you forgot about under the couch. Nothing has actually changed, except your perspective. This shift in perspective has enabled you to see the magazine you’ve been unknowingly passing by for weeks.
This can happen a lot in life – we can become focused on a problem… one part of a situation… one comment within a conversation – and it can prevent us from seeing the whole picture. For example, what else is true in addition to that problem? What else was said during that conversation?
Unlike the magazine under the couch, when our perspective becomes fixed on problems, fears, what is going wrong in relationships, or things we don’t like about ourselves, it can be a source of suffering. It could dampen happiness and joy, contribute to anxiety, or interfere with having the types of relationships we desire.
Being able to shift and broaden our perspective can be a useful tool to help us ease suffering.
With greater perspective, we have the opportunity to see new solutions to problems, welcome goodness into life even in the face of challenges, and perhaps make more complete assessments of ourselves and our relationships. Here are a few skills that may help us broaden our perspective when we are feeling stuck.
Mindfulness can help us increase our awareness. Increased awareness about thoughts, emotions, and sensations can help us notice where are attention may be focused. To practice mindfulness, we could simply:
Pause – take a breath, and
What are my thoughts saying?
How am I feeling?
What do I sense in my body?
With mindful awareness, we may begin to gain insight about our perspective.
Like a Bird
Imagine you’re driving through a tunnel and all you can see is what is in the tunnel; yet, there is a whole world beyond the tunnel. Sometimes our perspectives can do something similar. Our perspectives can be ‘narrow,’ or limited to only what is within the tunnel, which can contribute to anxiety, anger, a low mood, or other forms of suffering.
We could use imagery again to practice broadening our perspective. What might a bird that is soaring high above the tunnel see? This bird would likely see humans living their lives, animals playing, weather patterns in motion, and countless other details consistently changing. To practice shifting perspective, consider being the bird. We could imagine rising above a situation to see a fuller, broader perspective.
From a Friend
Sometimes it can be challenging to shift our perspective on our own. We may feel strongly attached to thoughts or beliefs; we could feel swept away by unhelpful loops of worry, rumination, or fear; or, emotions may feel highly charged. These types of experiences can make it difficult to see things from another point of view. To help us get a different perspective, we could consider what a trusted friend may see in the same situation. Do they notice alternative solutions? Positive or helpful aspects? Opportunities for growth? Experience different emotions? We don’t have to adopt their perspective altogether, but simply being open to their perspective could help to broaden our perspective.
When practicing perspective-taking skills, an aim is to work toward being open and flexible rather than narrow and fixed.
With practice, flexible thinking and being able to see things from different points of views could contribute to positive change. If you would like support developing skills that can help you ease anxiety, improve your mood, or build satisfactory relationships reach out for a free 15-minute informational consultation and let’s see if Grow True is right for your needs.
Disclaimer: Please note that visiting this website does not constitute a doctor-client therapeutic relationship. The information and resources included or linked on this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to assess, diagnose, or treat any medical and/or mental health disease or condition. The information obtained from this site should not be considered a substitute for a thorough medical and/or mental health evaluation by an appropriately credentialed and licensed professional. We do not know the specifics of your situation or have the facts to provide this type of evaluation and recommend that you seek an appropriately credentialed and licensed professional to establish a doctor-client therapeutic relationship. This website also includes links to other websites for informational and reference purposes only. This website does not endorse, warrant or guarantee the products, services or information described or offered at these other websites.