It’s so easy to get caught up in day to day life and lose sight of where we are in the world, how we feel about it and what really matters to us. Busy lives, work and family demands can take priority and we inevitably find ourselves “making do”, “getting by” or “staying afloat”. We push ourselves so hard and expect so much from ourselves that we often pay more heed to what we don’t achieve, rather than what we do.
It’s important to take a moment every now and then to give yourself a perspective check. Perspective helps us to stay in touch with our reality, rather than allowing ourselves to become overwhelmed by our present stresses and potentially even past disappointments and future worries. Perspective means that we can empower ourselves to see the true value of who we are and to appreciate what we have in our lives. It’s a powerful way to gain focus, a better understanding of situations and those around us, and overcome potentially irrelevant fears and upsets.
It also means that we free our minds to pursue more effective thoughts and subsequently, lives.
Here are 4 effective tactics to give yourself a perspective check:
1- Realise, understand and accept that nobody is perfect. Not you, not your partner, your colleagues or anyone else in the world. Everyone makes mistakes and it’s important to understand that these are not necessarily personal, your fault or even your duty to repair. Learning to move on constructively from disappointments is crucial, as is learning to forgive. Forgive yourself for past mistakes and be gentle with yourself. All mistakes carry with them important lessons which serve to guide you better in the future. The important part is to embrace imperfection.
2- Be present. Get out amongst nature. Go for a walk along the beach, through a forest or even around the block. Be truly present in this experience and allow yourself to see all of the amazing and beautiful events taking place around you. The old couple holding hands, the puppy, the kids playing and the bees eagerly buzzing from flower to flower. Smile at as many people as you can and watch how easily and quickly you can brighten someone else’s day… and your own! There is beauty in simplicity if we only allow ourselves the time to witness and appreciate it.
3- Work on becoming more patient and tolerant. When we are stressed and overwhelmed, the simplest and most innocent things can make us angry and impatient. The old man walking slowly in front of us, the careless driver who turned in front of our car or our partner who didn’t remember to take out the rubbish for the week. Ask yourself if it is really worth your anger.
Try and remove your emotions from the situation to understand things from another person’s perspective. The old man, the careless driver and your forgetful partner all have their own story and reasoning for their behaviours. Understanding this and moving on saves you undue stress and improves your levels of empathy and tolerance of others – ultimately making you a happier person. Will it matter in a day, a week, a month or a year from now? Ask yourself these serious questions when analysing a specific stress or upset. It helps to gain a time relevant perspective on what may or may not be worth your emotional investment.
4- Make a list of what you are happy about in your life. Think of what you value and aspects of your life that you appreciate and are truly grateful for. Put this list somewhere where you can easily view it- on the fridge or cupboard door. This is a powerful reminder of the positive things in your life and helps with perspective.
Perspective is largely about seeing and accepting yourself and your place in the world as it is, without judgement. It’s about “seeing the wood for the trees” and allowing ourselves to realise, value and appreciate elements that we so often can take for granted in the daily routines of busy lives. It helps to alleviate unnecessary stress, anger, anxiety and worry, while cultivating a positive mindset, proactive behaviours, understanding, tolerance… and ultimately happiness and fulfilment.
We all need a perspective check every now and then!