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The Power Of Perspective

Mary-Lauren O’Crowley, MA, NCC

Before I start telling you the details of what this “perspective” deal is all about, I would like all of you to answer a simple question first: Do you view a half-filled glass of water as being half-full or half-empty? This may have sounded silly to you, but believe me, this can tell us a lot about how someone views the world. 

I am confident that most of you are familiar with this so called ‘Glass of Water’ theory: people who perceive the glass as ‘half-empty’ tend to focus more on what is missing in their life and how it has been neglecting them in blessing them with all the goodness that it has to offer. Whereas people who perceive the glass as being ‘half-filled’ are more focused on what they have now, and how they can turn things in their favor to make life better and brighter for themselves. 

If you are someone who finds themselves feeling exhausted or overwhelmed when dealing with the inevitable valleys of the human experience, or you feel like giving up when life does not work out in your favor, then maybe this next part is for you: While we cannot control what happens to us, we can attempt to help ourselves cope by shifting our perspective, focusing not on the cards we have been dealt but instead on how we might win the next hand.

We all face daily battles and grapple with inner turmoils. Nobody has a crystal-clear and perfectly aligned life laid out in front of them. The human experience is difficult to say the least, but one might argue that the valleys make us all the more grateful for the peaks. Most of us know that, while we cannot control the way most things happen in life, there is always one thing that we can do: Learn to look at the brighter side of life. I know, I know, the majority of you must have just rolled your eyes at this. This may sound like a cop out, and the utility of this will vary depending on each individual’s situation. That being said, I will encourage you to notice how your thoughts and the subsequent feelings surrounding difficult situations may contribute to the problem. Below, I have compiled a list of ways that you can challenge your perspective and attempt to turn your mountains into molehills.

1) Re-assess the situation

Know that once something has happened, nothing could be done to ‘undo’ it. The best thing that you could do is to develop solutions or ways to come out of it unscathed. When you focus on what steps you should be taking in the future instead of wailing, you will be indirectly doing yourself a favor and learning to look at the brighter side of life. 

2) Ignore negativity

Set up rules for yourself. Whenever you feel like a negative thought is about to come and destroy your mental peace, just distract yourself quickly, and engage your mind on a positive thought instead. 

3) Live intentionally

Another helpful approach is to act with intent. When we make decisions based on our own needs and wants, we may find that we are less likely to blame the universe or others for negative outcomes.

By taking one step at a time, you may soon learn to see the silver lining hidden in each cloud. If you or someone you know is looking for support in navigating life’s difficult moments, please reach out to the intake specialists at Symmetry Counseling, and get paired with one of our skilled counselors in Chicago today.

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