Last week I was blindsided by a complete ass kicking in the form of a sinus infection. Of course I was busy as hell and its timing, as they usually are, was bad in every sense of the word. In between binge watching "Island Hunters" and rereading the NyQuil dose directions I did a lot of contemplating, related specifically to the word perspective. So much so, that I looked up its actual definition.
Here's what I found when I Googled it:
"a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view."
Okay, that's what I thought. Now what?
As humans we have all formed opinions based on our upbringings, backgrounds, surroundings, schooling, interactions, etc, I could go on and on. But based on our life's experiences we have formed a point of view towards most everything. We all have a unique perspective on everything including; politics, religion, and all of the other "too hot for normal conversation" topics. What I was pondering most while curled up on my couch with my super cuddly hound was other people's points of view. Why are we so quick to judge others if their beliefs or points of view differ from our own? What if before lashing out in judgement of their differing beliefs we heard them out? What if we agreed to disagree? What if we showed some ever loving respect for others opinions i.e. their life as witness for their beliefs? What if we worked together, hand and hand, despite our differences and tried to make tomorrow better than today? I mean, call me naive, call me crazy, call me a dreamer but aren't we all capable of more than what social conflicts seem to result in today? From my perspective, through my rose colored lenses, I am certain that we are all capable of making a positive impact far beyond our own wildest imaginations. I am not certain of many things, but I am certain of this.
Several months ago I was gifted a book from a friend, coach and someone I respect, a lot. It took me a little while to get around to reading it but last week when I was blindsided by a complete ass kicking in the form of a sinus infection I had some time to dive in. The book, Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar, is written by Cheryl Strayed. She had an anonymous advice column and people would write to her for advice, her perspective, on relationships, love, and life and this book is a compilation of a lot of these letters and her responses. It's a sort of rogue advice column, she's a ball busting, straight shooter who incorporates her own life experiences into her very thoughtful responses. Sometimes you want to cry, laugh or maybe even give her a high five. It's real life in all of it's messy goodness. She signed her responses in some form of "Yours, Sugar."
In reading Tiny Beautiful Things, I began my deep study of perspective. Strangers wrote to another stranger asking for advice on their lives. They needed someone else's perspective to get them through a challenging time, a joyful time, to move on with their lives or whatever but they actually reached out for a new insight. Wow.
You see, we all need another perspective once in a while. Even if you believe yours to be correct having a different vantage point is sometimes essential for moving forward. You may not believe the alternate opinion to be right for you but it at least gets your wheels turning and maybe brings to surface questions about your circumstance that you hadn't thought about until you saw it in a different light. Sugar's readers respected her and reached out for her specific advice because of this respect. The most curious thing about this to me is that they don't even know her yet they have gone completely out of their way to seek her point of view on their situation.
Is it easier to take advice from someone you don't know, someone who is completely foreign to your situation and life, someone whose face you don't recognize? I suppose my point in all this is to urge everyone to extend the same courtesy to people they do know, faces they do recognize, people who are already familiar to them. These people may have something to offer us that we have not explored yet, be open to that.
I would give credit if I knew where it came from but are you familiar with the saying that goes something like this: listen to understand not to respond?
Let's cultivate love and respect, even if we aren't seeing it in the papers or on the news. Let's rise above and live by a positive example. Let's be the change we want to see in the world. Lets's be the first ripple in the still water and watch the ripple of positivity spread. Let's be courageous enough to listen to understand not just to respond.
Here's to a brighter tomorrow filled with heated and respectful debate. As always, this is simply my rosy influenced perspective but I felt compelled to share.