Perspective Matters

I ran across a saying (author unknown) recently: “Sometimes when things are falling apart they may actually be falling into place.”

In other words: Perspective matters.

You cannot lie to yourself. You can’t pretend a bad thing is a good thing.

But what you can do is try to turn a bad thing into a positive. Sometimes a disappointment or a letdown is an opportunity. It turns something that was previously a risk into something that is no longer a risk. “I was previously scared to do Y. Now that X has happened, it’s no longer a big risk to do Y.”

Some people say there’s a power higher and wiser than ourselves determining the outcome of things. All I will say to that is such a belief isn’t necessary. It’s not that things “falling apart” means it’s happening for a good reason. As I see it, there is no reason of that kind. Things happen because they happen, because of the law of cause and effect, and because we make certain choices. Sometimes we make choices without fully understanding or focusing on the possible consequences. Human beings err, lack knowledge, or sometimes evade. There are many reasons things happen, but there’s no “higher reason.”

We human beings have a capacity to adapt. We find ways to get around obstacles. We can choose to look at things a certain way. For example, when possible we can think, “I choose not to let this obstacle stop me from doing what I want to do.” Many times, an obstacle has little or nothing to do with your more important goal. You can let obstacles or roadblocks be precisely that — things to get around — or you can allow them to bring you to a permanent standstill. Much of this is up to you.

One reader wrote me that it’s hard to keep this perspective when things have been falling apart non-stop for years. That’s a fair point. But sometimes the answer is to look at, “What am I doing wrong here? Is it possible that I’m perpetuating this cycle without realizing it, or without meaning to do so?” A common reason is expecting certain people to act a different way, even though they’re unable or unwilling to do so. Some of us hold ourselves hostage, in a sense, to the expectation that people or life should go a certain way, and we’re not going to move until that happens. I call this self-induced paralysis. It’s really not necessary.

Some people say it’s frightening to assume that life isn’t happening with the invisible hand of a higher power guiding it. To me, just the opposite is true. If you believe in an all-powerful force determining the outcome of things, then you ultimately must submit to this force. It reduces your capacity for choice, even choice in the way you choose to look at things.

To me, it seems much more hopeful to recognize that no matter what happens outside of your control, or what mistakes you might make along the way, there are always choices in how to look at things or do things. You can always make a fresh start or a new beginning.

If nothing is pre-determined, then nothing must stay the way it is forever. Even in the midst of a disastrous fact, you can still build anew around that fact and possibly come out stronger than ever before.


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