It Really Is How You Look at It! (DE Wave)

You never know what you’ll discover in the nooks and crannies of the Internet, and I recently ran across a great saying (author unknown): “Sometimes when things are falling apart they may actually be falling into place.” In other words, perspective matters.

Of course, all this wisdom comes with a caveat: You cannot lie to yourself or pretend a bad thing is a good thing. That’s not perspective — it’s just a cover-up. But what you can do is try to turn a decidedly bad thing into a positive. Sometimes a disappointment or a letdown can become an opportunity, converting something that might have previously been a risk into something that is no longer a risk. Under those circumstances, you might find yourself saying something like, “I was previously scared to do [whatever]. Now that [something else] has happened, it’s no longer a big risk to do [the aforementioned whatever].’ This is a good thing.

Some people say there’s a power wiser than ourselves that determines the outcome of things. Regardless, such a belief isn’t absolutely necessary for us to take advantage of opportunities. Others might comfort themselves by claiming that things falling apart happened ‘for a good reason.’ But that reason is usually not clear, or doesn’t make sense. As I see it, there is no reason of that kind. Things happen because they happen, perhaps because of the law of cause and effect, or maybe because we made choices without a full understanding or focus on the possible consequences. Human beings make mistakes, lack knowledge or foresight, and even sometimes evade. There are many reasons why things happen, but if we look close enough, it’s usually due to one or more things we human beings do.

One thing we all have is the capacity to adapt and get around obstacles. We can accomplish this by choosing to look at things a certain way. For example, in certain cases it might make sense to think, “I choose to not let this obstacle stop me from doing what I want to do. I will work around this, because it has little to do with my intended goal.’ We have the power to see roadblocks as precisely that: Things to get around. Or we can give up, blame something outside of ourselves, and allow the stumbling blocks to bring us to a standstill. It’s all up to us.

A reader recently wrote to me that he finds it hard to keep this perspective when things have been falling apart for years. That’s a fair point. But in this case, doesn’t it make sense to ask, ‘What am I doing wrong here? Is it possible that I’m perpetuating this cycle without realizing it?” One common way to perpetuate failure is to expect people in our lives to act differently, even though they’re unable or unwilling to do so. In a sense, some of us hold ourselves hostage to the expectation that people or life should go a certain way — our way — and we’re not going to move until that happens. This self-induced paralysis is a vicious cycle and is not necessary.

Some people say that it’s frightening to assume or admit that life may indeed be happening without an invisible hand guiding it. To me, just the opposite is true. If you have the power to look at things differently and overcome obstacles in life, then why allow yourself to submit to something over which you have no control? That submission cheapens the power you have as a human being, and reduces your capacity for choice; including your choice to see things differently.

It seems more hopeful and empowering to recognize that no matter what happens outside of your control, including mistakes, you always have the power to choose how to look at things. A new perspective can help you make a fresh start.

If nothing is predetermined, then nothing has to stay the way it is forever. Even in the midst of something heartbreaking and disastrous, we can use the strength of our minds and our free will to rebuild our lives around the disaster and possibly even come out stronger than before. It’s our choice — if we choose to make it.


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