A New Perspective
Have you ever been in a situation that was causing you stress and that caused you to start feeling anxious and afraid? How quickly did that escalate to you imagining the worst-case scenarios, the impending disasters, the humiliation that was surely coming your way? Did you go into a place of beating yourself up over your stupidity/ selfishness/ other inadequacies?
Two stories crossed my path in the last two days. One involves a mom who’s daughter is newly independent and who had gotten herself into some problems with finances. The mom was concerned for her daughter, who was living away from home in another state, but was not able to bail her out due to her own financial situation. The mom’s thought pattern very quickly turned to thoughts like:
“At my age I should have the the resources to be able to help her out more, and I must be a terrible mom because this even happened. I did so many things wrong…”
Another friend reached out, saying she had been out of touch due to embarrassment over her situation. She had split up with her husband and was also facing financial difficulties. She said the marriage had been stifling and that they had made several attempts yet it was never going to change. But she felt like a failure for leaving. She really couldn’t get past her perception of what other people were going to think of her (assuming it would all be negative).
Besides the financial strain, both of these women had one thing in common and that is, they were both feeling very, very stuck and with just a little tweak to the way they were both thinking, everything was able to start shifting for them. The trick to it all is just a little adjustment in perspective.
Keeping the focus on the problem only makes that seem bigger and badder than it really is, so the next time you’re in a similar situation try a little shift in perception. In the case of the mom when she was able to pause and step back from the situation, looking at it more objectively, she began to see that not bailing her daughter out was actually a big gift. No one wants their kids to suffer, but sometimes being forced to figure out your own problems leads to a place of empowerment, or at least experience and lessons. It turns out that the daughter was owed money by several people, and not getting bailed out forced her to deal with collecting it (and learning how to ask for and receive money). She was also talking to her boss about a promotion that very week (isn’t the Universe clever), and having her back against the wall financially quickly turned her into a much better negotiator.
The mom’s instinct was to help her daughter, but would that really have been the best thing? Probably not. The situation also was a wake-up call for the mom and forced her to look at and deal with her own finances which is a whole other story, but the shift into seeing the situation with the daughter as a blessing did start to free energy away from guilt and blame and into a better place of growth and support.
In the case of the other friend who had left her husband, the first thing I said when I heard the story was, “Wow. What opportunity you have now. For the first time you can focus on what it is you want. You can be true to yourself.”
My friend was surprised because she had been so wrapped up in thinking about how stressful and bad things were. Taking time to hit “pause” and to regroup and reframe helped calm her down and get her back to the place where she was more open to being able to build her life back up again.And sometimes all it takes is that “pause”. Just a moment to stop reacting and to start asking.
“What is this situation here to teach me?”
“Source Energy (Universe, God, Allah, etc.), what would you have me do?”
In questions like those there is peace and there is growth, and opportunity for new adventures to present themselves. We were not meant to live our lives focusing on past mistakes. Look forward but do it with a willingness to tweak what it is you’re looking at and focusing on. That’s what can make all the difference.