Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Choosing our perspective

What is perspective? It is more than just how we view everything. Perspective is how we choose to view everything.

Do we really have a choice about our perspective?

We make decisions all day long: what to eat, what to wear, what to do, etc. We are in complete control over those decisions. Yet somehow, we think or have decided that there is a distinction between those seemingly ‘practical’ decisions and the decisions we make about the feelings that we have.

The fact is each and every one of those practical decisions is based on feelings. We even use language that confirms that we have control over these feelings. “What do you feel like eating?” “What do you feel like wearing?” “What do you feel like doing?” At a minimum, we all have to agree that we have control over at least some of our feelings. That leaves us with only one question: why is it that we control some of our feelings and not all of them? The answer is simple. It is because we choose not to.

Aren’t some of our feelings beyond our control?

Choosing not to have control over some feelings, serves some people very well. If we do not have control over something, than how can we possibly be responsible for it? There is a certain logic there, albeit flawed logic. The reason it is flawed is because it is not true: if we agree that we can control at least some of our feelings, then logic says we must also have the ability to choose which feelings we control.

As adults we make decisions all day long that are based on our feelings. The next question is what distinguishes the feelings that we control from the feelings that we do not control? Is it the strength of the feeling? Is it rage? Depression? Euphoria? Whatever the reason is, who determines the controllable feeling from the uncontrollable one. The answer can only by us, ourselves. Yes, it is true and it does happen that sometimes decisions are made for us. But no one other than ourselves can decide how to feel. In other words, we may not be able to control all that happens in our lives, but we are always in control of how we respond. We get to choose our perspective.

Perspective is deciding how we feel.

Only we can make the decision about how we feel. Only we can know the reasons or reasoning behind our decision. It may be that we don’t know the reasons why we feel a particular way. But whether known or not, our perspective is our decision. It includes every moment of our history, every feeling that we have ever had, the sum of all the experiences that brought us to this time and place. Our perspective is our choice and no one else’s.

Do we always exercise control over our perspective? No, because we are still human and still fallible. But knowing that we do have a choice and that we can often do better, may help us in choosing a better perspective.

Participate. Make a difference. Live a life that matters.

1 comment:

  1. Again, you've defined something really important for us Michael. By stating that we are indeed able to choose our've defined the control over our lives that help us see ourselves as the empowered people that we are ! I can't always choose my particular situation.......which is scary.......but I can always choose how I feel about my situation.......that me some control over my life.......and how I choose to live it ! Thanks again......for defining a real truth !.........peace and love......Norma