When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change…
Have you heard this saying?
It was one of my favorite teachers, the great Wayne Dyer, who said it. And, once I started really working with it, it changed my life.
I had no idea how attached I was to the way I saw things.
And I am continually amazed at the connection between my emotional well being and the stories I tell myself about myself, other people, the things that happen in my life, and even the world in general.
Most people tend to think of change as something elusive, difficult, and even futile.
There’s no question that change can be difficult. We’re all creatures of habit . We tend to do things (the way we think, the ways we behave) the way we’ve always done them. But it is possible to shift your perspective. And the truth is that it’s much easier than you think. It just takes practice.
“It’s all in how you look at things.”
These words from The Phantom Tollbooth character Alec Bings are the essence of this truth. Shifting your perspective is an incredibly simple yet awesomely powerful skill you can learn to incorporate into your life.
Click here to watch the short video I made for you about the power of perspective.
In case you missed the other blogs in this series, here they are for you. Just click the one you want to view.
Do you remember asking the question “Are we there yet?” five minutes after getting into the car when you were a little kid? I know I did. And most people I know did too. We weren’t so into enjoying the ride back then, were we? It was all about getting where we were going. And these days, especially for people who are trying to get out of a hard place, dealing with a difficult situation, or suffering painful losses, the ride is anything but enjoyable.
No one has an easy time tolerating painful circumstances.
When we’ve been thrust into hard times, feel like we’ve been kicked in the teeth, or just find ourselves in the throes of difficult circumstances for whatever reason, it’s only natural for us to want resolve them, move past them, and just be done with them as soon as possible.
The problem is that sometimes we’re stuck.
Even though we desperately want to move forward, sometimes we get caught up in going over the past in our minds. We get hung up on regret: what-if, if-only, second-guessing… the works. And then we feel worse instead of better. Even if we’re not Monday Morning Quarterbacking, there’s just no way to push the river of healing. And there’s really no substitute for the tincture of time.
The Four Ps of Inner Peace can go a long way toward making the ride more bearable and even (believe it or not) more enjoyable most of the time.
Practice, Perseverance, Patience, and Perspective are the key ingredients in the basic recipe for Inner Peace, not just when you get “there,” but all along the way.
I wrote about Practice last week. Today is about the next two Ps: Perseverance and Patience.
Perseverance is about “keepin’ on keepin’ on,” even when you don’t want to. Because no one wants to when they’re feeling bad. It’s about pushing yourself gently, even just a little bit when you have to…over and over again.
In moments when you do feel like giving up, take just a moment to validate for yourself the discouragement you are feeling, but then… get right back up on the Perseverance horse.
Start again, as many times as you need to.
Every moment is new, you’re new in every moment, and now is always the right time. Suspend your disbelief, expect a miracle, breathe in and breathe out, and put one foot in front of the other, remembering that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
There’s probably nothing harder than being patient when we feel bad. In fact, the worse we feel, the harder it is. Trying to get away from painful feelings and circumstances is the most natural thing in the world. The only problem is that it doesn’t actually work.
Not in the long run.
The truth is that we can’t really pole-vault over things; we have to go through them. And it can take some time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. New habits take time to develop. And that’s why Patience is key.
Perseverance and Patience are two sides of the same coin.
Perseverance is about keeping going, and Patience is about knowing that it takes a little time to get there.
Perseverance is about knowing deep down, really believing it, that steady wins the race every time. And Patience is about knowing deep down and really accepting the fact that the changes you’re trying to make are going to take some time.
The better you get at this balancing act, the better you’ll feel.
Even when you’re dealing with difficult feelings and situations and circumstances, perseverance and patience will make your life a little easier. You’ll find that you enjoy the ride a little more, even when you didn’t expect or plan or even want to be on the journey in the first place. And that makes all the difference in the world.
Click below to watch the video I made for you about Perseverance and Patience.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes! Post your thoughts and questions here.
I used to be really hard on myself. I talked to myself in a way that I would never in a million years talk to anyone else. In fact, my mother used to tell me that I was my own worst enemy. And she was right. No one can hit you below the belt quite Ike you. And you’re the only one who can stop it.
If nothing changes, nothing changes.
They have a saying in the Twelve Steps: If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got. When you’ve been flattened like a pancake by one of more life-changing losses, and especially if you’re struggling with feelings of regret, it can be hard to be kind to yourself. But if you want to move forward with your life, that’s exactly what’s called for.
The truth is that no one can beat you up the way you can beat yourself up.
It’s natural to need to think things through, to sort and sift, to reckon and reconcile. But sometimes it can get really vicious inside your head. And the problem is that there is no way to ever feel better as long as that voice is screaming at you. The good news is that there is a way to stop being so hard on yourself, to make that voice kinder, and to have it become more supportive of your efforts to move on in the ways you most want to.
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
I know how brutal it can get inside your own head. There was a time when I thought it just wasn’t possible to turn off the tape of woulda-shoulda-couldas, what-ifs and if-onlys, and second-guesses that was always playing through my mind, keeping me up at night and waking me up too early in the morning. But it turned out that it actually was possible. And all it took was some new habits that I made by doing a few things differently, intentionally and deliberately, over and over again.
We’re all creatures of habit.
It’s natural to do things the way we’ve always done them. Whether it’s the way we think, the way we act, or the way we feel, it’s all about repetition. Every time we do something one way, we reinforce the odds that we’ll do it that way the next time. The thing about habits is that they’re easy to make and hard to break. So how do you break the cycle?
Practice, Practice, Practice.
If you want to break an old habit and make a new one, all you really have to do is to simply decide that that’s what you’re going to do. You identify the habit you want to change. And then you practice the new one you want to make. It’s really not rocket science. And it really does work.
Click below to watch the short video I made about Practice. And then I’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to post them below!
Know the feeling? I think everybody does. And when you’ve suffered heartbreak as a result of one or more life-changing losses, there’s a good chance that your story about what happened (you know, the one you tell to your confidants) includes the notion that it wasn’t fair. Even if you keep it to yourself, the thing is that the whole idea of fairness tends to make people feel worse instead of better, especially when they’ve suffered some kind of heartbreak or life-changing loss.
The concept of “fairness” is a mixed bag.
If you’re getting support from sympathetic friends who agree that whatever happened in your life wasn’t fair, it can feel helpful. But if telling yourself it wasn’t fair fuels the fire of your feelings of anger, sadness, blame or regret, and overall misery, then it’s doing you more harm than good. In either case, to be less at the mercy of the concept itself, you’ve got to raise your awareness about your own beliefs and feelings about it.
Where did your ideas about fairness come from?
The concept of “fairness” is a sticky wicket. It’s relational and situational; it’s religious and historical; it’s legal and ethical. And it tends to bring up a lot of emotion for most people. It’s perfectly fine to believe whatever you do believe about it, with one catch: your beliefs about fairness will have direct bearing on your ability to recover and get back on your feet after having the rug pulled out from under you.
Here’s the link to my podcast about fairness. In it, i will:
Propose a new way to think about the concept of fairness that will ease your emotional misery and increase your serenity.
Show you the powerful connection between the concept of fairness and Acceptance, Deep and Complete.
Give you a simple practice to help youclarify your own beliefs about fairness and decide whether they are helping or hindering your efforts to restore your emotional well-being.
Have you ever said these words to yourself? The thing is, hindsight is 20-20. And our regrets are usually based on what we DIDN’T know then. We live forward but we understand backward. And the problem with regret is that it drains your energy and makes you increasingly more vulnerable to sadness, depression, and anxiety the longer you live with it. Worst of all, it prevents you from enjoying life in the present.
Regret has a way of creeping up on us without our noticing.
Regret makes our world smaller and smaller. Feeling stuck in this way is about the what-ifs and if-onlys that run around inside your head like a gerbil on a wheel. If you keep going over and over it inside your head, no wonder it becomes more real than whatever is right in front of you.
There is a way to get free from this vicious circle.
The key is to raise your awareness of your self-talk. Because if regret is an issue for you, chances are it’s pretty negative. And to the degree you’re not aware of the story you’re telling yourself – about yourself, about other people, and about whatever happened to cause your regret – you’re going to continue to perpetuate your own misery. And that’s what keeps you stuck. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Don’t Believe Everything You Think.
We all have a way of talking to ourselves about the things that happen in our lives. Everyone has a unique perspective. That’s why raising awareness of our stories is key. Because only as we become aware of them can we being to work with them in ways that are actually productive. And that’s how you resume living and loving life.
Here’s the link to my podcast “Don’t Believe Everything You Think.” In it I will:
Explain why raising your awareness is the quickest way to get unstuck from regret
Give you a technique to help you change the way you’re looking at things
Tell you a story that illustrates the power of this technique