Keeping Things in Perspective

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A sense of perspective is vital to keeping sane and avoid small problems that can unnecessarily overwhelm us. If we lose perspective we can end up worrying for hours about things that may never even happen. To keep things in perspective it is particularly important to live in the present moment and avoid being overwhelmed by fears and concerns about the future.

Here are some tips to keep things in a sense of perspective.

See Things from other people’s point of view.

This is something that can be quite difficult to do. When we feel aggrieved at a situation or person, try to place yourselves in their shoes and try to understand their motivations and actions. We don’t necessarily have to agree and sympathise with them. But, if we can really look at an issue from other people’s perspective we can sincerely understand a very different perspective on the issue. This will help us be more sympathetic in our judgement and response.

Does it matter what other people think?

If someone makes a critical judgement, don’t let it be the end of your world. Just because we have received some negative feedback, it doesn’t mean it is entirely true or that we should take it to heart. Criticism invariably results from some small mistake; and doesn’t reflect on our overall character.

Are You misjudging other people?

Sometimes problems occur because we wrongly assume other people are acting from a certain motivation. The mind suspects and assumes the worst, yet, often we are incorrect in our assumptions. If someone fails to acknowledge our presence or contribution; we should avoid making the jump to assuming that they therefore no longer like us. The mind can be very tricky – it can take a small incident and magnify it out of all proportion. It is important to be very careful in judging people’s motives, especially when we assume them to be negative. If we suspect the worst we lose something precious within us.

Does this cause any major problems?

Sometimes we can get worked up about problems that are very insignificant. Perhaps we like to keep things in a certain order, but our house companions fail to clean up. It’s a bit inconvenient if people leave dirty washing in the sink; but, at the same time it’s not the end of the world. Think about the things that have concerned you in the past few days; and be honest in questioning how important they really are.

Detach from the Mind.

Our thoughts are not always reliable, it is important to be able to evaluate our own thoughts and decide whether they are accurate or not. Sometimes when we wake up in the morning we have a different perspective on yesterdays problems. The reason is that during sleep the mind switches off temporarily. Therefore, the new day can often give a new fresh, more optimistic perspective. However, we don’t have to wait until we sleep for 8 hours to switch off from the mind. Through learning meditation and how to control our thoughts, we can still the mind even during waking hours. If we cultivate this inner silence it helps to evaluate issues from a higher perspective. Meditation enhances our capacity to look at issues with our intuitive capacity and not just the intellectual mind.

Ask a Third Party for their Views

It is said that those who need advice are those most unwilling to be receptive to any advice. However, asking others can be beneficial for seeing another perspective. It is important that we not only ask others but are willing to take their views on board. It is also important to ask the right person; someone who doesn’t have a vested interest or have prejudged the issues

Be Willing to Think you May be wrong

Our initial judgements are often wrong. It is a mistake to hold onto these views rigidly. Our perspective is more likely to be inaccurate and unbalance when we become deeply attached to a particular outlook. Sometimes our pride and ego can make us reluctant to soften or alter our perspective. Our ego can exaggerate our problems and blow things up out of proportion

Concentrate on Good things.

Another thing we can try is just to ignore the problem / issue completely and throw ourselves into something different. If we can absorb ourselves in another task then we give time to ignore the problem. Later we realise that what seemed like a big problem before, is now less problematic.

Photo by: Unmesh Swanson, Sri Chinmoy Centre Galleries 

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