Perspective is what brings to life a set of data points that on their own lack clear meaning.
But like all things, perspective can be a double edged sword: in the best of moments it gives us a deeper understanding of the gestalt of a system and in the worst, fills our minds with a skewed belief of a situation that paints a negative view. Some might more commonly refer to this as the half full/half empty phenomenon.
What’s interesting is that these tendencies in perspective are a choice. When I used to see patients I would oftentimes share two points on this subject. One was, “Don’t compare your real life to everyone else’s Christmas card.” And the other was “Give yourself permission to live in fantasy because reality is a depressing place.” Why did I say these things? Well, first, I never had a client come in and say, I’m doing great so I signed up for therapy even though I don’t need it. So certainly, by definition, everyone that came in had an issue they wanted to solve. There were some that had axis 1 disorders like bipolar or major depression but by and large the people I saw suffered merely from a perspective problem followed by failing attempts to make the world make sense.
The irony is that the world isn’t fair, doesn’t make sense, and can’t be controlled. Studies show that people who are perpetually happy are simply born that way and those that see the world as a happy place see not reality, but rather, their positive interpretation of it. So what does any of this after to do with politics and national readiness?
The nation as a whole that uses the power of positivity to be mindful, present, energized, and inspired is the country that will capitalize on a joint movement of power and leadership.
Today we focus more on being reactive to issues in our country. We are experiencing and expressing a joint cathartic sharing of worries that is bringing with it a cloud of anger and discomfort to our people. In therapy, we used to have a saying, “Up to 25 you’re a victim, after 25, you’re a volunteer.” It was never meant to be harsh but rather to help someone gain a new perspective – one that focused on recognizing that no matter what has happened to you or is happening to you – you have a choice in how you react to it.
We can’t ignore or sweep under the rug the problems in our nation but we can approach them and both parties with a view of hope and a plan of action rather than despair and worry. We can choose a pathway that elevates and a national position built on inclusion rather than separation or hierarchy.
We can choose these perspectives….but will we?