Have you ever looked at yourself in a distorted funhouse mirror? One where your legs appear to be two inches tall and your neck looks to be five feet long? Your eyes are seeing this - but you know that this is a false representation of what you look like and who you are.
And have you ever tried on someone’s glasses?
The world that once looked bright is now blurry, out of focus, wrong. But if you looked through those glasses every day, or in that distorted mirror, you might honestly believe what they portrayed. Your eyes and your sense of self would eventually adjust, and you would believe in these false outlooks.
Having a toxic outlook on life is like constantly looking through lenses that are blurry and cracked.
You’re looking out, and everything is skewed and disturbing. Soon, what your eyes see your heart believes. The lenses of our perspective are formed through our past experiences, our cultures, our family roots.
For example, if you wake up every day and think, “I’m so tired. Life is hard,” then you will go throughout every day feeling heavy, unmotivated, and finding an unnecessary struggle in everything you do. Because you believe this day is out to get you, it will. The work you once loved will become irritating, your coworkers will become intolerable, your lunch won’t taste right, and you’ll leave dragging your feet. Home will be your relief.
But soon, this toxic perspective can sneak into your personal life. Your house, car, and clothes will never be good enough. Your kids will seem too loud. Your marriage won’t fulfill you. Your perspective has taken over, and it has sown some deathly seeds. It is shocking how something so intangible - your mindset, your perspective - can control your life.
Think about it this way - nothing is wrong with the world. Nothing is wrong with you, your house, your family, or your career. What makes us believe that something has gone wrong is our perspective on it. Certainly, there are outside forces that can interrupt or influence our lives. But these forces are not what causes us to fail or succeed. Truly, it is the perspective that aids in failure, and in success.
This may sound radical, but you could wake up every day believing that everything has gone right. Believing that you have the perfect house, you have the right relationships and the right career. Gratefulness for every big and small thing can increase, simply by the acts of mindfulness, awareness, and focus.
“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in your mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” – Henry David Thoreau
Does this way of living sound unattainable to you? Do you believe that you simply aren’t made to think that way? You may believe you’re too much of a pessimist, inherently. Or a hardcore realist. This may be true. But listen close, you don’t need a personality transplant to have a healthy perspective. This transformational way of thinking is a learned practice.
For example, one practice that could change your life is self-talk. Constructive self-talk is about changing your inner dialogue. Instead of thinking, “My house is too small.” you can think, “I remember when we bought this house, we were so excited. It’s still perfect for us.” Instead of waking up thinking “Life is hard,” you could bounce out of bed thinking, “My life is so good! I’m going to go to work and do my job well today.”
Researchers have found that one of the main patterns in people that deal with depression is negative self-talk. That goes to show that the way we process life through our perspective is a powerful, powerful thing.
I was once naive as to how powerful my point of view is. Maybe you were too before you read this blog. But now that we know, we would be fools to ignore the call to constructive self-talk, a healthy perspective, and choosing to better our lives.
Join in with me to learn to see through the lens of gratefulness.