change your perspective

3 Ways to Change Your Perspective

Photo credit: Vaida Petereikiene

You know what the real enemy to happiness is? It’s not sadness, or failure or fear… its complacency. It’s becoming so comfortable with just being comfortable that we stop trying to make things better. We stop even trying to make things different. We go on and on, satisfied with being good enough, and we don’t realize that nothing is really all that good until we wake up one day and find ourselves miserable. Sometime before we reach that point, there are chances, windows that can be thrown open to let in some fresh air and sunlight. Changing your life doesn’t always mean turning your entire world upside down, sometimes it’s just about getting a new perspective on yourself, or the world around you.

 

Change your body

We spend our entire lives in the same skin. Isn’t that amazing? The one thing you truly carry with you from birth to death is your body. And our bodies can be the ultimate frenemy. They are there for us, they enable us to live and yet all the while they can be a source of resentment and struggle. But they are also something we can alter.

Our bodies will change on their own over the years, but there are plenty of developments along the way we can control. If a change of perspective is in order, why not start with your own reflection? Weight issues are battle for many of us; whether it’s losing or gaining pounds we spend far too much time agonizing over some notion of physical perfection. Or hell, screw perfection, even just something we can be proud of. Any of us can make healthier food choices and exercise a little bit more if we really want to change our bodies in that regard. And sometimes, weight loss, or gain, can be exactly the thing we need to turn our lives in a new direction. But that’s obvious. What about some of the less conspicuous options?

Look in the mirror, anything you see you can change. If you need to reinvigorate your life, maybe a cosmetic change is the way to go. I’m not talking plastic surgery, I suppose it’s an option, but again it’s obvious, and risky. I mean more like, tattoos, piercings, hair color types of changes. We tend to think of these things as rites of passage for the young. But a change in hair color can be an exciting new venture for anyone. I don’t just mean covering the grays either; I’m talking about going blonde for the first time in your life. And if age equals wisdom, is there any better time in life than mid-life to get that tattoo you’ve always thought about? You probably know yourself a lot better now than you did in your 20’s, and have a better idea of what kind of image would have sustainable significance. A belly button piercing seems like something for an 18 year old but certainly not a mother of 2, but… why not? Who cares if no one will see it but you? Whether it’s a tattoo or a navel ring, you will know and the knowledge that you did something so crazy will make you smile and it may make you wonder what other things you can do that you’ve never considered?

Change your view

My mom used to suggest when I had trouble sleeping that maybe I just needed a change of scenery, and somehow moving to the couch would always help. I doubt it was the scenery, but sometimes when we spend too long looking at the same things; they lose their meaning. That’s why sometimes the best thing you can do to change your perspective is to literally change what is right in front of you.

The way you change your surroundings can be quiet or dramatic. It can be as simple as re-arranging your furniture or as huge as buying a summer home in Cancun. Feng Shui isn’t for everybody, but a book will only cost about $10-$15 and if putting my headboard against a wall is supposed to help me sleep better, it’s worth a Saturday afternoon to give it a shot. It may work, it may not, but it’s fun to imagine that my day to day life could be affected by the placement of my bed. Ok ancient Asian arts aside, re-painting a living room, buying a new carpet, hanging new decorations or getting a new slip cover for an old couch can all drastically affect how you see your living environment. Sometimes just those changes will re-awaken us to the things we love about just being at home.

If fixing up the house isn’t going to cut it, you may have to travel around the world to find your answer. Or maybe just across town. Because the answer isn’t anywhere else, it’s in you; you just may need to go somewhere else to figure it out. The fact is nothing changes your perspective like a trip. It could be a day trip or a two-week excursion to your dream destination. Getting up, and out of your rut can be as easy as getting on a Greyhound. If you are looking for a real life-changing experience though, there’s nothing quite like experiencing a new culture for the first time. If you feel like maybe you need to be reminded of exactly how fortunate you are, try visiting a poorer country to see how the rest of the world lives away from Starbucks and Best Buy. When you see the places where children beg to braid hair to have money for food, believe me, your perspective gets a little electro-shock therapy. Suddenly your dead-end job and mediocre family car don’t seem so disappointing.

Change your resume

Speaking of jobs, the way we make our living is a major part of our identity, so if you really want to shake things up, a career change may be the answer. Granted, it’s not feasible for everyone to switch occupations. The job market isn’t exactly brimming with opportunities right now, and sometimes we can’t afford the financial sacrifices, so we have to make the best of what we have. But that’s ok. You don’t need to change jobs to change your resume. There are plenty of things we can add aside from a new title, or place of employment.

Improving yourself is always an option, but how you choose to do that is entirely up to you. I see the continuing education brochures for my local community colleges and high schools all the time. I browse through them, think “Hmm, that looks like fun” then they get lost with the junk mail and forgotten. But what if, just once, it wasn’t? Why not try that jewelry making seminar or that cooking class? The options are so endless everyone can learn a new skill that may change how we define ourselves. Some are just fun, like ball room dancing or synchronized swimming, but others like a course in real estate or tax law can be put to practical use. If a visiting a physical classroom is out of the question, online education is available 24/7 pretty much everywhere. Whether it’s getting a GED or learning Italian, it’s only as far away as your home computer.

When all else fails, a new perspective on the world isn’t just in undeveloped nations, it’s in every community in every country in the world. You have a local soup kitchen or shelter somewhere near your hometown, even if you don’t know about it. Charities all seem to come out of the woodwork at the holidays, but philanthropy is going on all year, all around you. All you have to do is look for it. Nothing will make you appreciate your own life like seeing what others live without. It will make you re-evaluate your priorities, and it’s something that can be done as a family. It may seem cruel to expose children to the more unfortunate side of the world, but the truth is it can also breed, grateful, sensitive and generous kids, who will grow into empathetic, giving adults. If you really want to love your existence again, imagine having a different one that is filled with the kinds of hardship that hundreds of thousands of people face every single day.

The power to change your life lies in you. But making the leap into something entirely new can be terrifying. So don’t force yourself to dive head first into the void. Try working up to it, you may find that a few small changes are all you need to re-invigorate your happiness. Or you may decide that you need whole-life makeover. And sometimes, you may discover that everything you need for happiness, you’ve had all along.

Janet is a writer for New Look Houston a Texas laser tattoo removal clinic. She is a blogger and freelance writer who loves to travel and re-decorate, although she’s not very good at the latter.

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  • http://www.balancedworklife.com/blog Bryce Christiansen

    Great post. Of all the perspective changes I’ve seen, getting out of an awful job for an enjoyable one is one of the best changes one can make.

    Like you said, it doesn’t always make sense, but don’t let that inhibit you. Even in a bad economy, it’s possible to find better opportunities.

  • http://livingthebalancedlife.com Living the Balanced Life

    Awesome post! Many people get so set where they are at, and they spend so much time and energy complaining instead of doing SOMETHING. Many times it doesn’t take a big change as some of your examples showed. We really just need to step up and take responsibility for our own lives and happiness and do something to change it.
    Thanks
    Bernice
    Get your priorities straight

  • http://hanofharmony.com The Vizier

    Hi Janet,

    I agree with you. Complacency can be a very dangerous mindset to have. When we are complacent we lose the ability to handle life and its challenges. I enjoyed reading your 3 ways of changing your perspective and here are the thoughts that came to mind.

    Change your body

    You have a point. Our body will accompany us through the rest of our lives and it can be a source of resentment if it is not the way we want it to be. All this while I have changed my body by going to the gym and watching my diet. But it might be interesting to try out some of the less conspicuous options you have suggested. After all, we only live once and changing hair colour might be a great way to bring change into our lives.

    Change your view

    I love this point. Changing our view, whether it is rearranging our homes or room, or getting new stuff or even Feng Shui as you say is a great way to get out of our ruts. After all, our homes or room is where we get our rest from the world. It helps if it is conducive and a place we want to return to.

    Of course the other option of traveling is great too. A change in scenery, learning and seeing new things, gaining new experiences, all help is broadening our horizons and making us feel less complacent. This is a great way to restore our zest for life!

    Thank you for sharing this article with us! :)

    Irving the Vizier

  • http://www.asparkstarts.com Frank

    This was insightful. I agree that the best way to change your perspective is to change your atmosphere. Change the people you hang out with. Change the negative thought process that tries to consume you. Change your environment and your community. For these are by far some of the best ways to change your perspective.

  • http://www.ascendingdream.com Ascending Dream

    This is a great article!

    Complacency is definitely a major stumbling block on the path to happiness. We have to be willing to go all the way.

    I loved your points about change, too. Dealing with change when it comes is one thing, but actually taking action to CREATE change in our lives is often what we need most!

    Thanks for the wisdom,
    John Seymour

  • http://williamsisson.com William

    Janet,

    I love the way you stepped outside the box on this post. I Would like to read more of your posts.

    William

  • http://mental-freedom.com Chris Ginsburg

    Great article. I am constantly battling with complacency. I agree wholeheartedly that changing your surroundings can be a powerful way to change your perspective and break away from complacency.

  • Janet

    Thank you all so much for your positive feedback. I truly loved writing this and am grateful to Erin for posting it!

  • http://www.hiredmyway.com Wesw@hiredmyway.com

    Hi Janet,

    Great post! I especially agree with your first point about changing your body to change your perspective. I know that for me, exercise brings structure to my day, it lowers stress, and there are the health benefits that may not be immediately obvious but will pay off down the road. The view of the world I have now, as someone who exercises, is different from my old perspective. Blog readers who are looking to shake up their own routines and avoid complacency could benefit from Monday’s post on how to make your good intentions stick: http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/how-to-make-your-good-intentions-stick/ Thanks for the great info!

  • http://www.personal-success-factors.com Steve-Personal Success Factors

    I agree with some of the other comments: this is a very creative article! Sometimes, the point of view with relation to our bodies needs to be an internal one versus just an external one. One of the best things we can do is to get into shape and eat mindfully and nutritiously. Also, having grown up in another country (Amazon area in Brazil), I highly agree that it helps to get a viewpoint of what life is like for others in other parts of the world in order to gain an appreciation of what we have, but also to realize what they have (non-material other values such as family) that we don’t always have.

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  • daisy

    Thank u sweetie…awesome points..keep writing…xxxxxxx

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