With the uncertainty of current times comes a newfound perspective, or at least, it should. With uncertainty comes anxiety, stress, incessant worrying, and much, much more. Every day we are faced with decisions, and many times these decisions alter or even dictate our direction in life.
Decision making is a difficult battle. It’s one rooted in the unknown. In the right frame of mind, chief among all things unknown is perspective. It’s the mightiest tool in our arsenal when facing uncertainty.
Life brings with it much uncertainty. Just ask any of your friends about trying circumstances, and I am sure you will hear an earful. An earful of the uncertainty this life brings and with it much angst, sorrow, and sadness. For example, I didn’t have a picture-perfect childhood, but who does? I found myself in many quandaries of uncertainty.
Not knowing if, at the time, my circumstances would ever change is something I knew all too well. Sure, I had shelter and was fed, which I am beyond blessed and thankful for. Yet, that’s where the normalcy ended. From arguments, yelling, and downright craziness, my family and upbringing were far from commonplace. It’s in this very uncertainty, though, where I’d find my refuge.
If nothing else, my childhood molded me. It molded me into the man I am today. The constant struggle of growing up in a dysfunctional household brought much decision making. How do I react when my parents hit me? When do I run away forever and start a new life? Questions such as these popped into my mind and even led me to leave once.
I remember like it was yesterday. I must’ve been 12-years-old at the time, and I told my parents I’d had enough. All of the yelling and fighting was just too much for me; I could bear no more and was running away. I gathered some of my belongings, including my wallet, which had 100 dollars in it, and some essentials. I said my farewells, got on my bike, and rode outside of my neighborhood down the main road.
My parents, obviously, knew I wouldn’t last a day. I told myself I would live off of McDonald’s and find a place to stay. Less than a mile down the road, I quickly realized I was in over my head. What would I do after my money ran out? It would only last me so long. I was only 12, could I even get a job? I had no place to stay. I had nothing but a few pairs of clothes in a plastic bag. Needless to say, I turned around. My parents forgave me for “running away,” but I was still upset. Still upset at my circumstances and the way things were. At the time, I was thankful for what I did have to an extent, but still just a child.
It wasn’t until a few years later that my perspective around life, my parents, and more shifted. You see, I came to realize that some of the things I went through as a child were a direct result of what my parents had gone through as children. It never occurred to me when I was younger, primarily due to my age. But as I grew older, my perspective broadened. Did it justify any abusive or neglectful situations I went through? No, it didn’t.
But it allowed me to peek into the glasses of my parents’ vision, to walk in their shoes. To see what they saw, felt, and dealt with throughout their lives. It made me more conscious of their childhood’s and my understanding of them. Most importantly, it opened up my eyes to see outside of just myself.
Many times in this life, we believe the world revolves around us and only us. There is a societal me, me, me mindset that’s progressed throughout decades. This mindset, left untouched, is lethal. Without having perspective, how could I ever know why my parents did the things they did? How could I ever come to understand their mistakes? I couldn’t.
“Perspective is the key to grace, understanding, and forgiveness in this life.”
Without it, you stunt your growth. Perspective is the very seed that grows and gives meaning to life. It forces you to get out of the front seat and hop in the back, to look at things in a different light. To understand that people have different views of issues, and that most of their perspective comes from how they grew up and what they were exposed to. As humans, we are very much,
“A product of our environment.”
Perspective allowed me to view my parents from a different space. I took the time to get to know them. To talk to them about their childhoods and hardships they’d been through. Instead of looking at my own reflection in the mirror, I was starting to see theirs.
Questions I had for a very long time were starting to be answered. These conversations with my parents led me to be more understanding. They quenched my thirst for the why of outcomes and consequences. Ultimately, it brought much of my uncertainty full circle and painted my life’s picture more clearly.
A crucial part of me coming to know why my parents did some of the things they did growing up was my decision to have perspective. To seek out as much knowledge as possible until I could understand the situation to the best of my abilities. My refuge was, and still is, my perspective.
A more recent example of perspective-shifting would be with my girlfriend. For long since we have been together, she has been a prisoner of the moment. Often letting her present dealings and circumstances determine her outlook and feelings. She is very risk-averse and doesn’t like to change. To that extent, most people don’t. However, I continuously mention to her that life is about perspective. It rings true in my own life, as I recognize one mistake, regret, or problem does not and never will determine my purpose.
The hardest part of understanding perspective is recognizing your role in it by making decisions and coming to know that you have the power to make them. Consider sitting in stillness to acknowledge your place in all of this. My girlfriend is shifting her perspective by being thankful, acknowledging the good in her life, and showing gratitude. You see, you can choose and decide how you react to your circumstances.
There are various stages in our lives when “life happens.” Whether we have a falling out with a close friend, financial hardship, or family problems, there is no way to control every facet of life. The truth is that many times we have little to say about the circumstances we are put in. Sometimes, try as we might, life’s variables take over and leave us wondering where to go next.
There aren’t many certainties in this life. What can be certain, though, is your decision to have perspective. It’s always the right time to have perspective. It’s the key to your long term, sustained well-being. When faced with uncertainties this life presents, you can either fold or keep perspective, your choice. You have a decision to make; we all do.