Last spring my 6 year old broke her leg. She fell off the top bunk and her leg caught in the ladder. She broke both bones in her lower leg. She was in a cast up to her thigh for part of her recovery. Because of the cast she couldn’t sit in her regular seat in the van. Instead, she sat on the front bench where she could have extra room for the cast.
Anytime we went somewhere I was taken aback at her amazement of riding on that front bench. We were driving to places we had always gone- church, the store, the doctor’s office, and yet, she would talk nonstop about everything she was seeing out the front window. She noticed things she had never noticed before and she had a new appreciation of things she had seen before but was now seeing from a different view. Everything was new to her… even the old was new again. It was fascinating to watch.
As I thought about her experience I began to see why everything seemed so novel, so new. When she was in one of the back seats she had everyone in front of her blocking her view. She could only see out the side window. This limited her view. She only experienced our rides from that one perspective. Nothing ever changed. It was boring and redundant. However, when she moved up front suddenly her view was unobstructed. She could see things she never saw before and the things she had seen before she could see from a different vantage point. It made the ride new, exciting, and fun.
Our lives are like this too. Sometimes we become disconnected with what’s going on in our lives because perhaps our view never changes. Our view is obstructed and we are left with one window to look out of. We can get bored with the view, can’t we? We may get angry that we can’t see or experience more or we may simply disengage altogether because nothing changes anyway.
But what would happen if we changed our seats? How could our lives be different if we simply moved to where we could have a better view? What if we looked at the world and our lives from a different vantage point?
I think that we would experience a sense of awe and amazement like Madison did. The old would seem new and we would discover things we never saw or knew before. Our boredom, anger, resentment, or disconnection may dissolve and be replaced with excitement, happiness, delight, and a renewed connection to life and to one another.
So how can we change our seats to find this new vision and new happiness? Could it be as easy as simply changing our seat like Madison did? In some ways I think it can; in other ways maybe not so much.
Here are a few ideas to guide you in changing your perspective…
- Volunteer to help the poor. When we volunteer to help others we begin to see how blessed we truly are. It helps us to remember to be thankful for all that we have. Volunteering also helps us to feel good too. When we give ourselves to others we can’t help but get so much back in return- perhaps even more than what we have given!
- Try out a new hobby. Pick something that you might turn your nose up at or that maybe scares you a little. Get out of your comfort zone and do something that isn’t in your normal area of expertise. Even if you end up hating it you will have the memories of trying and new experiences to help change your outlook and attitude.
- Travel. Whether it’s to somewhere close, within the states, or somewhere abroad… travel! Learn about other cultures, experiences new foods, and interact with people who are different from you. See the countryside, experience the city, or travel to the seashore. If you are staying close by learn about the customs of those who surround you. In our modern day world you don’t have to go very far to meet someone who is different from you. Take advantage of the diverse cultures in your own area to broaden your horizons!
- Wake up in the morning and say “It’s going to be a great day!” Often what we say to ourselves becomes our reality. Those who talk positively to themselves about what they can do and what they will do are more likely to succeed than those who talk negatively to themselves. Set yourself up to have a good day. Don’t look for the negatives; instead look for the positive aspects. Not every day is going to be a great day but there will always be something good about the day. Find that “thing” and focus on it when everything else seems to be going badly.
- Make New Friends. Try out that new group you’ve seen advertised at your work or your church. Take a chance and accept an invitation out to dinner or a girls/guy’s night out. Maybe you have seen someone at work, at school, in the neighborhood, or at church that seems to be lonely. Strike up a conversation with him/her. Put yourself out there and let others in to your life.
- Look for a new job. Hate your job? Start looking for a new one! We all know that money is necessary in life, but so is happiness. If your job is sucking the life and the joy out of you, look for a new job. You shouldn’t have to work for people who abuse you or don’t appreciate you. You are worth more than that! Of course, sometimes finding a new job is easier said than done. If this isn’t possible right now, make a list of the positive aspects of your job and focus on those when the days are difficult.
- Forgive others. Forgiveness isn’t saying that what others did to you was ok, but it is the beginning of healing for you. It is releasing the hold they have over you so that you can move forward with your life. Holding onto grudges or past hurts can color our view and make it difficult for us to see the beauty and the joy of life. Forgive others so that you can move on and away from those who once held you captive in one way or another. Once you can move forward your view will be vastly different.
- Learn something new. If possible take a course in something you are interested in. Or, take a course in something you know nothing about. Learn a new language. Learn a new skill. Take courses online, at your local college, or at your local rec center. Whatever you do, keep learning! When we continue learning we open our minds and our hearts to understand others in ways we could never imagine. Learning allows us continue to grow in so many ways.
- Pray. As simple as it sounds, praying is one of the best ways to change our perspective. When we unite our will to God’s will and we pray with an open heart, God will guide us to become the people he wishes us to be. He will open new avenues for us and will introduce us to the people he knows will help us to become the best versions of ourselves. When we are confused or lost, prayer can help us find the right path. When we can’t see through the darkness, prayer can be the light that shows us the way. Prayer can help us see the world and each other through God’s eyes. What a beautiful new perspective that can be!
Changing our perspective is up to us. If we wish to have a different outlook on life, we can. However, it does require action on our part. We must change our seat to change our lives. We have to move forward so that our view is not only different but wider as well. It also means we have to open our eyes and our hearts to that new view. We have to take it in with the curiosity and amazement of a six year old.
We are beginning a new year… how will you change your perspective this year? How will you change your life?