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Published on March 19, 2020

How to Develop Different Perspectives on Life

How to Develop Different Perspectives on Life

You may have come across the picture that has a number drawn on the floor with two people standing on either side of the number. One person sees a 6, and the other sees a 9. They are both right, yet they are wrong in the eyes of the other person because of their particular perspective on life.

They could either stay there arguing and holding on to their idea of what the number is, or they could around and see the difference in their thoughts. This is perspective.

The world would be a better place if people understood a perspective on life can be molded, changed, or explained. A lot of quarrels, battles, and wars could have been avoided if people saw things from another person’s perspective.

We would raise better, empathetic, and more responsible adults if we taught kids what perspective was, the importance of perspective, and why we may need to alter a given perspective on life when faced with new information.

Before you start thinking of how you can start seeing things from the perspective of another person, you might want to start by understanding the fundamentals of perspective. You need to first know what a life perspective is.[1]

What Is a Life Perspective?

Just like the example given above with the 6 and 9, your life perspective is the way you see things. Life perspective is the way people see life, including the way they approach life and all there is in their personal experience.

In this life, few things are absolutely right or wrong. What we usually have are two different perspectives on one thing. We have a person saying something is bad and should not be done, and then we have another person saying that “bad” is a strong word to use for the same thing.

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Recently, a question hit social media: “Can you marry or go into a relationship with your best friend’s spouse if your best friend is dead?”

As usual, different answers hit the net, and while some thought it was morally wrong based on a truckload of sentiments, others felt there was absolutely no big deal to it. This was based on the fact that the person who would probably have an issue with this was dead, and there were no reports of the two people who now want to go into a relationship seeing each other before the death of the ex-spouse.

As a neutral person who has not picked a side yet, you can see that both sides of this argument have concrete reasons to support their answers. They have different choices, and all of the choices are valid.

While one set sees life from the perspective of “anything goes as long as it makes you happy,” another set sees life as “there are boundaries you should not cross.”

You see now that there are two valid perspectives here. Both of them are right in their choices, and saying one is wrong is an unsupportable stance.

There are more than 7 billion people in the world seeing things a lot differently compared to the next person. This complicates life because, instead of seeing the similarities we share, we often focus on what is different, which leads to disagreements and fights. Simply making a switch and attempting to see from a different perspective could help many of these problems.

How Important Is Your Perspective on Life?

Your perspective on life determines how you relate to people, how you handle relationships and troubles, and how you live day-to-day. You may not realize how important your perspective on life is because we often feel that as long as other people’s opinions and decisions do not affect us, ours should not affect other people.

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However, the fact is that our perspective on life does affect the people around us.

Going back to the 6 and 9 analogy we began with, what we also have are two different scenarios that can play out here.

We can end up having two adults who refuse to agree to disagree and separate after a heated argument, destroying the chances of building a relationship.

We can also end up having two adults who swapped positions and perspectives and looked through each other’s eyes for a minute to see that this could either be a 6 or a 9, depending on where they stood. This could graduate into handshakes, drinks later, and the start of a friendship. And all they had to do was view things from a different perspective.

Your perspective on life can either make or mar a relationship.

If you have a bad or negative perspective on life, it affects everything and everyone around you negatively. You find yourself constantly being angry and not being able to accept other people’s perspectives.

Other times you find yourself complaining and stressing over things that simply require a small shift in your perspective.

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Having a good perspective on life gives you an advantage. First of all, you are a lot more open to seeing from other people’s perspective, thus making it easy for you to create meaningful relationships.

It also gives you a lot more reasons to be grateful and happy. If you live a life where you are constantly showing gratitude and being happy, then you have lived a fulfilled life.

How to Change Your Perspective on Life

Changing your perspective is an active decision you have to make intentionally. First, you have to come to terms with the fact that your current perspective on life is not absolute and can be changed. Then, you have to understand the importance of having a different perspective from the one you already have.

Once you have dealt with these, here are some active steps you can take to changing your perspective on life.

1. Stop Complaining

Whatever the issue is, whenever you feel like complaining, fold your thumb, bite your tongue, do something and make sure it stops you from letting out that complaint. When you listen and try to understand more than you complain, you are beginning to see things from diverse perspectives.

2. Consciously Seek Happiness

When you are happier, you will see things more positively and seek out more things that make you happy. However, when you are constantly brooding and thinking negatively, your perspective will never change, and soon all that negativity will begin to spread around you like wildfire.

3. Reduce the Social Media Vitriol

Oftentimes on social media, people will post one thing and followers will take on a different perspective regarding its meaning.

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When different phrases in a post hit social media, some people do not understand them, which can increase online conflicts.

Responding to critical or negative posts with a sense of maturity and lightheartedness will lessen any vitriol spills and keeps anyone from receiving blocks.

If you feel like you may need some time away from social media to practice this, this article may help.

When you are on social media, always seek the other angle of the person disagreeing with you. Your opinion is not alpha, it is just an opinion and can change.

The beautiful thing about perspective is that it is subject to change. It is not static, and the decision to alter it rests on you.

Final Thoughts

The moment your perspective on life comes to play, always remember that it is not the alpha perspective and that the other person’s perspective matters as well.

Your perspective on life can also improve, and trying to get into someone else’s shoes might show you the way to betting your thoughts and your attitude.

More Tips on Perspective

Featured photo credit: Elijah Hiett via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Association for Talent Development: Perspective Shift: The Power to Change Your Mind

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Jacqueline T. Hill

Writing, Blogging, and Educating To Guide Others Into Happiness

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Last Updated on May 22, 2020

Think Positive Mantras Help a Lot? Try Value Affirmation Instead

Think Positive Mantras Help a Lot? Try Value Affirmation Instead

Positive thinking is one of the most touted philosophies in the world. The advantages of positive mantras have been presented by authors and motivational speakers around the world. However, value affirmation may be more effective.

Do these techniques really work? Why would repeating a simple, positive phrase change the way you think and feel? Those are the questions we’re going to dive in to.

Decoding Positive Thinking

Positive thinking[1] is about developing our mindset in such a way that we expect good and favorable outcomes from events in our life. In other words, it’s the process of transferring our energy into reality by thinking optimistic thoughts.

This doesn’t mean we are unrealistic about the possibilities. Positive thinking is about recognizing all of the possible outcomes but choosing to focus on those that are positive and offer improvements to our lives.

Does Positive Thinking Work?

While many people believe that positive thinking leads you to the path of happiness, there are others who think otherwise. Both sides have put forward many compelling reasons supporting their views. While the argument may never end, the detractors have many reasons to believe that positive thinking, in isolation, doesn’t do much for our mental health. Here are some ways positive mantras can backfire.

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How Positive Mantras Can Do Harm

While positive mantras can be a good addition to a routine when understood, there are some downsides that you should be aware of.

1. Suppression of Negative Emotions

If we use positive mantras [2] too frequently, it might work for a shorter period, but in the long run, it may cause adverse consequences. Why?

When we use a positive mantra, it tends to suppress our negative emotions. If it continues for an extended time and becomes a habit, then we might be overwhelmed by even more negative feelings at times when the results are not as expected, as there should be a balance between positive emotions and negative emotions in life. The balance of positive and negative feelings in life is what helps us to accept challenges and overcome them.

2. Actions Speak Louder Than Mantras

Additionally, uttering positive mantras in our life might work sometimes, and also, to channel the energy into reality, utter faith and absolute belief are required. However, the mantras most definitely prove themselves useless if we just keep chanting positive mantras but fail to put into action the message that the mantra is supposed to convey.

As a consequence, we might be caught off guard by negative vibes and feel highly frustrated because our mind will immediately conjure up many negative thoughts.

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For instance, if you believe that a perfect body is the one with well-toned abs and biceps, and you keep on insisting that you have a perfect body, then your mind will start searching for the so-called negatives in your body. You will be insecure about the little bit of belly protruding out, your waistline, and even your arms. This will make you more insecure about your body and will depress you even more.

3. Production of Delusional Thinking

A fact is a fact; it won’t change irrespective of the situations and time and won’t change even when you utter positive mantras your whole life. For example, if you are a little short on money, you aren’t going to miraculously solve your financial problems just because you utter positive mantras a million times. It will be much better if you accept the reality and work towards dealing with it.

For example, if you have loan problems, you should work on personal budgeting instead of living with a false sense of security. This will make you happier in the long run.

Let’s take another scenario as an example. You have an exam tomorrow, and you are not prepared well. You’re time would be better spent studying the information you’re lacking rather than repeating a positive mantra to convince yourself that you will be fine. Ultimately, the positive thinking will help you feel more confident on the answers you already know, but it won’t conjure up information you didn’t study for. Conjuring fantasies to wrap up reality is no way to answer any question in the real world.

Hard work is key to success in our life. If you have worked hard, then despite all the negative thoughts that might surround your head instinctively, you are going to perform better. However, if you haven’t put in enough work, then no matter how many times you say that you are going to be successful, it won’t be enough.

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4. Increase Low Self-Esteem

A study has also shown that positive thinking works well if you have very high self-esteem. However, if you have low self-esteem and utter positive mantras, it will only strengthen your negative mindset when there are met by set-backs[3]. This will result in many negative feelings.

For example, if a good football player believes that he is going to be the best, then it will act as a buffer to help him perform to his potential. However, if a player with low self-esteem thinks that he is going to be the best player in the world, he will get discouraged when he realizes he isn’t doing as well as he hoped.

Alternative to Positive Mantras

If you are a believer in positive mantras, and you are beginning to doubt its functionality, what will you do? Don’t fret, because there is another theory called value affirmation that might help you.

What is Value Affirmation?

First of all, values are the beliefs which we think are desirable and ideal. Our values are dynamic as they are changing and reshaping as we experience new things in our life. Therefore, it is necessary that we update our values constantly so our objective in life resembles the values we believe in.

If we are aware of our values, it will help to maintain balance in our life. If there is an imbalance between our value and aim, it will undermine our motivation to do things. Hence, value affirmation is recognizing and defining the values we believe in rather than repeatedly saying positive sentences that may or may not hold significance for us.

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Do Value Affirmations Work?

In a recent survey[4], students in one of the universities were chosen randomly to write about their values. Those students who were selected performed very nicely in their college years in comparison to those students who had not taken part. This was repeated again with the same success in the Hispanic community and African-American community.

Therefore, the next time you find yourself chanting mantras to assure you that everything is going to be fine, stop. Instead, try to recognize your deeply rooted values and check whether your values are in balance with your actions and goals.

The Bottom Line

Positive mantras can be a great addition to a regular meditation practice or a good technique to use if you are secure in your self confidence and direction in life. However, if you’re feeling lost or having trouble tracking down your motivation, value affirmations may do more to help you as they’ll force you to take a good look at what really matters in your life.

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Featured photo credit: Kazi Mizan via unsplash.com

Reference

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