Today I’m going to jump right in with the daily challenge.
The Self Love Daily Challenge #003: Change your Perspective, Change your World.
I was thinking about something the other day. Since experiencing hitting rock bottom, my way have thinking has changed over time. Most people would find this in common. It’s typical that when we experience some sort of tragedy in our lives, after said tragedy we tend to live life more fully because we realize how fragile it truly is and how much we often take for granted on a daily basis. And a lot of people will continue to live in this changed way, but a lot of people will go back to their old ways and patterns and resort back to living the way they did before.
For me, I used to live in a sense where I thought everything around me would always be there. I would always have money. I would always have a home. I would always have my health. So I took it for granted. I started to complain. “I wish I made more money so I could buy these $250 shoes” “I wish our home didn’t look so boring, we really need a new couch and table.” “I don’t need to rest, I want to keep pushing myself so I can get MORE done.” Sound familiar? We complain about so much that we don’t even realize it sometimes. But what happens when you begin to lose these thing that we were so sure about having forever. What happens when you lose your job? What happens when you lose your home? What happens when you lose your health? You wind up in a pretty low place. You feel like nothing. Your worth is gone.
But what if instead of looking at how much we lost and what misery we are now in, we changed our perspective? With a simple change of perspective, our whole world of thinking can be changed. It can bring us from feeling completely worthless to helping us find wholeness in a better way.
I remember the first few weeks after my nervous breakdown last August, I felt so depressed because I had nothing. I had no home. No income. And although I was alive, my mental health was hanging by a string. You could imagine that my thoughts were filled with guilt and shame because of all the mistakes I had made to get to that point. And on top of that, the thoughts that followed soon after were ones of anxiety and worry over how I was ever going to rebuild and overcome once again. I was pretty hopeless, especially because I did not feel mentally strong enough to even make any wise decisions towards recovering from this disaster.
But after some time, I decided it was time to get well. I started practicing yoga, which not only helped me to rebuild my body, but also my mind into a healthier state of being. I began to study deeper into yoga practices and meditation and realized a common theme: that most often we create our own realities by the thoughts we form in our minds. If we create a perspective of happiness and positivity, we see the world as a place full of inspiration and hope. If we create a perspective of negativity and toxic thoughts, then we see the world as a place of constant threat and hopelessness.
I realized that the only way to recover was to not jump right back into trying to “solve” my problems and make quick decisions to get me back on my feet (only to crash again in the near future), but to start deeper and change my perspective, or how I viewed life, and with that change, my thoughts would also begin to become healthier.
I began viewing life with an attitude of gratitude. Changing my perspective to believing that everything was a gift from God – from each breath, each heartbeat, to each morning I woke up. Instead of believing that I was entitled, which would lead to disappointment and complaints, I began to view that everything was a privilege and it lead to greater and more lasting joy.
I changed my perspective on my loss. Instead of viewing that I was in financial ruin, I saw that instead it was an opportunity to learn how to make wiser choices in handling my money and even learn the value of money, something which I did not value before. I realized that the money I spent before on materialistic things were mostly a waste because I was only buying them to impress other people and to compete with the Jones’ per se. I didn’t value the things I owned. I saw them as a tool to gain status and worth. I sought my identity through them and once they became old or outdated, I felt old and outdated and needed to replace them with something brand new and worthy. Today I have changed my perspective on the things I buy. I ask myself questions like “Do I really need the item?” “Am I buying it because I want to gain some sort of power, identity, or worth?” “Is this an item I will truly value?” “Is this an item that will bring more good than harm?” “Am I buying it to make myself feel happy or to gain the approval of someone else?” If I feel that I am buying something with good intentions, then I will buy the item.
I change my perspective on the loss of my home. At first this was very difficult, because I placed so much of my identity in my home. I believed that if I had a home then I was a “somebody.” But then I realized that having a home was not what gave you your identity. And that in reality, your home does not have to be a single place. You can create a home wherever, you simply have to change your perspective and see it as not being a physical place but rather somewhere you can create a sense of belonging and family. For the following months after leaving our home, we had no real place to go. We lived with my mom, and then with his dad, and then with some friends. I was literally living out of a suitcase, wearing the same few pairs of clothes over and over again. Carrying around a plastic bag filled with hotel-sized shampoos and toothpaste so that I didn’t have to carry around giant products with me each time we moved. It was hard to live that way, especially after being used to having the comforts of your own place. But over time I let go of the battle with my ego, and realized that I was grateful to even have any where to stay. That our friends and family were opening up their homes to us in our great time of need. And that alone felt like home, even though it wasn’t a permanent physical place that I could call my own, it FELT like somewhere I belonged because of the people I was surrounded with who gave me comfort and love. We still don’t have our own place yet (working on it!) but we are more permanently settled now in a relative’s house.
And lastly, the most important perspective change was with my health. In the beginning, I felt very sick, and whether you feel sick mentally or physically, in reality it’s all the same. You don’t feel well. You don’t feel like you are in a good place. I was very scared and very fragile believing that I could never recover from such a breakdown. But I changed my perspective. Instead of believing that I was hopeless and could not recover, I believed that I wanted to get well and that I would be well if I worked hard at it. I took the opportunity as a chance to grow within myself, to dive deeper in my own consciousness and change a load of unhealthy thought patterns that I’ve lived with for years. And slowly within a few months of actively making an effort towards change, I feel stronger and healthier mentally and even physically. I am breaking the cycles of negative thought patterns. I am conquering fears I thought I never would. I am thinking with a heart of gratitude rather than entitlement. I am becoming more giving in nature. I am changing my perspective with my daily life, believing in the best rather than the worst. Believing that things could always work out for good even though at first they may seem like tragedy.
It doesn’t happen overnight, but if you start small, you will begin to see big change over time. I truly believe that if you change your perspective, the world around you will also become brighter.