January 23, 2019
One Great Way To Overcome Your Negative Perspectives On Life
One definition of perspective is “a particular attitude towards or way of regarding something, i.e., a point of view.”
As a kid, I had a particular attitude about public speaking. My perspective started when I forgot some lines in a play and everyone laughed at me. It was not a pleasant experience. My perspective of public speaking involved thoughts (e.g., “I can’t do this.") and emotions (e.g., anxiety and sadness). My negative perspective led to avoidant behaviors and, ultimately, to missed opportunities. At the time, I did not have the psychological capacity nor the skill to see that play-related experience as a growth opportunity, which is and of itself a different, healthier perspective regarding the same difficult experience I had as a kid on that platform.
In fact, we as people are oriented towards negative perspectives. The culprit is often our tendency to survive rather than thrive. Pessimism protects us from risk, guards us from disappointment, and, at times, protects our wounded sense of self. But...these unhealthy perspectives can have lasting, negative impacts on our physical health, our soul, our relationships, and our spiritual health.
If you can transform pessimism to optimism, you begin to realize the power of a healthy perspective. Optimism is an important explanatory style that predicts our well-being. So what do I mean by “explanatory style?” Optimistic people do not ignore struggle or deny suffering, but they know how to find a silver lining in tough experiences. Optimists “explain” life circumstances from a balanced perspective, taking into account reality as well as opportunity. Optimism leads to improved physical health, healthier souls, healthier relationships, and a healthier spirit.
In every way, we transition from surviving to thriving when we intentionally cultivate healthy perspectives in life. So, to kick off this new year, I want to give you a gift. Attached is an exercise that I have adapted from a counseling tool that I use in my work with people. The tool (I call it a Biblically-Based Experience Record) helps you pay attention to a particular experience; acknowledge unhealthy thoughts and emotions; challenge the unhealthy thoughts and emotions with healthier perspectives; diminish or alleviate unwanted emotions; and foster the presence of positive emotions (e.g., hope). In the process, you cultivate a healthier perspective.
Download the Biblically-Based Experience
We, here at The Well Clinic, hope this is a blessing to you as you move from unhealthy perspectives to optimism and perspectives that help you thrive! Happy New Year!