I spent a good portion of my life trying to create the “perfect life”. I wanted the perfect wedding, the perfect home, the perfect husband and children. In my perspective, this was all inclusive of the house in a safe neighborhood, the husband who gets home from work in time for dinner, and the children who are involved in everything and get straight “A”’s. Little or no suffering. It was a circus act trying to keep all the plates spinning and eventually everything fell apart anyways.
Every now and then, I have to take a moment to think about all the good things I have to be thankful for. When I do, my perspective immediately shifts to all the things I am grateful for and I focus less on trying to make everything perfect.
Today, I can be thankful for my husband who works hard to provide for us. I can be grateful for the times we get to eat dinner and play a board game together. I am thankful for the times in between my husband’s busy schedule, that he stops to kiss me and puts our daughter to bed.
I used to focus more on the few times he missed dinner or was running late from the office. I wanted every night to be family night. My focus was always on the little things that weren’t right instead of all the things I had to be thankful for. We had the opportunity to lose everything including each other through marital separation, so when we came back together, there were a lot of things that were no longer taken for granted. Blessings became easier to see.
Sometimes, perspective changes because life throws us into circumstances different than what we are comfortable with and we have no choice but to look at things from a different view point. However, we can also choose to consider other’s perspectives by simply taking a minute to stand in the other person’s shoes.
We did a simple exercise during the camp weekend where my husband and I were standing with our backs to each other. We were asked to describe what we saw. We both could only see what was in front of us. I had to physically turn all the way around and let go of the way I saw things to see what he saw.
I believe the goal of looking at how others see things is not to change the way we see things, although that could happen. I believe the goal of this exercise is to lead us to understanding, which leads to compassion, which ultimately leads us closer to each other instead of farther away.
By Jen Morgan