October 2017

When You Need Some Perspective

Indulge me for a quick moment. What I’m about to share with you is what I’ve been telling myself and a few others for several weeks now, and it occurs to me that: A) I’m going to need to remind myself again sooner than later, and B) you might need this reminder too – today or tomorrow or someday.

So, it goes like this: Sometimes you hear ALL. THE. THINGS. about why life is rotten or how something has not gone the way it should. Or one negative snowballs into a litany of life unraveling. And you not only hear it, but you feel all. the. emotions. that are projected alongside the facts.

What do you do with those emotions? How do you best serve the hurting person in situations like that? {Even if that hurting person is you?}

FIRST: Appreciate and validate that someone feels the way they do. They are allowed to feel how they feel. You may or may not understand it, you may or may not agree with the emotional response that is accompanying ALL THE THINGS, but you CAN recognize those emotions. “I hear you saying you’re upset…” or “I can tell you feel strongly about this…”

More often than not, if someone is upset, or looking for help, they need to know they are heard. Knowing your voice is heard helps quiet the lie that you’re all alone. If someone hears you, you’re not alone.

SECOND: Don’t take on someone else’s emotions. The feelings that accompany ALL. THE. THINGS. are not your fault or yours to fix. The most successful mentors, leaders, or friends, are those who can see someone hurting and validate how they feel without getting caught up in the same emotional turmoil.

THIRD: Offer a hand, light the way out. Someone overwhelmed by the emotions that accompany ALL. THE. THINGS. feels stuck. Chances are, they know they’re sitting in muck, they want out of the muck, but the emotions make the muck feel a bit like quicksand, and getting out seems impossible.

Too often we get stuck in the muck when we’re focused on the why or the how or who’s at fault. You don’t have to know those answers, or find them. All you need to do is to offer a hand out of the muck. Be the light that shows up in the darkness and proves there’s still light up ahead. Offer to light the way to the resources that can change their situation.

You don’t have to change the situation to shift the perspective.

Nothing heals a hurting heart more than a kind word and an encouragement for the road ahead.

Friends, this #MondayMoment is brought to you by 4.27 miles around a lake with a good friend. Ever notice how good people and good conversation changes the atmosphere? More often than not, whenever I find myself in a funk, some aspect of my life doesn’t reflect what I claim to believe.

A few years ago I started looking at my life and examining the gap between what I believe and what I live. The primary difference between LIVING WHAT I BELIEVE and BELIEVING WHAT I LIVE is this:

What orients my perspective?

Believing what I live places the burden of proof on the life around me. Believing what I live elevates how I feel and I allow those emotions to rule my thoughts and govern my behavior. If I’m not careful, frequently catering to how I feel absolves me of my own role in bringing about the change I crave.

Here’s a few examples:

  • In my loneliness, I saw only the ways I had been excluded. I licked my wounds and blamed my sense of isolation on those who had not invited me into their community.
  • In my disappointment, I clung tightly to what I did not have, refusing to appreciate what I had received. I catalogued my lack rather than count one thousand gifts.
  • In my fear, the worst-case scenarios plagued my thoughts and I resigned myself to defeat in battles I’d never been asked to wage.

Believing what I live is an exhausting way to live.

I’m tired of being tired. {Maybe you are too?}

I needed a perspective shift and it began with a subtle shift of words that reorients my life.   I started by defining what I believe and anchoring the life I live in those truths.

Living what I believe becomes the compass for the uncertain road ahead. Twists and turns are inevitable and the detours are certain. Knowing what I believe provides direction when life doesn’t go the way I want or expect.

When I choose to live what I believe, I recognize my unique role in the change I wish to see in my life and the life around me.

  • Exhausted? Take a nap. #theysaidnapwhenbabynaps #stillcountsforallages
  • Feeling out of shape? Start walking. #movingequalswinning
  • Missing friendship? Build community. #sundaysuppers
  • Overwhelmed by the calendar or to do list? Carve out some whitespace, pick your favorite hashtag: #justsaynojanuary #forgetitfebruary #maybenotmarch #absolutelycantapril #mustnotmay #justcantjune #justnotyetjuly #aintgottimeaugust #sorryitsseptember #ohnooctober #nopenovember #donotaskmedecember

Friends, there’s a lot of legitimate emotions in our lives today, and I think too often we get hung up on whether those feelings are right or wrong. The better discussion is how we change the atmosphere.

Change starts in the space where we hear a hurting friend and let them know we’re listening and they are not alone.

Change begins not when we change the situation, but when we shift our perspective.

Change starts when we close the gap between what we believe and what we’re living.

#livewhatyoubelieve