When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change

It’s Blogapalooza here at ChicagoNow. It falls during my #30daysofgratitude series. Guess what? I’m grateful for Blogapalooza and the fabulous support of the ChicagoNow community.

Blogapalooza is a monthly writing challenge – we are given a topic and have one hour to write and publish a post. Here’s the challenge tonight: “Share your favorite quote (or quotes) — from a philosopher, author, comedian, politician, friend, family member, movie, whoever — and write in detail about why it resonates and has meaning for you.”

OH, you know me! I love me some quotes. While you think I may choose a gratitude quote this month, I’m going off the beaten path a bit. “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” This quote, by Wayne Dyer, has opened my eyes to a new way of living.

The older I get the more I am certain perspective is everything. The way we see our life; from packing our kid’s lunches to the terror attacks in Paris- is our choice. Sometimes life sucks. Sometimes life sucks and it seems like it will never change. But what if, in those moments of pure suckitiude, if only for a second, we choose to change our perspective?

My daughter texts me saying she forgot to pay for daily parking and ‘Mom is there anyway you can swing by my parking spot and give me the spot number so I can pay for it online…’ My first reaction was Seriously? Girl, please. I’m already running late for work. how am I supposed to do this too? (blood pressure rising, sweat forming at brow.)

I then think ‘If you wouldn’t be so goddam interested in that radio and hurried by your friends and so teenage self absorbed this wouldn’t happen and now I’m going to be late for work and who the heck do I look like? The mom?’ By this time, I’ve applied my mascara wrong and my shoes are on backwards.

How about I change my perspective here?  My daughter texts me saying she forgot to pay for daily parking and ‘Mom is there anyway you can swing by my parking spot and give me the spot number so I can pay for it online…’ My first reaction is ‘Breathe. Inhale. Exhale. Sigh. What is she thinking about? She is so distracted when she gets to the parking lot because she’s hoping all her friends have arrived, she’s checking her hair, making sure she has what she needs…”

Then I think, well, if she’s responsible enough to drive to school she has to learn to be responsible to pay for parking every day. So I text back “If I have time, I will drive by, otherwise, you’ll have to pay for the ticket.” I remain calm. I realize she needs to learn a lesson. I don’t over react and get myself in a tizzy and get her even more angry with herself while she’s at school. It doesn’t teach a lesson, it doesn’t do anything but create more stress for her and unnecessary stress for me.

What about with big issues? Health issues? Marriage issues? We can still change our perspective, without ignoring what is. We can accept the shit that’s happening. Truly feel it, lean into it. Say, “I am scared. I am angry. This isn’t fair. I am so fucking sad.”

We can feel and we can then choose to feel while still looking for a different perspective. This is probably one of the most challenging things to do. I’m still working on it.  I’ll always work on it. It’s easy to forgive the barista when she gets my drink wrong. It’s a busy morning and I can ask for another drink. It’s easy to allow the guy riding too close in the car behind me to honk his horn because, really, I don’t know what’s going on in his world and I can pull over and just let it go.

It’s tough to change perspective though, when you get a bad medical report. We can’t change the facts. We can’t change the outcome. But we can change how we react. We can be sad, devastated and angry. We can choose not to blame. We can choose to be kind over being right. We can choose love over fear. We can also choose to have faith we will rise again. We may not know how or when, but we can believe, we can choose to look at life from a different angle and choose hope.

I’m grateful for the ability to change my perspective. It usually isn’t easy, but it’s always a great option.

I’m delighted #blogapalooza fell during #30daysofgratitude. What is your favorite quote? Does it have to do with gratitude? I can’t wait to hear about it.

Click here to read all the fantastic #blogapalooza posts from tonight.

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