The Art of Perspective

It’s been a long time since we visited the art of anything, let alone the art of perspective.
Timely, don’t you think? – since everybody has one.

For every viewpoint that stands out front and center in our thinking,
there’s typically a long line of ‘iron gate soldiers’ in behind contributing to that view.

Some are nicely polished and firmly planted. Sturdy.

Some resemble a dilapidated wooden fence in the backyard.
Filled with splinters that bite while the posts are rotting away.

In counselor speak, we call the first example the presence of good things. Life experiences when both basic and felt needs were met. Love and nurture was extended, received, absorbed. Key elements in how to grow a life that, when looked back upon, shine with a soft burnished glow in our memory. A perspective resulted; hopefully a healthy one.

As did a perspective with the second example, where there are two sides to the same coin: the absence of good things or the presence of bad things. (Technically, these are the descriptions of Type A & Type B trauma – with ‘a’ for absence of good’ and ‘b’ for presence of bad’ a simple way to remember). Some people have received more than their fair share of the second example. And a lot of us are a resulting mix of both.

When we read, listen to, or engage in conversation with people these days, it often doesn’t take long to discover where somebody seems to be coming from. The key word being seems … explored more in The Art of Presumption.

Hint: a perspective is a point of view is a perception is an angle is a side is an outlook. It is never the whole story.

In my life realm, that keeps being hammered home to me more frequently these days.

Since there are so many opportunities to open my mouth and insert foot, I have plenty of stories I could relate. However, I’ll choose just one example to highlight today’s point behind the art of perspective. Let me sketch the background –

I developed a particular perspective over years of growing up in my family of origin (as you did in yours). Raised with a then-cultural, traditional view of honor (we’re talking 50-60 years ago, folks) I carried that perspective with me into marriage, parenting, workplace, church, private and public relationships. Until one day on my knees cleaning our tub, perfectly poised for a perspective tweak. A freedom challenge of sorts.

As clearly as if it had been spoken out loud, Holy Spirit, with whom I enjoy an active, life-flow of relationship, informed my cognitive thoughts with a switched-on light bulb of understanding:

Part of honoring your parents is not remaining broken.

Let that sink in.

It’s been many years since the ‘honor your parents’ epiphany lit up my understanding and changed my perspective. Many other, varied perspective tweaks have occurred since then.

I found it initially and always comes down to this: whenever I choose to become willing and humble enough to be teachable and learn something that broadens my perspective, I find that God delivers.

He delivers more pieces of information or a point of view I did not have before, enlarging my vision…

He delivers more compassion, or whatever else is needed for the situation – grace, mercy, patience, caring…

He delivers a strong compulsion to say what needs to be said. Or to put a sock in it over ‘my perspective’…

I’m still learning. It’s worth it, though. Especially when someone’s honor is at stake. Yours or mine.

As for my relatable faux pas in waiting opportunities, I recently practiced a swift nip in the bud on one occasion – a strong compulsion that was appropriate for the circumstance; and stuffing a sock in it on the tempting precipice of another occasion. No reply was by far the wiser choice that time.

Both were opportunities to practice the type of honor God’s been teaching me to walk in – and neither were with my parents. They are principles that can be applied just as effectively in other relationships.

For those who think He’s a God of one perspective, I just point to all the unique individuals He created. All of whom are made in His image. He is certainly not short on thoughts or multi-faceted points of view.

There’s a perspective tweak waiting to happen. Anyone feel a need to scrub their tub? 🙂

If you’re up for some perspective-tweaking conversation or a freedom challenge, you can reach me here. You might also benefit from checking out the differences between coaching and counseling, both of which are available to you here at Shammahs Field LLCShammah Ministries. You are most welcome!

~ Nancy

Free Photo Credit: Pixabay iron gate

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