One sleepless night my wife and I struggled to try to understand how to help our eight-month-old daughter have a good night’s rest. Because she has been unable to settle into a nighttime routine, the sleep deprivation has worn on our family. With no ability to control the sleeping habits of an infant and the seemingly unending pressure of life, it is easy to get dragged down by the reality of our situation. It takes little effort to begin to feel alone and sorry for ourselves.
In the midst of my own struggles, I awoke to the news of a mass shooting that occurred in Las Vegas. Then I received news this week that a good friend’s son was diagnosed with leukemia, another friend’s mother passed away, and yet another acquaintance’s father passed away. Suddenly, the issues of life that I was facing seemed less significant. My perspective has been changed.
Life altering events have a way of shifting our focus. They interrupt the daily hum-drum of life and cause us to take stock of what is really important. As I processed the events of this past week, I tried to dig a little deeper and think of ways to shift my own perspective. Here are three thoughts I came up with:
- Someone else’s situation is almost assuredly worse than my own. Whatever predicament I find myself in, I can probably find another situation somewhere that is as bad or worse. Devastating hurricanes, mass murder, and large-scale human suffering are just a few of the events whose details are known around the world today. When we focus on the needs of others, it puts our minds in a different position. The fixation of our own mind on our issues is released and we gain empathy for the plight of others.
- Express thankfulness. During the sleepless night I referenced above, my mind wandered to various thoughts. In a moment of clarity, I was inspired to begin naming people and situations for which I am thankful. This simple act began to alter my mood, and I felt better as I thought of these things that are close to my heart.
- Share the struggle with a friend who can be supportive. Doing so combats the thoughts of facing the circumstances alone. After receiving a medical diagnosis for one of our children this summer, I shared it with several friends from church. Two people responded indicating that they suffered from the same diagnosis. It immediately helped me to know that our family would have support in dealing with the situation.
Anytime I get focused on myself and my own problems, I risk becoming too self-absorbed. I need these reminders to shift my perspective so that I can remain a healthy member of the community. If you are facing difficulties of your own, I pray that you would be encouraged to consider a fresh look at the situation using the thoughts above.
Question: What are some other ways you have found to shift your perspective? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
Sign up for updates and never miss a weekly post!