The way you look at things

“The way you look at things is the most powerful force in shaping your life.” ― John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

If you are of the mindset that your circumstances shape your life more than any other factor, then it is easy to justify lapses in perspective and judgment as being relatively unimportant. When you take the approach suggested by Mr. O’Donohue, however, it becomes quite clear that how you handle what happens to you is much more important than the circumstances themselves.

The way you look at things is shaped by a great many factors, but chief amongst them is the state of your heart in the moment that perception occurs. If you’ve ever looked back on a fight or poorly handled conversation, for example, you might have been able to see ten other ways to handle the same situation, had your blood not been boiling in the heat of the moment. A tranquil heart always brings heightened perspective.

Your world will give you feedback if you stop to listen to it. Walling yourself off with bricks of denial, dismissing it because you didn’t like how it was packaged or dodging it with woeful excuses like “I’m doing the best I can” or “I’m trying so hard and now this” will only limit your perspective and further harden your heart. Sitting down and truly listening to what is being said with an open and vulnerable heart, however, is the first step to gaining greater perspective on the world you center.

Your circumstances are what they are. Complaining about them or feeling trapped by them is an approach available to everyone, but be aware that seeing things that way will likely shape your life in ways that you will come to regret. Conversely, being appreciative for them and meeting them with an open heart – no matter how limiting or frustrating they may feel at the moment – will open your heart and subsequently your mind to the possibilities inherent in them, exactly as they are.

They way you look at things is of paramount importance. If you let your life be shaped by possibilities and not limitations, you’ll soon find apertures you would never have seen otherwise. The world will be your oyster!

6 thoughts on “The way you look at things

  1. I find it beneficial to consider the matter of the hardened heart. In addition to your examples I also see how we view our seemingly material possessions as we were speaking of yesterday as something that shapes our lives and the world in general. The imbalances caused by attitudes of fear of loosing them and the greed to get more have put our world at risk. It is good to see how we look at things can serve in changing the shape of our individual and collective world.


  2. Ernest

    So true Gregg. We must always remember that their is a ripple effect that moves out from both our thoughts and our actions. Perhaps a good starting point in every circumstance is to look at what is right (instead of what is wrong, which seems to be a habit of many). By looking at what is right or possible as a starting point, we at least give each circumstance the opportunity to reveal the potential beauty of itself.


  3. David R

    When it seems that circumstance constrains, it can often be simply the fact that life is beginning to expand, and would soon open up the seeming limitations. This is the stage, unfortunately, where many tend to assume the stance of a victim, thereby dissipating the pressure and maintaining the very limitations that were being objected to, Given the state of the world, there are inevitably circumstances that are inappropriate or unfair from various perspectives, but the attitude of gratefulness, openness and patience opens so many vital doors!


  4. Carmen

    Why do we see the world and circumstances as we do? if one was to sincerely think about this, what would be the answer you would find? is it only the pass events of ones living that determines such viewings? And are these opinions our own, or only those given to us by others? It is true that one must know their own heart, but one must also understand the patterns within the mind. These patterns can become so fixed that they stop any new growth within us all. Is the world the same as it was yesterday for me and for you? What changes have we brought into existence and what was the price that came with each of them? When choices are given, we all must remind ourselves constantly what we shall be asked to pay. Paths are created daily, each resolution moving the possibility of future. The heart should always be for each of us our one and only guide.


  5. Lady Leo

    Our hearts are the lens with which we view everything. When we harden it with the attitude of dissatisfaction, I’d guess the majority of apertures we miss we never even had an inkling about; they never could form because there wasn’t an open heart available to receive it. These can become the wrinkle in the carpet of our lives. Our greatest advantage is to discover the fulcrum the heart is for our lives. Terrific post, thank you.


  6. Isabelle

    Living life and taking responsibility for how you approach people and circumstances is what really allows you to have the greatest experience and fulfillment!


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