“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!