Not What I Thought

Life has a way of changing your perspective - if you let it. It can be too easy sometimes to stubbornly cling to our current perspectives. But I have found we miss out on opportunities to learn, grow and gain empathy for others when we will allow life to help us adjust our perspectives. The interesting thing about our own personal perspectives is that they are always valid but not always right. Meaning the perspective we have is an accumulation of our experiences, beliefs, interactions, etc. so they way we view something is valid - but it isn't always right meaning it isn't the only way to look at things or is THE one way something happened.

Others perceptions are rarely the same as our own. Too often we let ourselves feel though that when someone's perspective is different it somehow either lessens the value of our perception or puts them in competition for whose perception is "right." The great thing about perception is that I can come to an understanding of someone's perspective, but not agree with it. But I really can only come to that understanding if I seek to understand and learn how they came to that perspective. Which means I need to listen, ask question and have a desire to understand and not feel threatened when their perspective is different than mine.

So here are a couple things to maybe give a little thought to that I've been taught about perspective lately.

#1 - Other people are rarely as concerned or aware of you and what you are doing as you think or as you are of yourself :) This has applied to me a lot recently when I make mistakes. I am the Sacrament Meeting chorister for my ward. So I stand in front of the whole ward each Sunday for a little bit of time and wave my arm around. I am by no means even close to professional when it comes to leading music. I read and understand music, rhythm, etc. but that doesn't translate to always leading well. It is interesting though that people don't even notice when I mess up - part of this is because a lot of people never look at the chorister. But it also has to do with the fact they don't usually even notice, even when looking at me. And I've realized that smiling about it and laughing makes it so much better and so even if someone mentions it to me, I can just laugh about it because I already have.

This applies to mistakes in general in life. When we can laugh kindly at ourselves and recognize our own fallibility and mortality, it makes life a lot happier. And while my perspective may be that everyone noticed and is judging me, that is rarely the case.

#2 - Sometimes we get so stuck in what is "supposed" to make us happy we forget to notice or even seek for things that REALLY contribute to us feeling joy and happiness. I think of President Uchtdorf's talk about things that matter most and how a lot of the time those things are small things - things we often overlook. I have a friend that almost every time she sees flowers, she will stop and smell them. When I went to San Diego, we saw lots of flowers and without even really thinking about it stopped to smell a lot of them. Many weren't particularly fragrant but there is something happy in just doing it. It brings a smile to my face every time. While on vacation, we went to all the "popular" spots and after the trip I realized the parts of the trip I loved the most had nothing to do with visiting those places.

I loved when we hiked down a cliff to the beach at sunset and while I complained that I was going to die while doing it, I was grateful my friend was patient and didn't get mad at me for my complaining and just encourage me as I made my way down. And it was so worth it when we got to the bottom and just walked around in the sand and ocean and looked at the beauty surrounding us.

Another "small moment" is when we were riding in our bikes and passed a house that looked like the White Rabbit's house from Alice in Wonderland. We stopped and took a picture and it just made me smile and laugh.

Or when I finally saw the San Diego temple in person. I've always loved how that temple looked and it was just great to see it in person and just walk around and appreciate the beauty. It also made me grateful and felt joy as I thought about how much I've come to love the Provo Temple including how it looks because I attend there the most often and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

#3 - Giving people the benefit of the doubt makes everything better for yourself and helps you feel more joy. Maybe most of you don't have such a problem with this like I do. But I have to work on it constantly. For whatever reason, I often question people's motives and don't usually think they could be positive. But I've worked really hard on this lately and it makes such a different in my perspective of other people but also of myself. It is quite amazing.

#4 - Don't be afraid to hear and look at other people's perspectives. Learn where they have come from and how they got to where they are. You will learn about them and yourself! And I promise it will help you understand them better.

Lastly here are just a few of my favorite pictures from San Diego!


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