Seeing Difficult Situations Differently
« If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. », Wayne Dyer
Too often, we suffer needlessly because we cling to a certain way of seeing things. You will find below questions aiming to change your perception of issues:
Do I have an incomplete picture of reality?
Many situations are seen as critical because we have blinders on. That is to say, we see only a part of reality. The following questions are intended to shed light on this phenomenon:
– Are there any angles to this issue that I ignore, voluntarily or not?
– Are there any aspects of the issue that would make it less painful?
– Have I made the effort to gather all relevant information ?
Am I worrying about the wrong thing?
Sometimes we are at ease with something that is very risky. And at the same time, we worry about something that is objectively much less risky, just because we are emotionally involved. For example, you worry about not getting a raise, but you do not worry that your health may be deteriorating. The idea is not to find multiple reasons to worry, but to recognize that the way we react is influenced by our emotions rather than the true extent and severity of the risk.
It may be useful to compare the issue to what we have, for example the love of our family and friends, our health, our talents, etc. This simple comparison often triggers a spontaneous relief. Because, by focusing so much on what we don’t have, we often tend to forget what we do have.
Are my expectations making things worst?
Some issues are related to our expectations. For example, someone may be very disappointed not to have reached a certain salary level. Someone else in the same situation, but with a different salary expectation may not be disappointed at all. Generally speaking, it’s not wrong to have expectations. But it becomes wrong when they make us unhappy.
What will be my perception of this in a year?
In order to see this differently, I often project myself one year in the future. From this perspective, most of them issues seem to me much less important. Using this projection exercise, you will be in a better position to ask yourself the following question: « Is the situation as critical as I think it is? » Exceptionally, the answer might be « yes », but in most cases, it will « no. »
Is the situation more intense when I’m tired?
Extreme fatigue makes us perceive certain events or situations in a negative way. And this can have the effect of exaggerating a problem that normally would have been insignificant. Personally in this situation, I try to recognize that my fatigue has clouded my perception
Do I have an unrealistic view of issues in general?
Expecting not to have issues in life is unrealistic. Without being pessimistic, we must recognize that it is normal to come across some difficulties along the way. It is therefore important to adjust our attitude and realize that in life we will have to deal with our share of challenges. No one is spared. That said, many of these are actually opportunities as explained in the following paragraph.
Is the problem that I face an opportunity to learn?
Many problems can be the foundation of a higher level of understanding. Thus, seemingly unpleasant circumstances can contribute to our well-being. Whether we like it or not, there will be difficult situations in our life. It is therefore wise to see them not only as difficulties but also opportunities.
Do I have to change my behavior?
Some problems shed light on damaging beliefs that we had for a long time. When everything is going our way, it is easy to continue to live with those beliefs. Fortunately, life challenges us from time to time and forces us to question what seems obvious in more peaceful times. Suffering is a way to shed light on our mistaken beliefs, which would otherwise have remain hidden and hurt us more in the long run.
Do I need problems to motivate myself to make progress?
Comfort and success lead to stagnation, while the difficulties and failures can be a source of motivation to change. Take a look at your past; I’m sure you can find difficult situations that have motivated you into making an effort to grow. Failure, if we have to call it that, can be the foundation for growth. Our true nature is revealed to us in the mist of difficulties.
Limitation: perception related problems only
This article mainly covers issues with the way you perceive reality. It does not address very severe issues such as illness, loss of loved ones, etc.
When I am faced with a challenge, I ask myself the above questions. Looking at different angles of a problem does not make it disappear. But it makes me move towards a better understanding of situation.
« Life is like a rainbow in the sky, it takes rain and sun to see the colors. »