Change of Perspective

Musings on Writing, Reading, and Life Narratives

Fiction writers and literary critics speak of point of view. Social scientists are more likely to discuss perspective. But both of these terms refer to essentially the same construct: the consciousness behind the perception and narration of experience. Each individual’s point of view is unique, and point of view shapes the stories people tell to themselves and to others about themselves and their relationships with their environment. The same event narrated from two different perspectives will produce two different stories.

A change of perspective can expand our perception and reframe our thinking about our experiences. We can all benefit from an occasional change of perspective.

[Return to MetaPerspective]

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

As I Turn 60. . .

Happy birthday to me! Sixty years ago today, I was born--on the first day of a heat wave, as my mother delights in pointing out nearly every year.

Having now reached the age when wrinkles traditionally denote wisdom, I've accumulated a few nuggets of knowledge. Since it's my birthday, I'm going to claim the right of self-indulgence and share them with you:

(1) True friends are rare and special, and I should cherish each one.

(2) Contrary to the American myth, you cannot be whatever you want. I will never be an artist. Although I've done some drop-dead gorgeous needlework in my time, I cannot draw a lick. But I have learned to look for my strengths and then maximize them.

(3) We are not all created equal. Some people can draw. I can't. I've learned to live with this shortcoming.

(4) No matter how good I am at something, there's always someone else who's better. I've learned to live with this, too.

(5) Freud may have been wrong about infant sexuality, but he was dead on about our psychological defense mechanisms.

(6) You cannot have it all. You would not want to: You'd be overwhelmed. Figure out what's important to you, then go after it with zeal and passion.

(7) There are always as many sides to every story as there are participants.

(8) You cannot overcome every obstacle in life by sheer willpower. Learn how to figure out what help you need. Then learn to ask for that help. When you refuse to ask for help, you deny someone else the opportunity to be helpful.

(9) We are what we do. Actions speak louder than words. We demonstrate our true character through our behavior. Try to perform more good than bad actions.

(10) When I find a rut I like, it dig in deep and stay put as long as possible. Such routines are comforting, but change will occur whether we want it to or not. In fact, the more we want things not to change, the more they probably will. I try to view these occurrences as opportunities and embrace them.

(11) The world is a big place, and it can sometimes be scary. But you have to be willing to put yourself out there [apologies to Dr. Phil], to meet new people and try new things.

(12) However, it's also OK to enjoy being alone. What's important is to find a balance that's comfortable for you.

(13) "If you want something done right, do it yourself" is not always good advice. Learn to delegate. Then learn to be happy with "good enough." Perfectionism causes ulcers and high anxiety.

(14) Love and friendship are never wasted. Even when formerly good relationships go south, having experienced the good times is priceless [apologies to MasterCard].

(15) Say "I love you" to the people you care about. Say it out loud and say it often.

(16) Despite the lack of visible welts or scars, verbal and emotional abuse of children cuts just as deeply as physical abuse and should be equally condemned.

(17) Once you begin to look for meaning, synchronicity will occur.

(18) Trust your gut. Every time I've ignored my intuition, I've regretted it.

(19) What you send forth into the Universe is what the Universe will ultimately give back to you.

(20) Embrace life's mysteries. Expect to be surprised.

© 2008 by Mary Daniels Brown



Post a Comment

<< Home