Perspective is Power
So many of us tend to get wrapped up in our day-to-day struggles, without realizing that the bindings tightening around our hearts and minds are ones we have put there, ourselves. The pain is real, yet it is self-imposed. And since it is self-imposed, slipping away from the bindings is possible.
I’m speaking here about the very real struggle to build a business, or keep a venture going, or find a romantic relationship, or sustain a marriage. These are all challenges that can lead to real stress. But they are all challenges we choose, knowing full well that there will be highs and lows and detours on the way to our goals. Sometimes, of course, we won’t reach them and will have to find new horizons, new quests or new connections.
The key to moving forward, as fluidly as possible, is to remind yourself that striving in the ways I have alluded to is very human, very laudable and also very unpredictable. Yes, you can do many things to optimize your chances of a business or a relationship or an artistic endeavor or a career pursuit “working,” but some variables will always be beyond your control—whether the marketplace, the availability of funding, or your romantic partner’s underlying psychological profile (fueled, very often, by unconscious forces).
We volunteer for these risks. In fact, it is volunteering, again and again, to effort those things that speak to your heart, knowing the uncertainties, that makes you strong and resilient. And if you can remind yourself that the opportunity to strive for one goal and then another is a wonderful freedom, you may be spared some of the suffering that comes from walking through the gauntlet of difficulties that almost always attend success and that can also make success elusive.
If you’re starting a business in America, for instance, it’s worth reminding yourself what a remarkable and inspiring act that is. The notion of taking an idea and developing it into a functioning company is not only an incredible act of creativity, it is also the result of many wars fought for the freedom to do so. It is the result of your talents joining those of others, in service to a shared vision. It is the result of deploying courage and conviction in the pursuit of what you want to “make happen.” How easy it is to miss the moments when we really should let ourselves bask in those miraculous realities. How easy it is to let the stress of “making things happen” overshadow the creative joy inherent in the process.
If you are starting a relationship—even one fraught with complexities that weigh on you—think about the fact that you are physically well enough to begin one. Think about the fact that you have the energy to even attract another human being. Think about the fact that you live under circumstances wherein beginning a relationship is even “on the radar screen.” There are people just struggling to survive illness or imprisonment or homelessness. Not you. You are in rarefied air.
If you are writing a book and tearing up one page after another, frustrated by the way your words resist coming together to your satisfaction, please let yourself appreciate, even for a few seconds, the glorious creative process you are involved in. Your mind is working to create a work of art you find worthy. That process is filled with immeasurable miracles of thought and emotion we know almost nothing about.
If you are grieving a loss of any kind, please remember that there can be no loss without having the heart to feel it. And that, in and of itself, is a miracle.
Perspective is power. It is sometimes okay to say, of your power and your pain, “Wow. I am very much alive. I AM.”
Dr. Keith Ablow
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