Perspective is a powerful measuring stick to see how far a person has either advanced or retreated.
Looking back at where I have been and where I want to be in life gives me an opportunity to pull out the perspective lens. This lens is powerful, effective and can bite me in the butt.
My sense is that it can for many men, too.
Perspective lets me grasp the concept that my life up until this very point has been filled with lessons. I’ve made a book full of mistakes. That makes me human … and I kind of thought I was superhuman for many years. Well, the joke is on me.
At the same time, I also have done a lot of honorable things in life. When it comes to having a balanced view around both sides of the coin, I have been more likely to size up my mistakes and pound myself over the head. Negative self-talk and berating emotions have sent me reeling into a world of isolation and addiction.
Not the prettiest place to be at all.
Yet don’t I have the inner power and direction to change those thoughts and emotional patterns? Yes.
Making sure that I have a lot of awareness about different areas of my life—physical, mental, spiritual and emotional—are important touchstones. The awareness that they all bring allows me to measure, with a healthy perspective, where I am at in the moment.
Eckhart Tolle’s book “The Power of Now” is a great resource focused on present-moment awareness. In it, Tolle writes, “You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold. That is how important you are!”
Do you believe in present-moment awareness? How easy it is for men to “check out” of life each day. Whether it is through entanglement with another person, place or institution, or simply spending too much time worrying about what other people think of you, does not help a man stay focused on his path and can lead to problems.
Lack of focus has been one of my weak points in life. I own up to it 100 percent and take full responsibility. When I am writing, I can say that I am fully present. “Oh, look at that butterfly outside my window!” Like I was saying, I’m fully present here.
Perspective also brings in a level of sanity and patience. Instead of being involved in chaos, I can choose peace and tranquility as more likely responses to life’s latest crisis. Are there crises in your life? Of course there are … yet it is how you and I respond (instead of reacting) to them that make a difference.
Looking back, many times I have reacted and overreacted to events and people. These instances have been serious triggers causing emotional and financial problems that, to this day, are still lingering.
I do have choices and those involve either staying put or taking action.
Staying put can mean simply continuing patterns of thoughts and behaviors that don’t work. Taking action involves risk, trust and believing that doing something different will work. What I have learned incrementally myself, and while admiring others from afar, is that taking focused, intentional action definitely is rewarding.
Having a healthy perspective of life can be a powerful emotional tool. There are many times when a man’s perspective needs cleaning up.
I’d like to offer three basic questions to support this cleaning-up process:
How is your life going? – Look at what is and is not working. See if there are remnants of memories from your past that are affecting your whole life right now. When you notice them, acknowledge what gifts might be within these memories and – if possible – let them go. Hold onto the good memories and gifts. Release the painful parts with as much gratitude as possible. If you keep the pain around, then life may simply give you more pain.
Are you emotionally fit? – Consider this question carefully. A lot of men may not really think about their emotions and feelings a lot. The emotions of anger and erotic passion can get out of hand pretty quickly. What I am suggesting here is that understanding where pain, shame, fear, guilt, love, joy and others linger inside your physical and mental areas can help. Science continues to study and reveal how powerful emotions are connected to physical health. Spiritual masters for centuries have even, in their own language, offered insights to this realm as well. Emotions matter, men. Take good care of them and see what crops up.
What do you want to do? – This might sound odd, yet it is a question that I have asked myself many times. Just what do I want to do in my life? Better yet, is what you and I do in our lives bringing more happiness and joy or misery and sorrow? It does matter. Having said this, I completely understand where situations call for men to do something in the short term to make ends meet that isn’t fun. Yet it certainly is worth taking time to look at what you really want out of life. Too many men accept mediocrity and sell themselves short. I’ve done it. Let’s commit to not selling ourselves short and taking steps toward doing what we really want to do in life.
Perspective plays an important role in answering those questions. Without it, what do you have to use as a reference point?
My hope is that you will see perspective as a friend and not an enemy. We all have been through tough times … through life’s fires … and moved through them. Some men have found a better way to live; others have not.
You and I are worthy of healthy lives and love each day. Together, we can see our lives as wonderful opportunities for growth and change. It is springtime … a time for new beginnings. There is no better time to start than now.
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