A drastic turn of events can often be the catalyst necessary for shifting perspectives. You may not always be able to control the outcome of a situation, but you can choose to see the situation differently. Indeed, choosing to alter the way you view (or have viewed) your life can change your life’s meaning.
Have you ever wondered what your life looks like to someone else? What you may see as a problem may be seen as an opportunity, or perhaps even a gift, to another. During times of difficulty, looking at things from another angle can completely change and redirect your focus so you have a different relationship with, and perspective on, the issue. Looking at the “bigger picture” as well as focusing on the details, can allow us to see other possibilities that were not immediately visible.
Without the difficult times you could not fully appreciate the good times. What if the hardships you experienced were there to serve a purpose? What if the difficulty was there to reveal your inner strength? What if this struggle serves to prepare you to meet the next challenge?
Someone asked me whether if I could, would I choose to go back in time and not have experienced the illness. We were both surprised when I said “no”. The illness and recovery were a giant life lesson. Yes, the years following the onset of the illness were very difficult and at times excruciating. And presently, I am still left with some physical deficits. However, through the experience, I gained tremendous insights into myself and into my life that would not allow me to be the person that I am today. I learnt to identify and place importance on what really matters to me and to only do those things that support or enhance these priorities, values and objectives. During my illness, my attention was directed toward life and there was little room for distraction from my goal – to have and to live a meaningful life. By letting go of the importance I used to place on insignificant details I was able to gain a broader perspective of the meaning of my own life.
I chose to see my illness as an opportunity to gain a new appreciation for life. Life is a gift, health is a gift – I didn’t fully appreciate or understand this until I almost lost both.
I had originally written this article in 2012 and now, re-reading it seven years later, I am amazed at how easy it is forget how much your health is worth. It is hard to appreciate your abilities when they come effortlessly, but you quickly realize how fortunate you were when those abilities get compromised. When I was using a wheelchair, I remember how I longed for the independence that I once had. It’s been 9 years since I’ve had rely on a walking aid but every now and then it’s humbling to take a step back to fully appreciate the gift I’ve been given.
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer
Copyright Dr. Julie Doobay 2019