“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Anais Nin
I was working with a client today who had been doing very well in treatment and had abstained from using for over a month, but just a few nights ago she wasn’t feel well and other people in her home were smoking marijuana, so she decided to join them. When she met with me she was embarrassed as she admitted to what she had done. She verbally beat herself up for a few minutes and discussed how she was weak and it smelled so good, but then said, ‘You know what, I didn’t screw things up forever, I just need to walk away next time!’ There was a definite shift in her energy in that moment and we talked about how she suddenly took on a different perspective.
It is very easy to take on a negative perspective. Society seems to reinforce it for the most part, just watch the news for a few minutes. When we talk about how bad something is or what went wrong everyone seems to jump in and share their version of why. While it is sometimes helpful to explore what went wrong in order to correct it for the future, we tend to hang out in what went wrong for much longer then necessary. I often use the analogy of how seeing things from a negative perspective is like being stuck in the basement of a skyscraper. It is pretty dark and closed in. If we are able to pull ourselves up to the first or second floor at least there is some light, but there is still not much to see. When we rise up to the 30th floor the view is spectacular and breathtaking. We see things we could never have seen from the lower floors. Now, according to the GPS we are in the exact same location. It is only our perspective that has changed. When I talk to clients I discuss how some of their thinking is basement thinking. They are beating themselves up for the past mistakes and not allowing the light to even get close to them. When I was working with my client today nothing changed in the circumstances of her life from the time she started talking with me to the time she left, but her perspective about what happened completely changed. When we operate from a negative perspective we feel drained and worn down, like the world is conspiring against us. It isn’t easy to change our perspective, but by opening ourselves up to inquire what we can learn from this situation we can begin to climb up a few flights of stairs. How different would this situation look if you were just one floor higher?