One of my favorite
4. Shape your perspective. Is the glass half empty or half full?
Perspective determines, quite literally, how we view the world. Having a chronic illness creates an ambiguous construction of reality for us. Am I, for example, a successful cripple or an unsuccessful professional? In American culture, much emphasis is placed on independence, individualism, and achievement. Through this lens, developing a condition that makes us feel more dependent and less productive is likely to be a huge disappointment.
Yet as we get older, it becomes more likely that we, or somebody close to us, will experience debilitating problems. People are often forced to adapt to sudden, new conditions by adopting a perspective that accommodates change. Our perspectives are shaped by the comparisons we make and the expectations they create.
Consider, for example, the immigrant who had been practicing medicine in his home country, but flees to the US to escape a repressive political regime. Here he works as a janitor; after years of medical study, he has lost a prestigious and rewarding occupation. Yet he is thankful for the opportunity to work and wakes each day driven by hope, perhaps, of a better future for his children. Yet his difficulties are also quite apparent. What keeps his spirits up and makes him thankful rather than bitter? His perspective.
Is your glass half empty, half full, or twice as large as it needs to be?
Happy Tuesday to all,