As I have mentioned in previous posts, perception is very important. It's so easy to think that things are a certain way and that everything it out of our control. It's so easy to believe that things are a certain way for a reason that we cannot begin to effect, but this is simply not true. One of my favorite quotes (and a frequently used quote on other happiness-oriented blogs) is: "We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are." The construction of our individual worlds, and the people, places, and opportunities in them, is completely determined by our perspective. The mood we're in that day, the things that have happened to us in life, the way we were raised, the things we have learned (or not learned as the case sometimes may be, all affect how we view the world and, in turn, the actually state of our world.
It is easy to forget how much our personal perception impacts our day-to-day life. Simply taking a step back and thinking about a situation, person, or emotion from a different perspective can completely change it. However, we often are so caught up in the moment (living in the present -- which is good, to a point) that we often forget that it is through our eyes that this moment exists. The way we see it, the spin we put on it, is up to us. Every minute of every day there is a chance to see things from a million different perspectives.
Think back on a time when you had a discussion with someone, felt as if you understood him or her, and then later found out that you were completely wrong in your interpretation. Whether you've been aware of it or not, this has most likely happened to you. Interacting with other people is difficult precisely for this reason -- we all see things through unique viewpoints. To realize this is exciting -- just think of all the ways to see the world! -- but it is also overwhelming. If we are all seeing things slightly differently, how are we ever to communicate effectively with one another? Anyone who has ever been a friendship, relationship, or had parents or siblings knows that communication is difficult -- no matter what. But one way we can make it easier is to think about how the other person might be seeing the world. Yes, this can be dangerous; making assumptions almost always comes with risk, but it can be helpful to at least recognize that another person may not be viewing the world the same way you do.
This recognition can also help us realize that we have the opportunity to choose to view the world differently. For years and years, I chose to view the world through a half-empty glass, always focusing on the negative. Seeing the world this way, for whatever reason, came naturally to me, but it made my life (and the lives of those around me) much harder than it needed to be. Long before I had ever read the quote above, I came to realize that it's up to me to change how I see the world. Of course it is much easier to go with my default negative point of view, but I am much happier when I choose to look at the world through different lenses. My world, and the worlds of those who interact with me, are completely impacted by the perspective I choose to take. It's not always easy to choose the positive perspective, but I find that every time I do, the world around me improves.
Even if we cannot choose the "right" perspective all the time, it is important to at least be conscious of the fact that there are multiple perspectives, not only in the world, but within ourselves. Though at times it may be difficult, we have the power to change our views of the world, and even the smallest, slightest change can have a huge impact on our lives.