Throughout the painting process I’ve been taught to periodically put down the brush and take a few steps back away from the canvas. It helps me evaluate what I’ve done so far and pinpoint any errors I have made and corrections I need to make. It can help you judge if your perspective is correct among other things. A painting can look completely different just a few feet away. There are times when I can’t back away far enough. Occasionally, I will swallow my pride and ask someone else I trust to give me their opinion. Sometimes it helps to get another set of eyes on it to point out any corrections needed even though I may not always like what I see and hear. It can lead to a whole lot of extra work but chances are the end product will be better for it.
So it is with life. When we are fixated on ourselves we can lose perspective. We become self serving and skewed in our thinking. You may have a big problem that you just don’t see or you may think something is an enormous problem when comparatively speaking it is really minuscule in scope. You need to get proper perspective. Do yourself a favor and step away occasionally and critically assess yourself and the situation or allow someone else to critically assess you or what you are doing.
Don’t be afraid to get another opinion from someone you can trust to provide you with an honest critique. My therapists will periodically remind me to stop and find my baseline or point out that I am not doing an exercise properly. They are a voice of reason because they see things I may not. The other day my wife, who is a wonderful cook, was trying a new recipe for healthy banana muffins. She brought me a bite to taste and asked for my honest opinion. Thankfully, she has an equally wonderful sense of humor and we both came to the same conclusion about that particular recipe. Dicey as that situation could have been, if I wasn’t honest with her, we might be relegated to eating mediocre muffins or having a bunch of extra door stops laying around. Of course, I had to do it in a way that I didn’t end up eating her shoe. The trick is knowing when to give an honest opinion, if asked, and when your honest opinion is the LAST thing that should come out. Your brain needs to engage the instinct filter. If you’re not up to the task or you don’t trust yourself, abort the mission, pull out the troops, disengage before it’s too late. My wife wasn’t looking for praise (this time) but honesty. She wanted a fresh perspective. Telling her everything but what was wrong would have just made it more difficult for her to ascertain what was needed to get the desired results we could both stomach.
You may not see a problem at all until some brave soul points it out to you. There are people who refuse to go to a doctor for fear of what the doctor may say. There are others who go from doctor to doctor or supposed expert because they refuse to believe what they are told. They don’t want to hear the truth. Having a mentor or friend who can lend perspective rather than flattery is worth a fortune. It helps us make corrections, refine our behavior and hopefully become better humans. There are a host of issues and problems that can be avoided if we were to trade in our pride for wise counsel, at the very least it may prevent our humiliation by falling prey to some current fad.
The comedian Brian Regan tells of going to the hospital and being asked to rate his pain on a scale of 1 to 10. He was afraid to give the wrong number for fear they wouldn’t take him seriously. We all know people who tend to catastrophize one issue or another in hopes of drawing attention to themselves. Perhaps you’ve done it yourself at times. One day they try to convince you how terrible their life is because of a hang nail, the next day they are prancing around some amusement park. They need to assess the optics and ask themselves, how might this look to others? Why does it matter what others people think, you might ask? Simple, you lose credibility. If the optics don’t add up, it’s hard to take the person seriously. They need some real perspective.
My friend Dave is a wonderful photographer, www.CrivelloPhotography.com. On occasion, he uses a drone when taking real estate pictures. It helps give prospective clients a different perspective of the property. Focus on the Family has a great program where they help equip pregnancy medical centers across the country with ultrasound machines, resources, and nurses’ sonography training so a mother considering abortion can get much needed perspective. www.Focusonthefamily.com
Occasionally, we all need to lower our walls, open up, step away and take in a different view. It helps give us a perspective that perhaps we didn’t see before. As a child I was taught to “put yourself in other peoples shoes.” Learning what the other person may be going through is good advice if we remember to adhere to it. Dr. Lee Warren has a prayer wall on his website www.wleewarrenmd.com. Spend a few minutes reading through it and you will realize the enormously painful issues people have to suffer through. If that doesn’t work for you, look no further than the Ukrainian war and the fleeing refugees or spend an afternoon at a rehab center or homeless shelter, or better yet, read the 19th chapter of John in the Bible, it can do a lot for your perspective.
The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. Proverbs 12:15
The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction. Proverbs 16:21
“How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?” Matthew 7:4
Copyright © Brian Dietz