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Keeping Perspective

Seeing the bigger picture.

In our crazy world, it is very easy to lose perspective. We often have a hard time seeing the bigger picture. The media often doesn’t help with this, but unfortunately often encourages us to see things in a most negative light. After 911, I did a workshop with some reporters who had covered 911. They were quite willing to admit that their coverage often encouraged people to be more fearful and to see what was happening as being an event that would have a permanent and pervasive impact on everyone’s lives in our country. The media also was focused on placing blame for the attack. As they explained, “If it bleeds, it leads.”

Unfortunately, this way of looking at things only encourages us to be pessimistic rather than optimistic about our future. The reality is that there are very few things that will have a pervasive impact on our lives, meaning that it will affect every part of our lives. Even good or bad events usually only affect specific parts of our lives. Not everything. And few things are ever permanent, either good or bad. Life is a long chain of temporaries. “This too will pass,” is a good way of looking at the events in our world.

And last of all, looking to blame someone for the problem or the tragedy is usually not helpful. I am not talking about not holding people accountable. Obviously, we need to hold each other accountable for our actions. But this is different from blaming. Blaming often fuels violence. When we are blaming other people, we are often so emotionally involved we cannot think clearly. Whether it was the witch hunts in Salem or the lynchings in the South or the countless other acts of violence that have been committed over the years, blaming and the irresponsible behavior that often goes with it seldom does anything to make our world a better and safer place to live. Deciding that all Syrians or Muslims are out to do harm to us I doubt will make us any safer.

Resilience requires that we keep perspective. That we see the bigger picture, realizing that few things and events in our world have a pervasive impact on our lives and are permanent. Thinking clearly without being caught up in the emotions of blame, these are the things that will make our world a better place in which to live.

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