Your perspective is powerful. It affects how you feel, how you respond to the ups and downs of life, and how you move into your future. It determines the quality of your relationships and impacts your overall attitude toward everything in your life.
And while your perspective can be easily influenced, you are ultimately the one who controls it.
You can always choose your perspective.
This truth was revealed to me over ten years ago when a surprise betrayal led to the unraveling of my engagement. The bright, happy future that I envisioned would follow my wedding was now a total blur. My heart was broken. It was one of the hardest experiences of my life. (I write more about this in Get to Know Your Coach). During this time, yoga was a big part of my healing process. On a Sunday morning, I was taking a class with one of my favorite teachers; he said something that struck me. “What would happen if instead of experiencing challenges and setbacks with the mindset of Why is this happening to me? we asked ourselves, How is this happening for me?”
Wow! Game changer.
I’ll admit, until hearing this, I was dwelling in the whys. I wondered, why me? Why did he do this to me? What did I do to deserve this? Of course, there were no clear answers to these questions and frankly, they only made me feel more helpless and sad. But, when I started asking How is this happening for me? silver linings began to emerge. I realized that this heartbreak was pointing me in a new and better direction. I began to trust that this was happening in order to take me away from the wrong relationship and toward the right one. Embracing this perspective helped me feel stronger and more capable of moving forward. I even started to feel excited about moving into the unknown because I knew it would mean moving away from the pain and the person who hurt me and onto the right path.
Perspective shifting does not come naturally for many people and it is especially unnatural and uncommon for teens and young adults. In my coaching practice, I see it all the time. Teens and young adults can become very fixed in their viewpoints during a crisis. They focus on all that is wrong. The Why is this happening to me? mindset takes over and they start to feel helpless, trapped and overwhelmed.
But when they learn how to shift their perspective, they begin to handle their emotions and the triggering situation in a positive way. They recognize their choices and move forward with an uplifted attitude.
While there are many ways to build a broader perspective during a challenge, one of the most effective places to start is with the question, How is this happening for me?
The next time your teen is in a crisis or downward spiral, encourage a shift in her perspective. Help her regain a sense of power and positivity, so she can move beyond the struggle. Start with the question- How is this happening for you?
Explore further with these inquiries:
What do you now know that you didn’t know before?
What is this experience showing you about yourself? About others?
What is the experience showing you what you really want or need?
What choices do you have now?
Answers to these questions will reveal the blessings and wisdom that are always embedded in challenges and setbacks.