Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Keeping our perspective is a key to controlling our emotions. Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we don’t see the whole picture. We only see a portion of the picture. Sometimes we need to change the way we look at things.

Look at these two arrows. Which horizontal line is the longest?
 They are exactly the same size. However, the top one looks longer than the bottom one. It is on optical illusion tricking us into assigning a different meaning to what we see.

What do you see in the image to the left?

Do you see a vase or do you see two faces looking at each other? Both are there! These graphics remind us that we don’t always see things from different perspectives. We often give situations a cursory glance and then make false assumptions.

The meaning of something will change when you look at it differently.

Motivational speaker and author, Wayne Dyer says “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change“.

Our perspective affects our perception of situations. When our perspective is off, we can perceive situations incorrectly and then overreact. Our emotions follow our perspective. Can you change your perception of situations? Can you change your perspective? Of course, you can. We need to take time to grasp the truth of situations before we react. Sometimes we feel put upon, hurt, left out. Sometimes we don’t understand why others act the way the do to us or to others. At those times we need to ask God for a better perspective so that we can find the good in situations we don’t understand fully. God sees the full picture; his perceptions are perfect.

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. I Corinthians 13:12 (NLT)

The old fable "The Elephant and the Blind Men" provides another example of perception.

Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, "Hey, there is an elephant in the village today."

They had no idea what an elephant is. They decided, "Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway." All of them went where the elephant was. Everyone of them touched the elephant.

"Hey, the elephant is a pillar," said the first man who touched his leg.

"Oh, no! it is like a rope," said the second man who touched the tail.

"Oh, no! it is like a thick branch of a tree," said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.

"It is like a big hand fan" said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.

"It is like a huge wall," said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.

"It is like a solid pipe," Said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.

They began to argue about the elephant and everyone of them insisted that he was right. It looked like they were getting agitated. A wise man was passing by and he saw this. He stopped and asked them, "What is the matter?"

They said, "We cannot agree to what the elephant is like." Each one of them told what he thought the elephant was like.

The wise man calmly explained to them, "All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently because each one of you touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all those features you described.”

"Oh!" everyone said. There was no more fight. They felt happy that they were all right.

The moral of the story is that there may be some truth to what someone says. Sometimes we can see that truth and sometimes not because we may have a different perspective. In each case the person had a limited perspective that led them to the wrong conclusion. They each had only a piece of the information. No one was able to understand the whole truth about the elephant.

Let’s learn to control our emotions based on getting a full perspective instead of a limited one.


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