“Seeing from a bird’s eye point of view brings a whole new perspective.”
Personal development is gaining broad appeal as well it should. One of the key components to self-growth is being able to take an extremely critical look at our own selves and discern what needs to be changed. Last week’s article discussed how thinking patterns we developed as children can be a huge barricade to our growth. However, there are times when the truth is blaringly obvious, but we look the other way because of the consequences it may bring.
This was one of the most eye-opening and transformative concepts I discovered after starting therapy. My 22-year marriage crumbled and I was feeling like a total failure. Oddly enough, that feeling created a mindset which allowed me to look openly at anything that might be an issue. There was nothing I wouldn’t consider about myself because I was determined to “fix” what was wrong. I carefully reviewed my thoughts and actions, and even considered how or if I loved my wife at the time.
I always considered myself a decent person and dedicated to the marriage. But in May, 2011, everything changed. It wasn’t until a couple years passed when I realized that although I loved her, it wasn’t the kind of love which sustains healthy relationships. Here is where my thinking got in the way. Had anyone approached me in April of 2011 and said, “You know John, you are not really in love with your wife,” I would have vehemently objected. My response would have been something like, “There’s no man on this planet who loves his wife as much or more than I do”!
While this is a reasonable response from a married man, I would have answered that way because of this reasoning: what kind of a terrible husband would I be if I didn’t love her that much? How horrible of a human would I have be to live with someone for that long and not be completely in love? I didn’t even want to consider the slightest notion that I had fallen out of love with her because then I would deem myself a bad person. Even though there were clues pointing this out, my thinking was clouded and I refused to face it.
It’s natural to be proud of our mind and what we can accomplish with it. The amount of information which can be stored and the ability to put that data logically together is quite a feat. But when it comes to self-assessment, it’s also important to balance that with a frankness and honesty; especially at times when it may appear to insult or offend our own intellect. This kind of candor, however, has more to do with depth of character, integrity, and seeking a greater purpose beyond ourselves.
We can’t learn when we are surrounded only by things which don’t challenge our understanding and getting out of our comfort zone is the best way to grow physically, mentally, and spiritually. There’s not much more that makes a person uncomfortable than realizing there’s something mistaken in our thinking. This week, take some time and examine difficult issues from your past and see if there was a part of your thinking where you can now get a whole new perspective.
My thanks to Katja Koevoet for the beautiful work of art. Find out more about her on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and her website. You’re sure to find her perspective unique and creative. I look forward to your comments.