Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Perspective II

“Insanity – Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Albert Einstein
“If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know where you are going.”
Somebody else

Here is another useful “tool” for getting a better perspective on things.
This is not as remarkable or disturbing as to see your life through the eyes of people at the opposite spectrum of life or as seeing yourself through the eyes of your nemesis, but it is never the less useful.

There are some life problems I call “dramas” problems that deal with relationships and emotions – very hard stuff to handle, especially if you are a male.
You need to put yourself out of the equation and look at the “drama” from a different perspective.
You can do that by making up a story, a fable, a narrative of the events but with different people and in a different setting – you can even use animals as characters.

Let’s say you just had a fight with someone you love or have been dumped by your lover or betrayed by your best friend or whatever your situation might be, and you don’t know exactly what and why it happened or even worse you don’t see a way out of the situation.
Write down the story in a theatrical play up to the present time, but do not stop, make up an ending to the story, preferable positive.

Take a break after you are done and come back in an hour or two, or even better go to bed and read the story the next day morning.
You will see that there will be parts that do not make sense anymore, parts that sounded true when you wrote them down but now looking with an objective eye doesn’t ring true any longer.
You will also see mistakes the characters have done and even ways of solving the drama that you did not considered before.
Edit the story until you feel it reflects exactly the reality of your situation.
Play the drama until you find a solution or closure to your emotional pain.

I know it sounds like a silly way of dealing with a problem but give it a try, you might be surprised by the results.
Here is a little story I wrote, inspired by somebody I knew. The Swan and the Swine
You can see the characters and the drama unfolding from the outside perspective the story tale gives you.

Of course the best way to get a different perspective on your “problems” is to get a different perspective.
If you have the money and the time, a visit to a good shrink – therapist – can do wonders.
A good and wise friend or relative can be also as useful - although I find that free advice is seldom taken seriously.

And of course you can always find more ways of looking at life by asking in your blog:
What is your most favorite and efficient way of getting a perspective on your problems?


smoke said...

This is actually a great method to get over it. I kinda do the same, but in my head. And after a while, I realise that there werent even grounds for confrontation to begin with. Emotions run so easily wild. Oh. Love the fable. Hope it worked out for those involved though.

Argent said...

I sometimes use a thing I'm going to call the Long View. Basically, I ask myself how important is this problem going to seem in 1 week/1month/1 year/10 years etc. It's surprising how soon the problem loses its "teeth".

Flight said...

Your perspective is all that can be gained by writing a story .

Talking to friends is just their perspective tainted buy yours .

A therapist can only give you the perspective of the general public , and again tainted by yours .

The only shot you have at getting another persons perspective is by asking them . And even then is the perspective that they want to share .

And in the end it's all relative to how your willing to perceive it.

I tend to agree with Argent . But I find it difficult to use the "Long View" and live in the here and now .

Diego said...

In my own seeking of a little peace, I've written stories, poems, plays, etc. I went to therapists. I asked relatives and friends for feedback. I have gotten responses to all of those methods, most of them very odd. Those strange responses made me think that it was my perception to the responses that was 'off'.

After reading your Swan/Swine story I've reached this conclusion: even when someone realizes they belong to a certain order of being, the challenge is in not judging the 'other' and understanding that those others may be wondering why you do not find their way of life the most attractive.

Talon said...

Hindsight is always 20/20. In the heat of the moment, it's really difficult to take a break and step back.

But after the situation is resolved - in one fashion or another - you can definitely look back and see how you might make some changes the next time you're presented with a similar situation. Just my thoughts...

Buddha said...

@Smoke – It works even better when you write it down – at least for me.
Yep! My friend got the point of the fable – You should have seen the expression on her face though :)

@ Argent – That is a great technique.
There is a Buddhist meditation similar with that where you see yourself growing old, dying and decomposing.
It sounds crazy but it has a great power of cleansing your fears.

@ Flight – I find it useful even for breaking through my own subjectivity if not for finding a better solution to my problem.

@ Diego – Perception is relative to your point of view.
The person committing a crime does so because from his POV he’s entitled to his actions.
Without that kind of rationalization of crime there would be no evil in this world.

@ Talon – Yup! Hindsight is always 20/20.
But isn’t it nice when you foresee the future 20/20?
Well, at list once in a while :)

Quantum_Flux said...

What crap! This is why computers and robots are better than people.

Argent said...

@Quantum_Flux - In what way exactly are computers and robots better than people? OK, they don't experience fear, doubt, boredom or whatever, but neither do they get to enjoy what we enjoy, and I'm not even talking about the big stuff like love. I'm talking about the everyday stuff, eating a chocolate bar, making the bus instead of missing it, finishing that bit of painting you've been putting off for ages. We humans have a richness to our lives to which machines cannot (as yet) aspire. Different? Yes. Better? I tihnk not.

This Brazen Teacher said...

When I was in my young 20's I did something very similar. I would imagine myself to be the main character or protagonist of a movie. It's much easier to see the bigger picture as a watcher of the movie.

It also helped me live more in the moment because somehow I felt luckier and more grateful for the crap if I pictured myself as Jennifer Aniston.

Your post reminds me I stopped doing that... and should start again :-)

Quantum_Flux said...

@Argent: My computer is my brain's best friend. I couldn't kick people's ass in online poker, for instance, without my computer (and my probability computing brain). I would have to get a higher paying job without the wonders of my computer. Soon as I learn how to invest in stocks I'll be all the wealthier due to my CPU.

Buddha said...

@ Quantum - A computer is only as good as the human that uses it :)

@ Argent - Computers are as dumb as the humans that uses them :)

@ Brazen - You were always the star in my eyes!

@ Quantum et All - Hurray! A debate.
I love debates!
Just don't forget to have fun :)