As a writer, I often ponder many thoughts and ideas. Lately, all I can think about is the concept of perspective. What is it? What does it mean? How do we gain perspective? Isn’t everything we do tied to our experiences and our own filters on the world so how can we gain a new OR change our perspective without changing who we are?
This is what keeps me up at night.
When it comes to perspective on the world as I am often perplexed as I am constantly coming up against two very conflicting ideas on how to describe it.
First, I am told that I am important. That my ideas and my needs are non-negotiable. My opinion is the most important for me. I should accept nothing less than to be heard. MY needs are important and I don’t have to stand for anything that I don’t like. I am told to STAND UP for myself and to BE MYSELF no matter what. I am told to embrace everything that I want to be and want to achieve. Living this way will bring me to my truth and this is the winning combination that will bring me ultimate joy.
Ok, great, but then……
I am ALSO told that I need to be more compassionate, care about others and put others needs BEFORE mine. I need to be the bigger person and I need to go the extra mile and I need to let others enjoy what they like regardless of what I like. I should find happiness in bringing others joy. I should be flexible in what I offer and be more understanding of others. I need to be selfless and give to others before I consider my OWN needs. Living this way will bring me to my truth and this is the winning combination that will bring me ultimate joy.
So – what is it?
Do I become demanding and stand firm in what I want an I need or do I give effortlessly to others and derive joy from their happiness?
I still don’t know the answer – as a matter of fact as the events of the modern world unfold I am more conflicted than I have ever been on this subject. Each side is gaining more and more steam and attention and, to be honest, both make compelling arguments and success stories. As someone who sits on the fence, this is not helpful.
As such, I try to walk a delicate balance between the two. I try to both be understanding AND assert myself when there is something that I want to go after. This has been a struggle for me my entire life and I am just now starting to be able to articulate the division and understand that there are two opposing sides. For a long time thought these existed as one, which is why I was never fully satisfied, as I now believe you have to pick a side. I continue to try to figure out which gives me more joy? The jury is still out.
I often listen to those that teach tranquility, stillness and inner joy. Their teachings often say the biggest joy you can receive is to give to others. I always hear that you are far happier giving than receiving HOWEVER I also frequently hear that you should “get what you deserve” and I am entitled to go after what I need and want in life. These statements sit with me and I wonder – which direction will bring me more success, happiness and inner peace? Again, the jury is still out.
The quest to figure this out has become all-consuming. It is consuming my thoughts and my ideas. It has become such a curiosity within me that most of my quiet moments are spent contemplating this very fact and trying to come up with answers – any answers. So far I draw no parallels and have no clarity on the subject. Sad, but true.
I have to be honest – I have often felt forgotten, ignored or that I deserve more. I have been upset or frustrated when I have to give in or when what is best for me is the last consideration. I have felt joy when I got something I worked hard for. When I beat out my competition and when I was recognized for trial tasks. I have also engaged in a number of charitable ventures and felt great joy over giving back and seeing the faces of those that benefit from my donations, sacrifices, hard work or a simple gesture of kindness. I have experienced frustration and extreme satisfaction on both sides – so what is the answer?
I will continue to seek answers – and also to gather insights from a confusing culture that teaches that both giving and taking are the right way to achieve success and a joyful heart.
Until next time – decide, commit and action your dreams to love your life.
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