If comparison is the thief of joy, then perspective is the thing that won’t necessarily bring your joy back but will bring YOU back to reality. Perspective is the way we see things and a change in perspective can often take us from a state of misery to one of happiness or at least acceptance.
I started thinking about perspective a lot lately when my daughter’s daycare was closed one day a week for 3 weeks in a row and this was right after she’d been sick and out for a week! Of course, I’d made all of these plans and set all of these goals for things that I wanted to accomplish and as often happens, all of these days off were at an inconvenient time. Being candid, I was irritated; Not at her, just at the inconvenience of it all. Being completely candid, I even started to get annoyed at my husband because I was the one with the flexible schedule, which automatically made me the one who had to drop EVERYTHING to be available.
I was THAT person who was walking around the house muttering under my breath about how unfair all of it was and feeling sorry for myself that all of my plans had to be put on hold and about how much harder I'd have to work in the coming weeks to make up for the lost time. I would love to tell you that I changed my perspective because I had a life-changing epiphany that caused me to see things in a new light, but the truth of the matter is that I changed my perspective because my reality wasn’t going to change because of my complaining so the only thing that could change was the way I viewed my situation.
Rather than being the one who HAD to drop everything, I started to see myself as the person who GOT to drop everything and spend an extra day with my fast growing toddler. Part of the reason I wanted to start my business in the first place was to have flexibility and be there for my daughter more...and I’d achieved that! I was successfully doing what I’d set out to do! And while I was walking around the house muttering my complaints, my husband was envious of ME because I have flexibility. There were so many people out there with worse situations than me because they had jobs that couldn't be put on hold for the day or even worse, people who had to work so much that they barely get to see their kids.
This got me thinking about a lot of other things that I find myself envious of on a regular basis. I have friends that are naturally thin and I’ve always been jealous of their fast metabolisms. Many of those women have told me that they’ve always wished that they could gain weight and find themselves jealous of my curves. My husband never had to wake up in the middle of the night with my daughter but he faithfully wakes up every morning on the weekend with her whereas friends that shared the nighttime wakings also have to share the weekend mornings rather than sleep in like me. When my daughter was a baby and didn't take a bottle I was miserable because I had very little ability to leave her for longer than a few hours at a time, but there are many women who aren't able to breastfeed and would have loved the opportunity that I was taking for granted.
The grass truly is greener on the other side and its so easy to see only the positives of what someone else has without giving much thought to the work that they had to do to get it or the sacrifices that they had to make. It’s also easy to get so caught up on the things that we don’t have that we forget to appreciate the things that we do have. While gaining a positive perspective won't change a particular incident or circumstance from happening, it can greatly change the way you see or feel about a situation which can have a great impact on your overall happiness and well being.