Perspective is a complicated matter. The opinions we hold and live out through our actions, are the things we value, our individual sense of how we think the world should be, as well as our own sense of what we feel is right and what is wrong. We all have a right to our perspective, however learning the value of challenging that perspective is a lesson in spirituality that helps us grow.
As important as it is to hold on to what we believe or how we think life should be, this perspective can also keep us stuck in old thinking. Learning to take a step back to discern if what we think and do still serves us, is a life skill. When we are able to challenge our own beliefs, our actions, and how we relate to others, it helps ourselves and improves our relationships.
Being able to take this step back, provides the space needed to see something from another point of view. Looking at ourselves means opening our mind so we are able to see where we might need a perspective shift. It means we might have to admit we were wrong, forgive our self or someone else or take responsibility for our part. Acknowledging these things provides the opportunity to forgive ourselves and move on. When done with kindness and compassion, it can be a valuable tool for personal growth.
I had no idea how deeply my mission trip to Tanzania would influence my life and impact how I saw myself and the world around me. Having been in the rural areas and small villages of Tanzania for over two weeks, our group traveled to the very remote, mountain top village of Idunda.
We were welcomed there with open arms as most of the village met our vehicles on the road and escorted us with song and dance all the way to their village. We stayed two nights and I think the toll of being in a third world country where nothing was the same was wearing on my friend and I. On the third morning we woke up before sunrise and the rest of the village. The view was breath taking as we watched the sun rise over the mountain and yet, there we were complaining that nothing was like home and how anxious we were to leave. All of a sudden we heard singing coming from the road and soon we saw 5 woman with babies on their backs, carrying 5 gallons of water on their head. We were immediately humbled and I’m sure the look on our faces said it all.
In that moment we could have ignored what we saw or been happy that was not our life, but the moment was too impactful. My friend and I looked at each other and were immediately ashamed of ourselves for complaining about our circumstances. They were after all, carrying extra water for us, given up their cots so we would not have to sleep on the floor and offered us the little food they had.
We were not intentionally ungrateful it was just that our actions did not show it. From that experience I learned that perspective is much more than the ability to change our thoughts but to also work to have our thoughts and actions congruent. I challenge you to take stock of your thoughts and actions and begin to align what you believe with what you do.