Creating a perspective shift is a game-changer. We often can’t change our circumstances, but we can always change our perspective. Sometimes, a perspective shift entails a fair amount of heavy lifting. Yet sometimes, it can be as simple as substituting one word for another, and BELIEVING IT. Embodying the word change. And then living it. Let’s explore.
A Perspective Shift is One Word Away
If you’ve been a subscriber to this blog for a while, you’ve likely gathered that our mind is a powerful effector on our life experience. That our feelings of happiness, satisfaction and empowerment are less about what’s happening, and more about how we FEEL about what’s happening—how we interpret, frame and respond to what IS.
This is actually great news because we do not very often have control of what’s happening, yet we have enormous influence over how we feel. It may not seem like that’s true sometimes, but once we start to flex our perspective-shift muscle, it grows over time so that we feel less victimized, beleaguered, and stressed-out. We’re more able to be the creator of our feelings, our responses to situations and our ability to reframe how a situation may appear.
Let’s say you’re a parent of active kids, especially those from ages 12-17. Unless you’re an urban dweller with loads of safe public transit available, the previous sentence directly translates into you doing a whole lot of driving. Often while you have many other things to do, including work and commuting and home stewardship. Often with a grumpy, hungry or otherwise teenagery-acting kid in the passenger seat, maybe wrapped up in social media on his/her phone. And the lament becomes:
“I have to drive my kids EVERYwhere.” (insert big sigh and eye-roll)
Take the phrase “I HAVE to and replace one word to get the new phrase, “I GET to.”
- I have to drive my kids everywhere becomes I get to drive my kids everywhere.
- I have to go food shopping becomes I get to go food shopping.
- I have earn money (work) becomes I get earn money.
- I have to eat healthy to lose weight becomes I get to eat healthy to lose weight.
Why do words matter?
The first thing you may notice when playing with this perspective shift is how many thoughts and sentences start with “I have to.” Talk about feeling disempowered!
The second thing you may notice is that practicing it can feel a bit silly in the beginning:
“Really? ‘I GET to go food shopping?!’ That seems ridiculous.”
Yet a main way we change limiting beliefs is by reprogramming our habits of thought. We create a perspective shift. And words are not just letters strung together; words are packed with emotion and innuendo and meaning. And this holds true for “I have to” versus “I get to.”
I cover the power of victim v. creator mindsets in chapter 3 of Wild World, Joyful Heart, but for our purposes here:
- “I have to” is often a victim-mediated statement; a statement of disempowerment.
- “I get to” is most often creator-mediated statement; a statement of empowerment.
So let’s unpack our inner resistance that is expressed with the thought, “Really? ‘I GET to go food shopping?!’ That seems ridiculous.”
First off, some folks love food shopping. (Oddly, as the Food Sass® Queen, I don’t happen to be one of them.) Secondly, the fact that we have money to go procure food would be viewed as a pretty miraculous situation to about 690,000,000 people in the world, who don’t.
And the fact that we have supermarkets full of beautiful, fresh foods is nothing short of astounding. I’m not a farmer, but I get to choose from all that gorgeous food. Within my budget of course. In other words, I GET to go food shopping!
The Magic of a Perspective Shift
Harking back to the driving-kids-around example, now that my kids are all older, I can tell you that some of my BEST conversations and connections with my kids happened in the car. Captive audience! So, yes, “I GOT to drive my kids everywhere.”
In a comfortable, temperature-controlled car, I got to escort my kids to clubs, sports and friend gatherings. I got to drive them to urgent care when they were sick or maimed. A friend that has a kid with disabilities spent even more time driving than I could shake a stick at—adding on trips to hospitals, specialists and appointments. But he says now that he actually loved that time with his amazing kid.
In the beginning, it can really feel like JUST a word change. Because we don’t really believe it yet. Maybe because it seems a bit silly. But as time goes on and we start to change the lens through which we look at the minutiae of our days, we notice that we are actually saying it like we mean it. That a life well-lived is most often full of all kinds of minutiae, that we mindfully embrace AS LIFE. Not as the stuff we have to get through so we can live life, but as the stuff that life is threaded together with. The heartbeat of our life experience, so to speak.
A perspective shift like this can have immense power to joy-up our lives. It can help us feel less like a tiny rowboat in an ocean storm, and more like a giant ocean liner on moderately choppy seas. More joy, less stress and increased enjoyment of our daily life experience. What might “I get to” do for YOUR health and joy? I Invite you to find out.
Need help getting your mind in alignment with your desire to create perspective shifts? Mindfulness can help. Check out THIS post to explore this important Mind Savvy® tool.
Create Vibrant Health: BodyMindSpirit®
With love and empowerment,