At some point in your life you may have experienced internal changes that have caused a change in perspective, something that would also make your mood go in different directions. In a minute, we’re in a rut in the office, believing in ourselves and excited about the outcome of whatever we’re working on. The next minute, we are full of doubts, insecure and ready to throw everything we can think of directly into the trash can.
These strange, often abrupt changes in perspective can influence any area of our lives. For example, one day you may think that you are very well with your partner and the next day you feel that everything is wrong. These changes in perspective are abrupt and you can believe that any doubt can come at any time. The question is what makes us waver between two such dramatically different perspectives? What do we trust and how can we cultivate a kinder and more “on our side” attitude ?
To answer these questions, we must first see why, we are so divided. For this we must understand the “real me” and our “anti-me”. Our temperament is the basis of our personality and character is formed through experiences and both contribute to your nature and how you feel reality.
Optimism and pessimism
On the one hand, we are optimistic, realistic about our abilities, we are life affirming and we are aiming for goals. This, our “real me”, the one who believes that we are worthy of love, trust, responsibility and good experiences. It is created from positive early life experiences and attitudes, that is, the love and care we receive from a parent or caregiver, the support we got for our efforts, the security we feel, the resilience that we were helped to build, etc.
However, on the other hand, we have an anti-self that is self-critical, self-denying, cunning, suspicious, and even self-destructive. The language of this inner enemy is called our “critical inner voice.” This “voice” is like a continuous comment, criticizing, showing doubt, and often making us feel anxious, depressed, or insecure . This anti-self is shaped by negative early life experiences, that is, the hurtful ways in which we were seen or treated in our family, rejections, neglect, poor tuning, or even abuse.
These first destructive experiences help shape our inner criticism and color the way we view the world. A critical parent can leave us doubting our abilities throughout our lives. An untrustworthy caregiver can make us less trusting of others. It is an effort worth exploring how the negative overlays from our childhood shape our current outlook and negatively impact various aspects of our life. The next step is to separate our real point of view from these destructive attitudes and strengthen our real being.
How to improve your perspective
So how do we do this? First, we must accept the idea that our perspective is made up of these two entities. We can notice when our mood or perspective suddenly changes for the worse or when we react in an intense emotional way to circumstances that do not match our reaction of great emotion. In these moments, we can recognize that a negative filter has colored the way we see things and question whether this represents our true point of view.
Remember that these “backlash” reactions are rooted in our past. For whatever reason, a contemporary event has sparked old feelings, and in turn, we are likely to see things through the lens of our own child. As young children, we can only see things from our own perspective. We see things that happen as caused by us. The mood and behavior of the adults around us have a strong impact on us, because we are so vulnerable. Furthermore, we absorb and internalize many of the negative attitudes to which we are exposed.
Perceiving our current life through the lens of this child is always a distortion , because we are no longer children. As adults, we may have the perspective that not everything that happens is our fault, that we are no longer at the mercy of others, and that many of the negative attitudes directed towards us were distorted or completely false. However, when current situations remind us of our past, we can perceive them through a filter of the past .
This can lead us to misinterpret or assign meanings inaccurately. For example, we may think that our partner doesn’t care about us, because they didn’t call back right away. We can feel like victims of a co- worker , because he did not recognize us in a meeting. We can feel exaggeratedly embarrassed when we call someone by the wrong name and a long etc.
There are many ways that we can distort ourselves and others to fit into an old, negative perspective, so we must familiarize ourselves with the way our anti-self operates and notice when the wheel is being taken. Once we do, we can face these harsh attitudes with self-pity . We can have compassion for the critical ways we view ourselves, the pressure we are putting on ourselves, and even the unpleasant feelings that our negative reactions elicit.
Control your emotions and you will control your perspective and your life
If we are angry, we can take a break, avoiding rumination and allowing ourselves to calm down. Taking a walk, counting back from 10, or even taking several deep breaths can really help in times of emotional stress. We can allow ourselves to feel whatever emotion is stirring within us, be it anger, rage, fear, shame … but still choose how we act based on our real self and our principles. Feel the feelings but do the right thing.
Once we are in a calmer state, we can find any “critical inner voice” with a gentler and more realistic point of view. We can remind ourselves that not all the thoughts or feelings that we experience at one time should be accepted as absolute truth.
When we are open to the possibility that our perceptions are misleading us, we can gently shift our perspective and begin to see the world with lighter, more honest, and more compassionate eyes. Regardless of the circumstances we face, being able to cultivate this attitude can help us connect with our real selves and stay on our side.