Choosing a Perspective
I just finished a conversation with a good friend of mine. This friend has seen the many faces of Jill and she is still my friend so I am concluding that she is prepared to be with me for a long time because I think, I hope, that the ugliest faces are behind me now.
I have seen many of her faces as well – (we all have them) and I plan to stand by her. Today she was wearing a worried face. Although I was speaking with her on the phone I knew what her face looked like by the tone in her voice.
She has struggled with perception just as I have. On one day she can stand and look at something, like a job opportunity for example, and define it or describe it in a hopeful, positive way. And yet on another day she will see only the flaws and pitfalls. I talked with her just a week or two ago and her words were upbeat and enthusiastic. Her perspective was bright and hopeful. Today her perception was just off.
It occurred to me to ask her again (because I have posed this question before) “what does contentment and happiness look like for you?” I asked her to identify for herself what she would need to have contentment and happiness. I told her that confidence, calmness, and clarity were the three things I need to get me to a happy, contented place. On the face of it that seems like a really “duh” statement but for so many years I could not identify that. Even if someone else had provided me with the three C’s I don’t believe I could have imagined myself possessing all three of them – especially not at once! Confidence almost never.
It’s funny. When the conversation with my friend began she was telling me about a happy lunch date she’d had with a friend she had not seen in a long time. Despite her words, “She gave me a bunch of flowers!” Her voice had that flatness to it that told me she was not in a happy place. She was clear in describing a wonderful day, many opportunities she was facing for possible employment, and an assertion that she’d found the work she was trying to launch as a new business, fulfilling and enjoyable. She was telling me all of this though, with a backdrop that was gray and ominous. This was a change from only just a week or so prior. The details were strikingly similar to the above during that time but the backdrop was sunny and positive.
So why was she seeing these strikingly similar details with such a clearly different perspective? And if she could move from one to the other how did she do that and what was the catalyst? Why did she perceive many opportunities for employment as a problem? I pointed out to her again that for as long as I have known her, she has always landed on her feet.
I think that my friend is swimming hard and fast in the current I described for myself. I believe that she has an uncanny ability to bump into island after island and climb onto land without even being aware of arriving in such a place. Somehow she gets to these places and enjoys the heck out of being there while she is there but then the tide rises and rips her back into swell and she struggles and fights. I think that she cannot see how close to the water’s edge she comes and she doesn’t have an understanding of what anchors her.