“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
I believe that the world is made up of a beautiful spectrum of personalities, beliefs and souls. Yet for the purpose of this blog I am going to divide humanity into two types of people, I’m not a fan of segregation, stereotyping or pigeonholing of any sort however to make my point this is an unfortunate necessity. And the camps are as stands: those of us who can specifically recall a moment in life where we realised the world does not rotate around us V’s those to whom which this will in fact be news.
As a Student Nurse and human being I have met people from all spectrum’s of society, different cultures and walks of life. I have the self awareness to understand though that as a self sufficient member of the western world, I am blissfully ignorant to the world as a whole. Personally though I would consider myself well equip to tackle almost anything that life throws my way and I know this because I have the tools to preserve my mental health and well being. As the title of my blog suggests I would consider there to be a strong link with perspective and humility that correlates positively to our Mental health.
Definition time, simply because we need to strip this back to what these words mean.
Perspective can be defined in its simplest terms as a point of view. We naturally have our own view point, our own angle, our own standpoint.
Going back to the two camps: there are those of us that understand there are windows other than our own to gaze out of and those who choose to stick with a comfortable view familiar to them. The latter being the best option for self preservation and protection of ‘Our own’. Protecting our families and protecting ourselves and our perspectives are often admirable qualities. Personally though I would challenge anyone who believes that this should come by being ignorant to the perspective and potential determent of others.
This is where Humility come into play or at the very least self awareness and reflection.
Humility is being able to conceptualise that our own agenda’s, beliefs and reality are no more important that anyone elses. If we practice humility we are able to reflect on what we may have done wrong, how we could have done things differently and how we might approach something to consider the welfare of others in the future. This is the path that allows us to get off our arse and take a pew in front of the someone elses window. The reality though is that even if this is in close proximity, those few steps can be difficult to take.
Nurses practice reflectively, I think this is why I have always been a nurse deep within my heart. This hasn’t always been the case. I have been presented with so many difficult times that can be whimsically referred to as ‘life lessons’. The time that I began to learn from these opportunities was the day that I had my moment…the one where I cottoned on about the rotation of the universe not being around me. The moment that I realised whilst my perspective of these life events played out from my view point, the same movie was being played in another cinema; but the leading lady was a different actress and the sound track was an entirely different genre.
During the hardest times of our lives we are often faced with the most extreme aspects of our inner selves, it is during these times that we ultimately have the opportunity to build or destroy our self worth and confidence, which then directly impacts our Mental Health and well being. If we choose to have a narrow perspective of life and the situations that it throws at us, one without humility then I can confidently predict a negative outcome.
For if we stand up for what we believe in without consideration or respect that there are other sides to the story, where in fact WE may not be the good guy, then we will always be in a battle with others and ourselves. We can argue that our motives are to protect ourselves and others, but we will face the same person screaming back at us with the same reasons and motives. And there will never be a winner, just two different stories with different key points and minor victories, each of which coming at the cost of another.
It is my own belief that we survive with our mental health in tact by taking off our blinkers and lowering our voices. By walking towards our opponents or challenges with an intention to listen and understand in order to achieve the best outcome. It is not always possible. We ultimately only have control over ourselves and the way that we choose to respond to any given set of circumstances. Sometimes the best outcome we can hope for is no more than being brave enough to look at ourselves: what did we do well? What did we do not so well? What might we do differently next time? Can WE be something better tomorrow because of what we did today.
I have always been drawn to motivational speakers and ‘Self Help’ books. I think if I am honest its because I have an inbuilt stubbornness that I will not be thrown off the life boat, instead I will cling to anything and everything that I can to keep me afloat and as you may have already worked out, human connections are my salvation every time. I have to believe there is good in the world. I have to believe that there is good in people.
So as I find myself once again staring at the precipice of change, I am faced with choices. How do I respond to my circumstances? How do I reflect on my own contributions to the things that are not going well? How do I put down my spear, walk forward to my challenges and listen to understand and move forward? This is not a rhetorical question, I have an answer: I will do this but putting my pride at the bottom of a long list of priorities. I will accept that by making myself vulnerable I may be perceived as weak or even as having lost the battle. But I accept that this is only the view point from someone elses window.
I’ve been through this process so many times before and the good news is the more I practice it, the easier it gets. I am proud that I take ownership of myself. I am far from a perfect human being. And the more I work practising with perceptive and humility the more I move towards a life less static and restricted by a conformed idea of what happiness is.
Love and light