Sometimes it’s hard to take a step back and see things objectively. It's easy to become ensnared in the drama of our lives and entangled in the narratives of our minds. Changing our perspective, or re-framing our feelings and experiences, can be challenging. This is particularly true when our way of seeing things is negative. Practicing the ability to re-frame a situation and shift your mindset can be incredibly useful.
As Shakespeare famously wrote, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” The fundamental truth of this has stood the test of time, and yet it can remain a difficult concept to grasp.
So, how do we change our way of seeing things? Any one of the following tried and tested methods may just help.
There is nothing like meditation for creating an opportunity to step back and cultivate a more balanced perspective, as well as offer the head space you need to make adjustments to your thinking. (Learn how in Meditation 101.)
If you want a more direct way of tackling your thoughts, try journaling about them. The act of putting words on a page can help clarify ideas and potentially write your way out of any messy thought knots.
Talk it Out
Find a trusted friend to discuss the issue or situation with. Make sure you choose someone who will be willing to challenge you and offer fresh insights. Tell them you’re wanting to change the way you see the situation and stay open to their suggestions.
Work Through Alternatives
List all the alternative ways the situation could be seen. Consider who would think differently about it, what they might say, and what the opposite perspective to your own would be, etc. (Learn more in How to Open Your Mind.)
Once you’ve considered a way of seeing things that will better serve you rather than worrying about how exactly you go about making this change, visualize yourself with your new perspective. How will you look, feel, talk and act? The more vivid, detailed and alive you can make this picture, the easier it will be to step into it.
Be compassionate with yourself and practice ahimsa (non-harming). Changing your way of seeing things is a big step, but it’s also a powerful skill that is well worth practicing. Once you’ve mastered it, you’ll be able to turn any situation to your advantage and cultivate a happier, healthier mindset in the process. (Read on in Ahimsa: A Self-Practice.)