Draw a line across a sheet of paper. Starting on the left, number it off one to ten. Label the line, PERSPECTIVE.
Now, name a topic. (Politics, love, education, guns, harassment, libraries, computers, teenagers, etc.) Your point of view or attitude, about any given topic, is called perspective. Look at the line you drew. If your viewpoint of any topic falls between three and seven, you have a mentally healthy way of seeing something. If it is stuck on one or two, or nine or ten, you run the risk of not having a perspective, but an absolute, inflexible, rigid opinion.
I find travel helps me broaden my perspective. Examples: Seeing women living in polygamy communities, visiting Auschwitz, helping with Katrina, driving through Indian Reservations, teaching students in China, and communicating in countries where I don’t speak the language. Travel makes it easier to grow a big-picture perspective.
If travel hasn’t been your experience, you can visit every culture in the world and live the life of anyone you imagine while reading a book. I recently read about Nomads, people who live in camper trailers or vans and travel the country working for Amazon in the cold months and RV parks in the Summer. Their stories stretched my understanding of the working poor and the innovation required to eat, sleep, and get to the next job.
If reading isn’t your thing, try listening to others. Anytime we hear more than we speak we can learn a ton. Today, I visited with a man who lost his home to a fire. I have never experienced a fire trauma, so I learned emotional, financial, and humanitarian aspects involved in the loss of every earthly possession and the process of recovery.
Look at the line again. If your perspectives fall within the range of 3-4-5-6 or 7, you are living a mentally healthy attitude. You can hear and learn from other’s points of view, and perhaps give them the benefit of knowing more about a particular subject than you might know.
I recommend cutting the 1-2-9-10 off your line. When your thoughts are narrow, and your mind is closed, you are losing a lot of valuable knowledge, and possibly even a few friends.
How healthy is YOUR perspective?
Until the next time: Live while you live.
Jennifer Goble, Ph.D., LPC, is the author of “My Clients…My Teachers,” and the blogger and writer of Rural Women Stories: www.ruralwomenstories.com.
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