Per·spec·tive: A particular attitude or way of regarding something; a point of view.

Perspective — we all have one, whether we realize it or not, and it's a small factor that can make all the difference. Let's face it, life's hard. It's hard for everyone in some way or another. We all have stories that would break someone's heart. We all have things we struggle with and situations we could have handled differently. Your mistakes and your hardships are not what define you. What defines you is how you use them, how you see them and how you can grow from them.

It's easy to look at something that's happened to you and think, "This is so unfair, I don't deserve this." Honestly, that's probably true. You probably don't deserve it, but look around. If you're reading this, it's assumed that you have a roof over your head and a comfortable life, or at least access to modern technology, which is a blessing in itself. Most of you have families and friends and have experienced so much love in your lifetime. The point is, most people don't deserve what happens to them. But the difference are those people who say "How can I use this? Who will I be able to bless and guide because of this storm I'm in now?" instead of the ones who say, "Why me? What's the point?"

Even simple things need perspective. I'm so guilty of complaining whenever I get stuck in traffic. I'm so ashamed to say often times I think my life is "more important" in the moment than someone else's; that the world will stop if I don't get to where I'm going. It's not and it won't. Traffic, more often than not, is because of an accident. How selfish of us to complain when someone's child, sister, friend may be fighting for their lives just miles from us. What a blessing that in that moment we are not the ones fighting to breathe or receiving a call from the police about a loved one; we are just sitting in traffic. Traffic is a blessing; perspective.

Financial worry is everywhere today with the economy the way it is, I'm young and in college so I haven't been thrown into the "real world" yet, but I get that. Worrying about money is awful, and something no one wants to do, but guess what? You are able to worry about it. The beautiful thing about life is that it's always changing. You have people in your life that you get to worry about. You get to wake up knowing you are loved and you want to support the people you love, or even just that you get to support yourself.

This entire world is filled with people who don't even have a cent of money to worry about, they are only worried about surviving day to day with their loved ones. Sometimes we are taken to a low place so that we can remain humble when we get back to the top of the mountain. Some months are worse than others, sometimes you'll be crying over a stack of bills, but you are here and breathing. Those bills will still be there at the end of the day but it isn't guaranteed that your family will. Try to focus on the blessings and the reason you work so hard, the reason you are stressed in the first place. You have purpose in this world far beyond paying the bills; perspective.

In life there are people that you consider to be family, or maybe even your actual family, that stab you where it hurts. They kick you when you're down and you always thought they would be the ones to pick you up. Betrayal only comes from people you love, and it's hard. It's hard to stay positive because situations like that hurt the most. Sometimes the relationship can be saved, and sometimes they can't. Instead of holding onto the hurt, consider what the other person must be going through and the place they must be in to hurt you that way.

Consider what they have experienced and that perhaps that's the only way they were taught how to communicate. Perhaps they only know how to love the way they do, or maybe they truly are toxic and the end to this relationship is a hidden blessing. I saw a quote once that spoke to me and it was "I'm sorry for the people I hurt when I was hurting." Hurt people hurt people. Look at situations like this and realize that because of this person, you can learn so many things about the ways you should treat others. When someone you love hurts you like that, it's motivation to further appreciate and cherish the ones in your life, to not hurt them just because you are hurting; to react with compassion and learn from your mistakes and others who have wronged you. Perspective.

All this to say, perspective is important. Life is as beautiful as you make it out to be. You can choose to see the sunshine or you can choose to complain that it's hot. You can choose to see the storm or you can choose to see the beauty that will bloom from you because of it. Everything has purpose, dear friends. Perspective will take you from feeling content to feeling fulfilled; to feeling like your life matters, because it does; because whatever is happening to you now is the foundation for whatever blessings you will receive later. Stay positive, choose to see purpose, even in traffic.