Something that has always amazed me is perspective. In and of itself, perspective is EVERYTHING. It's incredible how we can become so caught up in our own mind and thoughts; to the point that we're trapped in them. We can feel like the world is falling apart and that everything is crashing down. And then one person can come along and say one thing that just flips our world back into focus. That has always blown my mind. Sometimes, it's that simple. Sometimes all that is really wrong in our lives is our perspective, which is shaped by our attitudes, beliefs, and opinions of the world around us. And sometimes all it takes is one thing, one word, or one person, to give us a different angle that changes our whole mindset. I recently had an experience with the power of perspective.
I've always loved all things quotes, mantras, and sayings. Many times, they have gotten me through rough days and difficult times in my life. However, for quite awhile, I had felt like I was in a sort of "inspiration rut". Nothing that I heard or saw was resonating strongly with me. I wasn't really getting inspiration from, well, anywhere at all. However, I'm also a firm believer that it is through our bad experiences, that the most amazing gifts in life are revealed to us.
A few weeks ago, I was having a rough day. It was mainly sparked by an exchange that I had with a professor of mine. It was an inconvenient array of events. My second month of my senior year in college, I grew very ill and missed two weeks of classes. Naturally, I fell behind and constantly felt like I was drowning in work. It soon became a vicious cycle of attending classes all day, staying up late at night in order to catch up, and then feeling absolutely wiped out for days on end. I felt like there was a constant avalanche that was about to crash down on me. It felt like no matter how hard I tried, I wasn't making progress. But, regardless, I knew that the key was to just keep moving forward. It was okay to be angry, sad, and frustrated; as long as I didn't give up.
It wasn't the way I had planned my senior year to start, but nevertheless, it happened. That was where I was and there was nothing I could do about it. No matter how much I wanted to, I could not rewind time. I could not go back. I was where I was and that was it.
But unfortunately, my professor did not share my perspective. They were rude to me, inconsiderate, uncaring about my struggles, and made comments that were outright uncalled for. They told me things about myself that weren't even true, by placing me in a box of what I was and wasn't capable of. It was astonishing.
That night, I went back to my room in a completely depressed mood. "What was I doing?" I thought to myself. "Maybe they're right. There's no way I can do this." I sat on my bed and scrolled through my Instagram. When suddenly, something caught my eye. I scrolled back to a quote.
"Hurt people, hurt people"
Wow. This was the first "wow" moment that I had in a really long time. It's one of those moments when you feel like you can breathe again. It all made so much sense that I couldn't even process it. And that was when I had a "world flip" moment. In an instant, my entire perspective changed and I felt the power of what I had just read. And it was so. incredibly. true. In reality, the exchange I had had with my professor was not about me. In fact, it had nothing to do with me at all, and everything to do with them. I let the realization of that sink in, and it was the most freeing feeling in the world.
What my professor said to me was hurtful. But I now realized that they acted out of their own hurt. What I also discovered was that even though it didn't feel like it, I had power in that. Even though it was their hurt to begin with and it was coming in my direction, I didn't have to take on that hurt for myself. It wasn't mine to have and was never mine to begin with. We don't have to take on and carry around other people's hurt just because it's "given" or "handed" to us.
Because here's the thing. Sometimes, people carry hurt and bitterness around with them that they can't process for themselves. And when they can't work through that pain on their own, they tend to not only deflect that hurt, but put it onto other people. In and of itself, that can change our whole perspective. It can flip our world out of focus, if we allow it. We can take their meaningless words and put them into who we are. We can allow their perspectives to become ours. We can allow hurt people to hurt us. Or, we can step back and realize that that person is most likely not trying to hurt us. Something inside of them is causing them so much distress and pain, that the only way they can handle it, is to put it on someone else. But I now realize that I don't have to take on that hurt as my own. I can have the realization that it doesn't belong to me, and simply let it go. It may be a small lesson, but it has changed my life...and in a big way.