water glass

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“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life, not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens. ~ KHALIL GIBRAN”

Carmen, Allison  (2013-03-27). The Book of Maybe: Finding Hope and Possibility in Your Life (p. 19). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Kindle Edition.

This quote reminds me of how I look at myself in the mirror—-with an attitude of seeing only what I hope the world sees rather  than what is really there. Seriously, this quote has gotten me to take a serious look at my life. Has my life been reality—–or only the reality my mind let me see? Can I change the way my mind looks at my reality to change my reality? I tend to think the answer to all these questions is “yes.”  All of my experiences have been real to me and part of my reality. However, I have seen an “attitude of gratitude” change someone from a victim to a happy survivor  too many times not to realize that looking at the glass as “half-full” rather than “half-empty” makes a real difference in whatever reality we experience.

But where this quote is leading me this afternoon is looking at my life as being “over two-thirds full” rather than being “two-thirds over.” The lessons my life has taught me are important ones to me. Like most people, I can see much more clearly retrospectively than I could at the time. In the past, I tended to invest in friendships and affairs of the heart based on perceived potential rather than reality. As a result, I learned you can waste months and years of your life trying to either change yourself to match another’s expectations or trying to change another to meet yours.

Now my mind looks at people and relationships differently. I no longer spend time focusing on “what’s in it for me” or “how can I make them happy so they will like me”—-both of these ways of relating to people were located at opposite ends of a ego-centered continuum that was not reality based. I now know I am responsible for my attitudes and my behaviors—–not someone else’s.

What I have learned to do as I’ve matured spiritually is to try to see people as they are….and myself as I am rather than as a reflection of the other’s person’s expectations. I try to focus on what that person needs; I try to see reality in the context of that person’s perspective. Creating a context of empathy gives me an idea of what, if anything, I can do to help them. I try to think about  what I can do to for them rather than what they can do for me. I do this because it is what God wants me to do—- and not to “earn”  their affection like I have in the past.

My mind experiences a different type of life when I am able to do this. Living other-centered and/or God-centered puts a whole new perspective on things. It feels wonderful not to have to worry about what impression I am making on others….and when I do feel that old self-conscious worry start to creep in, all I have to do is remind myself it is not about me. It is about sharing and being a channel for God’s love.

Another “life-perspective” change for me has been to try to ask myself what God wants me to learn from a situation rather than feeling scared, angry, or overwhelmed by the situation. I don’t always succeed, but I am making progress in this area. I know I am rambling, but I wanted to give you some idea of some of the major changes I’ve made recently in how my mind “looks at what happens” so that the spiritual quality of my life is greatly improved.

How does the way your mind looks at something influence your life? Please comment and share your ideas. May God bless and keep you.