Does perspective have a shelf life?

Things don’t always happen the way we expect them do, or would like them to. How we react to those situations can be the exact same actions that define us. Sometimes you lose it. Call it self destruction, melt down, temporary lapse in sanity.. whatever you choose. We know the phenomenon and we know it can happen to us.

What matters most is how well you walk through the fire
— Charles Bukowski

Even if you are able to spend the vast majority of your time in a positive reinforcing environment, something is bound to throw you off your path. And that’s okay. Depending on the severity of the disruption there will hopefully be something to learn from this upset in the day to day flow.

Confidence is gained through knowledge and belief that you understand and can navigate a given situation or circumstance. When that navigation fails you, or an unexpected pothole shows up on your lawn, it can and should make you stop and reassess. This will also shake your confidence, and it is up to you how you recover.

For a long time, to recover for me was to put things back where they were. Try to re-assemble the structure after it was changed and get back to the correct or comfortable configuration. This works sometimes, but is often ignoring the lessons learned from this shake up. I would do this out of fear, out of discomfort or simply because I felt that is what you are supposed to do.

Imagine it like a shelf of belongings that falls down because someone opened a door into the shelf and knocked everything off of it. Maybe the shelf broke, and you need to repair part of it, would you use the same part that broke before?


What about moving the shelf? If it is potentially in harm's way it could be worth the extra effort to take the shelf down, and put it somewhere else where it will not be hit by the door opening to quickly? Why was that shelf next to the door in the first place?

Every fallen shelf will have it’s own set of circumstances and value. Maybe the shelf is full of dusty junk and was just waiting to fall down. In this case, the fallen shelf is more like a blessing in disguise than a big problem you need to clean up.

The falling shelf, regardless of circumstance or value, will present a choice. A choice to pick up the pieces and place everything right back where it was. A choice to re-evaluate each item on the shelf and get rid of things that no longer need to be there. A choice to move the shelf somewhere else, more sturdy and with better light, or a choice to say, this shelf no longer has value and perhaps should be removed from the walls we surround ourselves with.

So when you find yourself standing in the fire, or staring at a shelf full of belongings that are unceremoniously scattered on the floor in front of you, remember that your actions in these situations define your ability to adapt, grow and learn.

Taking the few deep breaths to assess and determine the best outcome for you at that time can be the difference between progress and blindly rebuilding something simply because you are comfortable with it.

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