Perspective Isn't Everything, but a Lot Depends on It
You may have heard some variation of the famous saying, "perspective is everything." While many people believe this is a good life philosophy, I disagree. Perspective is vital, but it is not everything.
What Is Perspective?
According to Cambridge Dictionary, perspective is "the way you think about something."1
For example, if you believe that public schools do more harm than good to students, then from your perspective, a public school is an unsuitable educational institution. If you think challenges are vital for a person's growth, then your perspective will enable you to keep going in difficult situations.
The above examples highlight how your point of view influences your thoughts, feelings, and actions. In situations where you have little-to-no control, a positive perspective will often help you cope better than a negative perspective.
You Cannot Always Put a Positive Spin on Challenges
Some situations are so bleak that it is impossible to find any good in them. For example, if someone is going through a severe depressive episode, telling them to cheer up because they will be more grateful afterward is unethical. Words like these are of no use and will only cause pain to the listener. Ignoring the negatives as if they don't exist is engaging in toxic positivity, which is harmful to your mental health.
That Said, Perspective Does Matter
Perspective cannot always trump reality, but a balanced perspective can help you get through tough times. As I said above, telling someone to cheer up during a depressive episode is wrong. However, if you tell them that the episode will eventually end, you can help them to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Thus, a balanced perspective will help instead of catastrophizing, a phenomenon I've found to be common in depression.
So, whether or not you can make lemonade when life gives you lemons, know that life will someday stop giving you lemons. As Whitney Wolfe Herd said,
"life is about perspective and how you look at something . . . ultimately, you have to zoom out."2
perspective. (2023b, March 15). Meaning - Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/learner-english/perspective
Perspective Is Everything. (2019, October 20). C3 Conversations Inc. https://c3conversations.com/perspective-is-everything/
(2023, March 22). Perspective Isn't Everything, but a Lot Depends on It, HealthyPlace. Retrieved
on 2024, February 25 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/mentalhealthforthedigitalgeneration/2023/3/perspective-isnt-everything-but-a-lot-depends-on-it