Gaining Clarity from how we See the World

Famous American poet and philosopher, Henry David Thoreau famously said, “The question is not what you look at but what you see.” On some level, we were all horrified by the events that took place in our nation’s capital last week. Not surprisingly, it has stirred up even more division and vitriol than existed a week ago, which seemed palpable even on its own.

I have no interest or inclination to get into a political discussion. If you’re looking for that, you won’t have to look very hard. I have determined that I will focus my time on building solutions by offering grace and kindness rather than looking to become involved with the many opportunities available to engage with strangers and especially close friends in a moral online battle. My solution is straightforward; I try to ignore it.

You can feel free to accuse me of being any number of things. Uninformed, uncaring, even unAmerican, but I beg to differ. You see, in 2020 despite everything that happened, which as we all know was enough for a decade, I had one of the best, most peaceful years I have ever had. Again, if you want to know a secret it’s not life-altering, but for me, it has been life-changing.

I simply separate things that I can control from things I cannot. I can cry, fuss, complain, and do many worse things about things over which I have no control. Do you know what the result is going to be at the end of the day? Nothing will have changed except that I will be angrier, more stressed out, and more judgmental than the day before. That is a slippery slope that I do not wish to go skiing on.

Before you accuse me of a pollyanna existence, allow me to tell you that I am working very hard on a certain group of things that are making me take an introspective inventory of my thoughts and actions every day. I do this with a focus on the things that I can – and need to – change. Not only is this a much more productive use of my time, but I am becoming a more happy, healthy, and secure person in the process. 

In the midst of transforming myself, I am also helping others to do the same by encouraging them to do likewise. I think it’s ok, in fact, I think it’s better, to help people along the way that are struggling with similar issues rather than waiting to become an expert on a topic and impart wisdom from a place of authority. 

This is a far different mindset than I have ever looked at the world from before. Among the benefits that I can share with you from it are the following: More hope, a greater sense of security, better sleep, a tremendous amount of gratitude, and genuine hope that the future will be even better. 

Your methods and results may look quite a bit different but as with any worthy endeavor or goal, oftentimes the important thing isn’t as much as achieving the goal and who the person is that we become while working towards it. I cannot encourage you enough to challenge yourself on how you see the world, how you respond, rather than react to them, and the clarity and sense of accomplishment that you will gain from it.

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