This morning as I was out walking my dog at 6am I heard a bird giving its morning wake-up call in a tree in front of my neighbours open window. At first I thought about how annoyed I would be if I were that person trying to sleep and being awoken by a noisy bird (for I have been that person!). My next thought though was the complete opposite: “What,” I imagined, “if that person specifically left their window open so that they could be woken up to the sound of birds singing?”. Even though it is not my ideal way to be awoken from slumber (the smell of coffee brewing would do it for me, if anyone is taking notes) it does not mean that someone else does not enjoy what I might consider to be bothersome. What if we changed our thinking to view the ‘noisy birds’ in our lives as beautiful music to our ears?
Step outside yourself
We are born narcissistic, just ask anyone who has ever had a child. Much as we all prefer to be viewed as altruistic or compassionate to others there is no denying that we only get to view this world through one set of eyes, our own. But if we got into the practice of seeing things from someone else’s perspective that would change our thought process and reactions to something completely different… When getting caught in the rain just think of all the good things we can enjoy because of the rain: wonderful fresh food, beautiful flowers, and puddle jumping to name a few. When I am faced with challenges entering a building that is not stroller-friendly (say with stairs and non-automated doors) I just think of those who wouldn’t be able to overcome the challenges as easily, perhaps because of an injury or disability. When stuck in a slow cash lane because of a trainee employee we can empathize with the stress of a first job and be glad we are not struggling through that any longer (unless we are, in which case we should be already empathetic) When we realize the world does not revolve around ourselves it helps us to see our challenges in perspective to the bigger picture and also frees us up to lend a hand where needed, not being consumed by our own desires alone. Try today to see one of your challenges or annoyances from another perspective and practice positivity in your thoughts, you will be a happier person and in turn will spread that to those around you. Who knows, maybe you’ll even start whistling that songbirds tune.