Perspective. This is life. Everything we see comes at us through a filter. I am reminded of that every day that I look in the mirror, take a selfie, see someone that I deem more beautiful than myself, and on and on and on. Every person’s experience is influenced by past lessons, observations, and experiences. To make changes in our lifestyles, we have to learn to shift our perspective from the negative to the positive.
The Experience of Someone Else’s Negative Perspective
Perspective is often felt as a one-way street because somewhere along the way, humans began comparing their attributes to other humans in a negative way. I am a home health nurse and I was talking to a 40-year-old patient of mine a couple of months ago. We were talking about how we view each other. It started as a discussion of his rapid weight loss after starting a medication to help him get rid of a bunch of extra fluid he was carrying around. He lost 20 pounds in 2 weeks. I commented that he looked great. I didn’t verbalize this part, but he looked a lot healthier when not swollen to the point that he was uncomfortable bending over. He disagreed. He said he hadn’t been this weight since he was a teenager and it made him feel uncomfortable. He felt like a walking skeleton. He also pointed out his bald spot I didn’t notice. Instead of brushing him off with a “you look great” and moving on to the next topic, we talked about how much our perspectives of his physical appearance differed. He told me later that discussing it gave him more to think about beyond what he saw in the mirror. I have thought about that conversation a lot. This perspective of another person’s insecurities caused me to question my perceptions of myself.
Thinking About How We Perceive Ourselves
The question of how we view ourselves is one that we have to ask as we start the process to change our lives. Physical appearance will be the most visible sign to the world that our weight loss journey is successful. What the world won’t see is how we perceive the weight loss and the other changes it brings with it. I have lost over 30 pounds. I’m wearing a smaller pant size. Shirts that were borderline tight now flow like they were intended. The one thing I notice most is how much easier it is to bend over and pick something up off the ground. Another is how much more energy I already feel. These last two things are the two that make me feel the most invincible. The things we can now do that we couldn’t before influence how we perceive our lives. It helps remind us that while others will see us differently, our perception is the one that gets us out of bed in the morning. It is the one that keeps our hand reaching past the peanut butter cups for the apple. We need to harness this power and use it to drive ourselves forward.
The Way to Change Self Perspective
I make a list once a week of new things I’ve noticed. This is something I have started since I began my journey towards a smaller, healthier version of myself. I always try to list five things on Saturday, which is also my weigh-in day. It helps counteract any gains and reinforces the losses shown by the scale. I use it to take the emphasis off the scale by reinforcing the non-scale victories I keep achieving the further down the path I go.
Start the Perspective Shift
My challenge for you is to keep your own list. Don’t give up until you have five. If you can’t identify five new ones, list the ones you are still proud of no matter when you first notice them. One I always list is that I no longer need a seat belt extender on an airplane. Another is that I can put my palms flat on the floor when I bend over. 30 pounds ago I could do neither. Take this opportunity to celebrate yourself. You deserve it!