I was riding the public bus home from work this evening when a man seated across from me began to engage me in conversation. Before I knew it , I was listening to a tirade against politics, America and hearing his informed opinion of how it's all a scam, America is doomed, all the other countries want us dead and the rich get richer while the poor get poorer.
By the time he had finshed, do you know what had happened? I had left the conversation. In fact, I mentally checked out of it half way through, once I realized that he was angry about his life and saw the world from a skewed, darkened perpsective where everything is rotten. In that man's worldview, everything going on is a large plot, underscored by greed, hate and evil.
I write about this tonight because this encounter today got me to thinking: A great deal of what we will personally experience in a given day is based upon our perspective. Now, obviously OCD and other genuine mental health issues are not caused by our perpsective on life (though they can inform it) but that doesn't mean how we choose to react to the world aorund us when we're struggling with these issues doesn't have a powerful effect on us.
Consider this: In a world where we already hear so much bad news on top of the extra weight of the problems those of us on this site are coping with, it's too easy to slip into negative thinking to the same degree as the gentleman I ran into on the bus. I'd be remiss if I pretended there weren't a lot of truly horrible things going on out there at any given moment that would make even the bravest soul weep (don't worry folks, this gets more upbeat in a bit. Stay with me).
However, there's a lot of truly wonderful things in the world. I wrote the other day that we're all living miracles. Well, we're also living in a miracle. The world is a miracle. You just have to look at it with the right set of eyes to see all the amazing stuff going on around us.
The problem isn't that good things don't happen, the problem is that most of our global civilization operates on the premise that bad news sells. Put disaster, , chaos and apolcayptic rumbings on the nightly news,and you have ratings. Syria shot chemical weapons at their own people and within a week the world was watching with baited breath to see if World War III was going to start, because every media outlet treated these events as if nukes were due to start flying at any given minute.
You know what else happened during the week or two of that "crisis"? Babies were born. People who had been laid off for years found jobs. People met and fell in love. A child born in poverty somewhere finally managed to graduate at the top of their class . Flowers bloomed, dolphins swam and the celestial ballet of the unvierse kept spinning in all of its heavenly wonder. Most of all, each of us – you, me, them (shameless Blues Brothers reference. Sorry. Couldn't resist) – were afforded another day to experience any or all of these amazing things.
That's why I think it's even more important for those of us who experience OCD and/or the other conditions which fall under its umbrella to switch things up and adopt a better, healthier perspective. We already know how sour things can get out there. While we should always take care to deal with issues that arise which need our attention, focusing on what's wrong and expecting everything to turn for the worse is only going to weaken our resolve and dilute our energy
If you've been reading my blogs so far , you'll know that anger is a big thing in my life. I've dealt with it for years. Well, this is one of the ways I learned to control it. I adopted a healthier perspective.
So think about this when you wake up tomorrow:
You woke up. You're alive. You have an entire day of life ahead of you to make whatever impact you see fit to make. If you're employed, you're going to do something productive and earn a living. Maybe you're a student who's going to learn something. Or perhaps you're reading this from a facility where you're residing while they treat you. Hey, you're alive to read this, which means you are now one day closer to getting better. Everything could just as easily go smoothly as badly, the very best could happen instead of the worst and something beautiful might be gained. We wake up with clean slate every day as far as what's going to happen next, so we might as well give ourselves that edge and approach it from the perspective that there 's enough genuine wonder and beauty out there to make it worth fighting the good fight for.