When I first discovered the “One Little Word” challenge, I chose “Embracing” as my one little word for 2015. Last year, my word was “Passion” partly inspired by my Passion Planner, a gift from my son, Matt, and daughter-in-law, Rachel. For 2017, I have chosen “Perspective” …or should I say it has chosen me.
In art, “Perspective” means depicting objects so their spatial relationship to each other and the viewer is clear by diminishing the size of objects in the distance. In writing, as in life, it is a point of view. Recently, I have come to realize that not everyone sees things as I do. “What?” you might gasp. “How can that be?” As a One on the Enneagram, I can’t believe it either, but it’s true. And I am finally understanding this strange concept.
Though I dread bringing this up, the recent election brought a new perspective. My candidate did not win, and I spent weeks in fear…yes, FEAR. Then I watched CNN commentator Van Jones interview a family of Trump supporters, and I realized they were as afraid of my candidate as I was of theirs. Something shifted within me
In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Atticus Finch tells his daughter Scout, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” While watching that interview, I think, for a second, I was able to do that. On a human level, we were the same. We were afraid. I looked at the situation from their point of view. While it didn’t change my political viewpoint or my disappointment, it helped ease my fear and soften my attitude about those who voted differently.
My daughter, Kate, works with children and teens removed from their homes because of abuse and neglect. These kids often act out, even become violent, as a result of their past experiences. Kate told me about a concept from the Collaborative Problem Solving program she uses where she doesn’t see the kids GIVING her a hard time, but rather, the kids HAVING a hard time. What a difference that perspective makes when dealing with someone who is being difficult because of the pain in his or her life.
I wanted my word to be something spiritual or deep or inspirational. “Perspective” seemed so ordinary on the surface. But I think as I apply it throughout 2017, I will find it to be spiritual, deep and inspirational as I step out of my skin and into others’ in order to learn, understand and accept.
Have you chosen One Little Word for 2017? I’d love to hear about it.
Happy New Year.