A Matter of Perspective.

July 22, 2023

A Matter of Perspective.

May 29, 2023

Many years ago, I was seeing two late eighty-something women in my psychotherapy practice.

The first woman was attractive, well-dressed with impeccable make-up. She was a bit on the vain side and was bemoaning how she would need to have her rings resized because of her swollen fingers due to her arthritis. Being non-judgmental as a therapist, I did my best to empathize and be compassionate with her about her upset.

Several hours later another woman who was the same age came in. She was bent over from crippling arthritis and walking slowly with a cane and had a radiant smile on her face. The contrast between the two was so striking, I said to this woman, "I couldn't help but notice and be curious about your wonderful smile even as you seem to be having some difficulty walking. Can you tell me what's behind that?"

She looked at me and said, "I was just thinking how great this cane is going to look five years from now when I'm in a wheelchair."

She focused on what she still had and was grateful for rather than focusing, as the first woman did, on what she had lost.

That's what I call perspective.

What is something in your life where having perspective might help your frame of mind?

Mark Goulston is a business psychiatrist, 'Marshall Goldsmith MG 100’ executive coach, the author or co-author of nine books including, "Just Listen," which has been translated into 28 languages, and the creator of Surgical Empathy.

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