Photo Credit: www.grand-illusions.com
Before reading this article, focus on the picture. Let your eyes gently look upon it's simplistic beauty. Have you marveled at the dark lines and distinguished figure? Good, because I have a very important question to ask you. Don't think about it too hard, just answer. What did you see?
Well, obviously you saw the young Lady looking away in such an elegantly distasteful manner. You might even ask yourself what could have been said to made her turn so abruptly. Was it her lavish upbringing mixed with a sour disposition to those of less exquisite taste in fashion? We will never know, and the background behind her prideful plume is irrelevant to this piece. Wait what? You didn't see her at all? Her chin is nestled against the fur coat right above her pitch black choker, and her nose is slightly peeking over her softly curved cheek bones. See her now?
Of course, some of you saw something entirely different. You saw an old lady with a firm grimace attached to her aging face. Her nose is crooked and pointed down towards her upper chest, and her eyes are receding behind little upturned wrinkles. There is even a wart on her nose, just above the arching bridge. She also has dark hair that is gently covered by a white head covering.
When I first asked you to look at the picture, most of you probably didn't see both ladies. You either saw the young, wealthy woman or the elderly lady. If you'd already seen this drawing, you saw both at the same time. Life works in similarly mysterious ways.
How we look at life determines how we live life. It all depends on what you accept and reject. If you accept failure and live only to disprove it, then you will never be satisfied even when you're successful. On the other hand, if you accept success but improve yourself after each setback, then you will be nearly impenetrable in your dreams. But, the main question is, how do you get to that point?
Some of us could only see the old lady in the picture above at first. It would not be a lie to believe that an old lady was in that picture, because she is, but it would be ignorant to disregard the young woman coexisting in the same drawing. By ignoring that fact, we failed to see the entire picture. We would only see what we wanted to see.
A lot of people do the same thing in their lives. To show an example of this in action, I will rip a page out of the story of my personal life and share it with you. I recently lost my job. It was a difficult experience that has taken some time to get adjusted to. Even as I'm writing this I'm still fighting back the negative thoughts that are assaulting my mind.
Why couldn't I perform well enough to keep my job? How could I have let my fiance down by not trying harder to keep it? Are my parents mad at me because of my failure? Will I ever be happily married and successful in my career? Will this be an indicator for the rest of my life? No. It won't.
I could list all of the screaming thoughts shrieking through my mind but I will spare you the discomfort. Instead, let's focus on what I am doing to silence them. Instead of speculating on what my life will look at based on what has happened, I will base my future on what I WANT to happen, and work towards that. Do I want to be homeless? No. Do I want to be a wonderful husband and great father with a steady job and successful, inspiring career? Yes.
So here's how to look at it. First off, we need to address the elephant in the picture above. Don't you see it? Look at the picture again. Harder this time. A little harder. Maybe just stop reading and scroll up if you don't remember what it looked like. It's trunk is nestled softly along the fur coat and it's eyes are big and black. Don't see it? Good. There isn't one.
Sometimes life tries to twist the picture into something it was never meant to be. If you lost sight of your picture, you're likely to believe anything. Your picture consists of your hopes, dreams, aspirations, desires, passions, personality, character, charisma, and everything that makes you a unique person. The moment you stop thinking about who you were born to be is the moment something else can be born in you that you didn't want, like bitterness, anger, grief, regret, and pain.
You may have had to scroll up to the picture above to make sure there wasn't an elephant, or you just assumed I was right and didn't check. If something in your life doesn't add up to who you believe you are, it may be time to double check your picture. Take some time to yourself, think about who you want to be, not who the world tried to mold you into. Once you get that down, you can start solving the puzzle of perspective.
Now, back to my story. There were two main trains of thought I could've boarded at the station. First, I could've believed that I was a failure, with slim chances at finding another job as good as the one I had lost. It was true that I made some mistakes at my job that could have hindered me from further success, but I couldn't allow myself to focus there. Learning from a mistake is one thing, but constantly lamenting an error would only lead to it's unwilling repetition later on in life.
The second train, which I am currently working on boarding, is far more uplifting. I realized that I had a gift to help others laugh, smile, and feel positive about their day. It was astounding to see the reaction to my departure. People checked on me and asked me if I was okay and told me they'd miss me. A lot of them were employees I didn't personally work with, but only spoke with on breaks. A few of them became close friends of mine, who I still keep in contact with.
I didn't need to focus on losing the job, which was painful, but on the friendships I made, the connections I established, the atmosphere I brought with me, and the laughter we shared while I was present. I realized from that point on that I could help lift up people who were sad, encourage people who were down, and inspire people to laugh at life even when it was being difficult. In fact, this blog started during the period of time I was employed there.
So, even though losing my job was difficult, I discovered more about myself and am able to confidently stand in who I was made to be. It's been difficult to get to this point, but I believe we all can. When life tries to show you pictures, always seek the one that fits in line with who you are and live in it. Whether your life looks like the old woman or the young lady is up to you. Just don't go looking for the elephant.