Sometimes all it takes is a different perspective to completely change our outlook on the things we encounter in life. Just as with photography, we have the ability to see the world from many angles, through different lenses, and at varying distances. It is through these little tweaks in perspective that we are able to discover many different facets to seemingly simple people and situations. A new perspective can help you make a new friend, sympathize with someone you are arguing with, or see life in a completely new way. We are lucky to be able to explore so many new views on life simply by just stopping to think.
1. Look at something from the inside-out: This is a photograph of the inside of a raspberry. To me this almost looks like caviar. It glistens and catches the light in a way that the waxier outside of a raspberry never does. It is also more chaotic, flattening out into some sort of amoeba-like entity that looks like it’s slithering along the napkin. So, something that seems rather uniform and lackluster from the outside, may actually turn out to be quite intriguing on the inside. This idea can be applied to everything around us, including people. “Don’t judge a book by its cover” would be another way to say that it’s important to learn about someone’s personality, likes and dislikes, past experiences and outlook on life before judging them instantaneously upon their physical appearance. Taking this idea a little further, outward appearances can also apply to actions and fronts that are put on. Someone may appear grumpy, but may end up being lonely and hurt. At the same time, someone may appear constantly happy and confident, but may actually be really insecure on the inside. It may not always be as easy as inverting a malleable raspberry. Some people are like coconuts: tough to crack. However, if they truly want you in their life and vice versa, you will eventually be able to find a way through.
2. See the world upside-down: The second is a photograph that I have rotated 180 degrees, so that it appears as though I am free-falling into an upside-down room. Sometimes it’s fun to look at things in a way you normally wouldn’t. The phrase, “my world was turned upside down” usually means some great change occurred. At times this feeling occurs in a negative way, as when your child is diagnosed with terminal cancer or your husband dies suddenly. Neither of these events are things that are anticipated or can be prepared for, which is why it is easy to understand why these people would feel like their lives have been upturned and nothing seems to be right anymore. For those of us on the outside of events like this, it is important to take the time to turn our heads upside down and try to better understand where they are coming from. A child’s bed which once tucked in a precious life is now barren with sheets thrown back and a mother’s tears and perfume soaked through the pillow. A toothbrush which once cleaned the smile that showed a wife she was loved has now been dry for weeks. Life will never be the same. We can only hope that as time goes on, with a little help from family and friends, their lives will slowly begin to rotate back to on upright position. Of course life will never go back to normal, but at least this way they can feel more like the tower of Pisa than a yogi doing an ongoing headstand for months on end.
Good events can also turn someone’s world upside down. People who are in love often describe it as “falling head over heels” or feeling like they are walking on air. In this way, they are meeting someone who they feel has changed their life. Maybe they did lead a good life to begin with, but always felt something was missing. Love is a wonderful thing and I do believe this kind of love exists in our world. But you must also be careful of those tornados that are going to sweep you up and knock you on your butt before you even have a chance to process what is going on. Make sure to stay grounded enough to know when you’re ready to let someone pull your life in an entirely new direction. This way, even if he/she makes you feel like you’re walking on air, you never lose sight of your own ambitions and desires.
3. Take a closer look: This is zoomed-in photograph of a shoelace. It’s pretty cool how you can see the different fibers that make up each lace. Sometimes we miss important details if we don’t take the time to look more closely at things. Similar to taking the time to look on the inside and gain that perspective, getting a closer view often allows us to see the intricate details that we may otherwise overlook. For example, you can see a tiny piece of grass in the bottom right-hand corner of the photograph. This detail tells you that I wear my sneakers outside (shocking, right?) and perhaps that I don’t always stay on the sidewalks and like to explore places off the beaten track. Okay, so maybe you think I just like to roll around in the grass instead of thinking I like to take the road less travelled by, but it was worth a shot to get you to think I’m super cool like Robert Frost. Anyway, regardless of your own interpretation of the grass, this is definitely something that would be missed if you were to simply look at my sneakers from a normal distance. This just goes to show that if we don’t take the time to look more closely at things, we may miss details that could reveal something important about the person or object. I’m not saying the next time you go to Central Park you should get down on your hands and knees so that you can have a better view of people’s shoelaces as they walk by—I don’t want you to get arrested…or kicked in the face. But instead, take the time to explore this perspective in a safe and sane manner. You’ll be surprised at what you find!
4. Get to the bottom of it: This is a photograph of the bottom of a chandelier. Looking at the base, where something originates from, can often give us a better idea of why that thing is the way it is. For this chandelier, we can see that the star-like shape of the iron base it what keeps it from falling apart. If this was thinner or made of a different material, it may not be strong enough to hold up the lights or jewels hanging from it. The same concept can be applied to people. When we know where someone came from and how they were brought up, it gives us a better perspective and we are then more able to understand them on a deeper level. You can tell a lot about someone from their base—it is where they grow and expand from. It is also what constitutes balance. So, if the base isn’t strong enough, the entire structure can be thrown off. This isn’t always necessarily true. There are a lot of people in this world who rise out of dire circumstances and grow up to be very successful and happy people. However, it is still important to use this perspective and consider the influence one’s upbringing has on molding each of their personality traits, fears, habits, and goals in life.
5. Try seeing life through a different lens: This is a photograph of my kitchen seen through a ginger ale bottle. It gives the room a nice green tint, don’t you think? This reminds me of the saying “looking at the world through rose-colored glasses.” That particular lens reflects optimism and pretty much means the person wearing the glasses is seeing the best in things and has a cheery perspective on all things in the world. It is nice to approach life with an optimistic attitude. However, it is also important to make sure not to glue these rose-colored glasses to you face because, let’s face it, no one likes a person who steps in dog sh*t and goes, “Wow, this is so great!!” Laugh it off. Make a sarcastic joke about it. It’s really not a big deal. But, don’t pretend you enjoy having that nasty stuff on your shoe and plaguing everyone around you with the stench. Because, for lack of a better word, that’s a load of crap. The lesson that can be taken from those people sporting rose-colored wayfarers is that approaching something with different internal feelings and a different attitude makes all the difference. If you go into a situation telling yourself that you’re going to have an awful time then you probably will. However, if you switch your lens and tell yourself you are going to make the most out of whatever happens to you then you will probably end up having a much better time. It’s all about perspective.
6. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes (or, in this case, skin): I like to call this photo, “Life through the eyes of a clementine.” Looks pretty crowded and caged in, right? And here we are thinking cuties are small because cuties are for kids. No, cuties are small because they starve themselves so they can try to squeeze through that plastic prison cage to freedom. It’s sad how the media portrays things these days. In all seriousness, sometimes it’s beneficial to put yourself in other’s shoes. It helps you think outside your own little bubble and consider how someone else feels for once. We live out each and every one of our days thinking about our own feelings: what we want to eat for dinner, our opinion on the book we just finished reading, how we feel when our boss constantly dozes off onto her keyboard…” But what about all of the people we interact with every day and those living in a world we never knew existed? How do they feel today? How do they feel about the things we say or don’t say to them? What would it be like to live in a village in Africa where travelling 10 miles to find clean water is a daily routine? If we think about how much time we use to think about ourselves each day and use even a quarter of that time to think about others, our world would be a much better place.
So, the next time you go to bite into a clementine…..haha, no…the next time you complain about having “no food in the house” when really there’s just not new and exciting food, think about the girl who has been eating canned beans for the past two months because that’s all her family can afford. Or, the next time you’re mad that you twisted your ankle and have to sit out of a soccer game at recess, think of the child in the hospital who would give anything to be sitting on that bench right now because it would mean being outside in the fresh air. We all have our bad days, but stopping each day to think about the lives of other people around us, people we may not even know, really puts things in perspective and makes us realize just how lucky we really are.