Note: This is a guest post written by Anne Lyken-Garner who blogs at Build Confidence and Relationship Blog. You’ve likely seen her awesome comments here at M2bH already. So please share your love with her by sharing your thoughts in the comments as well. Be sure to check out her blogs, then come back, kick up your feet and stay a while!
“While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see.” ~ Dorothea Lange (photojournalist of the Great Depression)
A Profound Lesson on the Power of Perspective
On my holiday to Southern France last year, we spent some time at my in-laws’ converted barn. Their property used to be a traditional French farm, so it’s positioned behind a tiny lane away from the road.
But just off this lane lay a very run-down house. The owners have 9 scrap vehicles stored in their yard. Not only is it an eye-sore, it’s downright unsafe.
The trashy, dilapidated nature of the house is underscored by the backdrop of well-kept and new houses in the rest of the neighbourhood. You get the picture. Let’s just say that initially I had a negative attitude about the house and its owners.
It was only after the 4th day of walking past the run-down house that I noticed a grape vine growing on the fence. I picked a few grapes in passing and popped them in my mouth. I was stunned. They were simply the best I’ve ever tasted.
“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.” ~ John Lubbock
After that experience I stopped seeing the house as the neighbourhood eye-sore, the place of rubbish and the local automotive grave yard. Instead, the house came to mean the best, sweetest-tasting grapes I’d ever had. Thereafter, I actually looked forward to passing the house for another handful of grapes.
This experience taught me a few universal lessons I wish to share with you.
Natural Talents Can be Hidden under the Car Heaps and Baggage of Life
Focusing on what’s going wrong with your life can seriously discolour your vision, obscuring what’s going right. We all have scrap vehicles clogging up our minds and our hearts and pasts. The fact that we’ve grown up only means that we’ve aged, but still likely carry with us much of the same baggage we picked up along the way.
Sometimes it’s easier to keep hold of our baggage than to throw it off. You see, throwing out our old baggage means we have to face the world naked – just as we are, empty hands and all.
We will then have no family histories to use as excuses. There will be no ‘reason’ to treat people unfairly. No ‘excuse’ for failure, no way of lying back and underachieving, blaming the conditions of our pasts on the conditions of our lives today.
Interestingly we sometimes fear loosening our grip on our baggage even when we know it’s weighing us down. When we carry our baggage or hide under the rust and rubble, we effectively bury our talents and play up our faults so that others can only see the negative and weak side of who we are.
If instead we could exercise the confidence to throw off the weight of our pasts, we would be better able to rise to our better selves. You are indeed your own better half. So dig deep into that positive you and you will begin to live with more happiness and fulfillment.
If You Look for the Positive, You’ll Find It, Even in Unexpected Places
There are so many people whose paths I cross each day. In my TV work I meet hundreds of different people from all walks of life. It’s easy to judge them because of the way they ‘appear’ to me.
But this is definitely not a true picture of who they really are. Even in squalor, there can be a thriving grape vine – maybe without the owner even knowing it.
Here’s the thing. We can all look for the positive in the negative. But perhaps even more importantly, we can create positive amongst the negative, wherever we go. Even if others don’t think it matters, I never want to leave a person or place worse off when I leave.
It may not feel worthwhile turning off the lights at the hotel room, for example (you paid for it after all), but in order to leave a positive impact in a space you’ve touched, you will.
Look for the positive in whatever you touch and you’ll begin to see good in amazingly surprising places, even where on the surface, all you can see is car heaps and squalor.
This will do more for you than anything else. It will make you more confident and richer in personality. You will stand out for the positive bright light you bring to the world – sometimes, perhaps the only light around.
Be Confident about the Good in You
The first thing I say when people write and ask me how to build confidence is to encourage them to look for the good in themselves. This is one of the first steps to confidence-building. You positively have to embrace the good in you.
Your past may have been awful, but if nothing else, it showed you what you don’t want to become. You may have been downtrodden, but that made you realize how important it is to lift others up. You may have been bullied and beaten, but that only made you fully understand how painful it is – the kind of pain you never want to inflict on others.
Draw from your negative past to influence your future for the better!
You had no control over what happened to you as a child. But the reins are in your hands now. Where are you taking your life? Where are you going to go?
You’ll come to know the answers to these questions once you decide what’s good about you. Be confident about the things you can do and the happiness you can bring to others.
If you look closely, often just beneath the rubble and rust of your life, you’ll find your own hidden grape vines just waiting for you to harvest.
- What’s hidden under the rubble of your life?
- How have you been able to spot the beauty amidst the ugly and dilapidated in yours or others’ lives?
- Please share you thoughts in the comments below.
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Anne Lyken-Garner is a freelance writer, who specializes in confidence building. She’s also a blogger and editor and author of Sunday’s Child, the inspirational, true tale of a little girl struggling to rise above appalling living conditions, poverty, violence and abuse (out later in Spring). Anne also runs a relationship help blog. Contact her if you need help in any of these niches.
Photo credit: kelly_rae