top of page

Getting Perspective

I wrote this a few years back, but I feel it’s once again (or still) timely. It’s important (at least for me) to note that when I’m reflective or introspective as I am here, I’m not trying to tell you what to do or how to feel. I'm simply offloading what’s on my mind, and if it resonates, so be it. I’m sharing this today because I need some reinforcement in how I create and appreciate my days, the people around me and the perspective they offer.


A guy on the street without a penny to his name.

A mom hugging her child in the airport.

An old woman whose car stalled at a busy intersection.

A couple caring for a sick parent.

A young family just getting through their busy day.

Lately, I’ve encountered situations, heard about things and observed people that have help me gain perspective about myself and my life.

I won’t go into detail, but each of these stories (among many others) had their own perspective-building theme: sad, uplifting, scary, disappointing, tragic, inspiring.

While I wasn’t directly involved in any of these situations, I was, nonetheless, moved by each and the people involved. And each, at least temporarily, made me look at myself and my own condition differently.

And that’s the interesting thing about perspective, for me at least. It’s temporary. Why is that? How can something that grabs you and compels you to immediately take account of all the things you have in your own life be gone within hours–or minutes–leaving you back at square one, right where you started the day?

Perspective brings a welcome sense of balance to our lives, and it comes at the most innocent times, when we least expect it, allowing us to reset our attitude or mood. But strangely (or is it?), it also happens at that exact moment when we need it: those times when we’re having a bad day, when we’re at a low point.

I can’t tell you how often I’ve been in the dumps, feeling sorry for myself, anxious, stressed out or like nothing was going right. And then, something or someone came along and make me realize that things aren’t so bad after all. It happens often, and I’m grateful when it does.

The difficult part about perspective is that we often get it by observing the hardship of others: disease, a lost job, divorce, addiction.

But it can also come through inspiring stories, people who have overcome challenges and obstacles, achieving things they never in their wildest dreams thought they could. These people, too, give me a different way to look at things and myself.

I wish I could recall all the perspective I’ve gained in my life and put it to use when I need it the most. I wish I could call it up when I’m feeling like my life is in the proverbial shitter … or even when I just need a slap in the face, something to give me balance. I wish I could keep it with me at all times to give to others when they need it.

But I can’t. I can only try to act on those perspective-building moments when they present themselves, to change my behavior and become more aware of others around me so I can use it to my advantage and help those who need a leg up, whether it’s a kind word, money, my time or just a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on.

A while back–several years now–I decided to pay more attention to the people around me, and by that, I mean all the people around me: family, friends, people I meet at events, and complete strangers. My hope is to create an ongoing stream of perspective, a lens through which what I observe about these people will help me become more aware of those around me, the challenges they face, the joy they feel, the heartache, the anxiety, or maybe the uncontrollable grip of something bigger. And in some cases, to gain a new awareness and appreciation for the simple things that happen around me every day. Because that’s important too.

I’m hoping that this exercise gives me the ability to look at things and people from new angles, to better understand the human condition, and to become more accepting and open-minded.

A friend of mine likes to say, “There’s three sides to every story: yours, mine and the real story.” I’m hoping to spend less time judging people and situations based on only having my side of the story; my perspective. Instead, I’m going to be more aware of others and what might be happening in their world so I can better appreciate what I have, understand what others are going through, help out in any way I can, adjust the way I look at and live my life (i.e., my perspective), and to create a better world around me.

© 2024 David R. Haznaw


25 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All



bottom of page