My “nightmare perspective” theory

Have you ever experienced a time when you received really terrible – really horrific – news, and your stomach dropped and your body filled with this despairing darkness, and it felt like the world was never going to be happy again? But then you’d wake up and realise it was just a bad (really bad) dream?

The relief I feel whenever this happens is usually so incredible it’s almost worth being put through the traumatic emotions first. I recently heard about someone receiving a call from a hospital and being informed their sister had died – this person had to go through the pain of saying goodbye, of letting everyone know she’d gone, only to discover it was a case of mistaken identity. I remember thinking: the joy and relief that person must have felt when they answered their phone and heard their sister’s voice on the other end must have been almost too overwhelming. Just imagine, to have gone through that loss and then be given that second chance. It would be like your greatest wish being granted.

But then I also realised that, technically, nothing had actually changed. That person’s sister was there the entire time, but it was the thought of her being gone that made a simple phone call from her the greatest gift her family could ever ask for. And isn’t that true of anything?

That’s all anything in life is: perspective. Perspective and gratitude. It’s easy to say “don’t take stuff for granted”, but it is so easy to forget the everyday things.

But try to imagine your life without them. What would your world be like with those people and those things gone? It can be easy to get caught up in all the “bad stuff” you’ve got going on, but shift that perspective. Look at everything you do have, even if that’s hard.

It’s almost dispiriting to think “it could always be worse”, but it could always be worse. Be grateful for the good things you do have. Know you’ll survive whatever hardships you’re currently going through, because somewhere, someone is probably going through worse, and they’re going to survive, so you can survive as well. Imagine your absolute worst nightmare, where every single good thing in your life is gone, and then wake up yourself up. None of your current problems will be solved, but maybe they won’t seem so dark or “end of the world-y”.

Maybe your current situation will feel like the greatest gift you could ever ask for.

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