I flew to Philadelphia in April of this year (2019) for the Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) Conference. This means I flew from Miami to Philadelphia and then returned. I noticed from the air that the coast looks so very similar no matter where you are. The buildings and trees, the ocean, etc. From thirty thousand feet, nuances are blurry and the large outlines look the same.

That got me thinking about how my outlook on life has changed irrevocably since my diagnosis with stage IV metastatic breast cancer in 2017.

The formal definition is as follows:

perspective | per·spec·tive |  \ pər-ˈspek-tiv  \

1a: a mental view or prospect to gain a broader perspective on the international scene Current Biography

b: a visible sceneespecially  : one giving a distinctive impression of distance : VISTA

2a: the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed places the issues in proper perspectivealso  : POINT OF VIEW

b: the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance trying to maintain my perspective

3: the appearance to the eye of objects in respect to their relative distance and positions

4a: the technique or process of representing on a plane or curved surface the spatial relation of objects as they might appear to the eyespecifically  : representation in a drawing or painting of parallel lines as converging in order to give the illusion of depth and distance

b: a picture in perspective

I think the different definitions taken together underline and emphasize that the position of the observer and the observed makes a big difference. It may sound trite; at the same time, I have found that looking at any situation from a variety of points of view can provide clarity.

That’s not to say that it’s easy to adjust your perspective. In a stressful or difficult situation, I find that my ability to put myself in another’s shoes is significant compromised.Nearly impossible. Yet, when the intensity of the moment has passed, then the usefulness of examining the stressful situation from other points of view comes into play. I can’t say that I’m an expert, but I do try my best to examine the situation from alternative points of view. I see far more when I make this effort.How has your perspective changed over time?

16 thoughts on “Perspective

  1. I was already a mental health nurse when I developed my mental illness. That was a really interesting perspective shift, and that dual perspective really impacted my experience both as a nurse and as a patient.

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  2. When I taught 2nd grade for a year, my kids would always say when someone was mad or sad, “Turn your frown upside down!” For adults, I’d change it to turn your trauma into a learning experience.

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  3. I often find myself reflecting about perspective. I tend to reflect and see differing perspectives as a situation occurs then reflect some more later on. The biggest change for me since my cancer diagnosis is simply having more personal experiences has enabled me to see and understand more perspectives if that makes sense?


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