Shortly after the attacks in Belgium happened last week, there was an overwhelming amount of around-the-clock media coverage on the event itself, as well as an outpouring of messages of love and support for the people of Brussels (and Paris again) over social media and other outlets. However, there was also an outpouring of messages of frustration over the fact that hundreds of other terrorist attacks had happened in places like Turkey since the Paris attacks, yet had seemingly gone unnoticed by so many. For some reason this really struck me, and I ended up in a long discussion with Jamie, The Sweat Life’s Editorial Director, during one of our content meetings.
What I concluded, was that while I completely understand this frustration from so many and actually agree with the fact that we all need to continually work to be more aware, informed, and compassionate global citizens, I actually thought it was completely understandable that people — especially those living in major metropolitan cities — felt hit a bit “closer to home” by the attacks in Paris and in Belgium. These were attacks that happened in cities, settings, and scenarios that touch and reflect so many of our daily lives, and understandably shake the sense of safety and security for those of us living in places not already in a state of conflict (this is actually the point of terrorism). Additionally, these are cities that have so much crossover — both personally and professionally — with New York and other major cities around the world, it just made sense to me that people felt a closer connection to these attacks than to many of the others. Does it make the attacks in Turkey and so many other places in the world any less tragic or worthy of our sympathy and attention? Absolutely not. Am I saying that it’s right that we only choose to pay attention to the things that affect us personally? No. Am I saying that it’s just natural and understandable, and that due to our perspective, these attacks (I’ll use this phrase again) felt “closer to home” and therefore touched so many of us a bit deeper? Yes.
I also think about this a lot when it comes to how much your perspective changes when you lose someone close to you. When I lost my mother, my entire perspective on everything changed. My perspective on mortality, on my relationships, on my family structure, on what’s important in life, on how I want to be spending my time and who I want to be spending it with — everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) changed and I was shaken to my core. I felt an immediate bond with other people who were in “the club of lost parents,” who truly understood what the experience was like. Additionally, I often found myself frustrated with people in my life who seemed to have a lack of perspective and who just “didn’t seem to get it.” I often had to bite my lip when I would hear them complain about what felt like comparably insignificant problems in their lives. And God forbid someone would complain about their mother (even though this was something I did regularly her entire life, even when my mother was sick). However, as the initial shock and grief started to ease, I was able to gain some perspective myself and see that there was no blame to be assigned to anyone around me, we just have different perspectives on life due to our experiences.
I, too, have (and still do) fret over dating, work, relationships with friends, money, and life in general — and that’s completely natural. While certain problems in life don’t feel as significant anymore in comparison to losing my mother, I can’t expect everyone around me to get that if they haven’t been through it themselves, as they just… well… can’t. And that’s true for everyone and everything. Our experiences shape our perspective, and that's just a universal truth of life. However, I do feel no matter what your perspective is, it is something that can, in fact, be lost. It is keeping and being able to shift this perspective that is one of the most important and powerful tools we have in our human toolbox in order to be compassionate and understanding people.
This week’s content is all about New Perspective: celebrity trainer Holly Rilinger talks about how she had to change her perspective when her basketball career ended; yogi Alexa Silvaggio shares how travel can reset your perspective; fitness fashion line Zara Terez explains why they took a new perspective on the future of the company and rebranded as Terez; and yoga instructor Lauren Taus says feeling beautiful is all a matter of perspective.
I challenge each of you to take a moment today to think about your sense of perspective and how it is shaping your life and your relationships. I also challenge you to try to look at one situation, or one aspect in your life, from a different perspective and see how significantly it can shift. You might be surprised!
Until next week,
Founder, CEO, and Host
The Sweat Life