Zooming out: How to gain perspective on life (slsanderslmft.com)


Zooming out: How to gain perspective on life

One of my hobbies is photography which gives me the opportunity to focus on and photograph the things I find particularly beautiful. In fact, I then turned around and created a poster in my office from it, which serves me as a reminder of this very concept. When I stand behind the camera, I notice that I point my camera in the direction that interests me, providing me the privilege of shying away from less interesting and less visually appealing things. I’ve come to realize we all do the same thing in life. When there are challenges in life, we have the option to choose what we wish to focus on and what we don’t. This concept centers around the idea of what we think we can handle at any given moment. Now, think about this for a moment: If you were taking a picture of a beautiful river, with the sun shining on it and you choose to zoom in on the colors that are reflecting off the water, that’s the image that we will capture and remember about that moment. But what about the rest? What if we’re missing beautiful scenery behind us or to the sides of us that we simply can’t see just because we’re not looking and focusing on what’s right in front of us instead? We have the option of what to focus on; we may not be in control of the scenery but we are in control of where we’re pointing the camera.

When we face challenges, it’s so easy to just FOCUS on the bad and stay in the bad, which makes everything FEEL like it’s bad. But what about the rest of our day/ our week/ our lives? Part of human nature is the need to create resiliency, which is the ability to withstand and recover from difficult conditions. And I choose the word “create” here because it’s not something we’re born with but something we can create and flex, much like a muscle. Just like a muscle, the more we use it, the stronger we get.

Here’s what it does NOT mean: It does not mean that we can’t be sad, angry, frustrated or hurt at the difficult conditions we face. It does not mean we should be harsh with ourselves for feeling bad for feeling bad. It does not mean we should judge ourselves or others at the strong emotions it elicits.

Here’s what it DOES mean: Take a step back from the difficult situation and evaluate your surroundings. Find what’s still good- and there always is, we just need to find it. Perhaps it’s our health that’s still intact; perhaps it’s an amazing family, a strong support system, a job. The more we see how much good we have, the more it puts things in perspective and allows us to zoom out and take a moment to breathe and evaluate how to deal with the difficult. It means that we can be sad and strong. It means we can deal with the challenges but still be frustrated, angry or hurt. These are not contradictions; they are part of being human and part of being human is having a huge array of emotions and the ability to choose how to deal with the difficult conditions. Understanding that we possess the ability to zoom out can be very self- empowering because while we don’t always have control over what happens in our lives, we do possess the ability to learn how to deal with it.


Shlomit Liz Sanders LMFT, CCTP is an online psychotherapist licensed in NY & NJ offering practical strategies to help you live the life you want to live. I help empower insightful and motivated adults to become more intentional about the choices and decisions they make. I can help empower you around anxiety, depression, parenting coaching/ education, relationship issues, couples counseling, and stress management. Reach out to see how I can help you.

SL Sanders LMFT LLC | www.slsanderslmft.com