This archived article was written by: Josie Sue Slade
From a very young age we are instilled with what we call “world perspectives.” These perspectives shape everything we do. From how we view the world and ourselves, to how we do things. While some perspectives can have a positive effect, many of these perspectives negatively impact our lives and force us to believe things that aren’t true.
Darrin Brandt, director of the disability resource center said, “Most of our perspectives about the world are experienced into us as we’re very young. We learn through socialization. We’re taught that certain things are good and certain things are bad. We are taught that we need to be a certain way to be happy. If we are a different way then we are bad, then we will be sad. These perspectives are usually given to us by people who are just as imperfect as we are.”
Many of the habits we have are learned, are given to us by the people who raised us. This can vary from your parents to your teachers. All of these people have an impact on our lives, often without even realizing that they do.
Let’s say that, in a hypothetical situation, we are faced with a second grader and the teacher he sees everyday. One day this boy goes into class when the teacher makes one snap decision. In front of the other students, the teacher kneels down and tells this boy, “It’s okay. You’re just a slow learner.” This statement, even if untrue, has given this boy a perspective that will follow him through the rest of his life. From that moment, he begins to believe that he is dumb.
A perspective on someone like this one can change the course of their life forever. If you go through school, through life, believing that you are dumb and can’t do it; then you won’t be able to do it. Our minds have more power over us than we realize. This is why world perspectives have power over us and is why we need to step back and reevaluate how we look at the world.
Brandt said, “We all struggle with these perspectives that are founded in untruth. What if I believe that the only way to be happy is to make a lot of money, when the reality is I only make enough to scrap by? With this perspective it would matter little what else I had, merely because I had been taught to only see that one perspective as truth. I wouldn’t see the good things I have in my life. These perspectives are infecting our country, infecting our world.”
World perspectives can follow us everywhere and effect nearly everything we do and you don’t grow out of them. In order to overcome perspectives, we need to take a step back and question the world around us. The hardest thing thing to do is to stop and question not only the world, but what you believe. How can you know what you believe is true if you don’t stop and question it every once in awhile?
“There are other names for these perspectives, prejudices, bigotry, self-harming beliefs, irrational beliefs, thinking errors. But whatever you call them, they negatively affect our lives and limit our abilities to be happy and successful in life. These things demand that we have to be a certain way, that we have to do things a certain way. It leads us away from thinking, “I’m okay the way I am. I don’t have to be any different.” This limits our potential and our happiness.”
For a challenge this week, take a moment and evaluate how you view the world. It can be something as simple as how you view the way your dress or something larger. Just question, it doesn’t matter what you question. Humans need to change in order to learn and grow. If we all knew everything about the world from a young age, we wouldn’t need things like a college education. It’s time to stop and take a moment to question.
For more information on this topic and other mental health issues stop by the student counseling center in room 223 in the Jennifer Leavitt Student Center (JLSC) or contact Brandt at [email protected].