Sheriff: Perspective helps us get through challenges of life
My apologies for the absence of my articles over the past few weeks. I have just returned from the Army’s Non-Commissioned Officer’s Course which was held out at Fort McCoy.
It was a great experience and, as always, I am amazed by the quality of the young men and women with who I get to serve alongside in the service of our state and country. One of the few attributes I bring to my presence in the military is the perspective of being among the more “advanced age” soldiers. I found myself filling the role of Dad to many of the others in the course.
For most of us, we don’t realize or appreciate the importance of perspective, until we find ourselves on the giving end.
As children and teenagers we resist the notion that anyone could possibly know more than we do. We tend to approach events in our lives engulfed in the emotion that we feel in the present tense.
Many times this leads us to a fatalistic view of what we believe are the outcomes of a given situation. You can take a simple event like failing a test as a student. In your mind you play out the worst-case scenario, believing that your shortcoming is just the first step in what may be your ultimate doom. This could apply to the loss of a job or the ending of a relationship.
In reality these are just events that many times we have no control over and in the big picture will most likely be a speed bump in our journey through life and nothing more.
Parents know the frustration when we try to share our perspectives with our children, or anyone, for that matter, who is going through an event that we ourselves have already experienced.
A valuable tool in getting through the many challenges we face is to always put things in perspective.
This is easier said than done, I know. It requires us to step back from the event and apply some simple steps which will allow us to bring logic rather than emotion to our reactions.
The first step is to allow ourselves to consider actual worst-case scenarios and then apply best possible outcomes — even those that may seem unrealistic. The final step is to arrive at the most logical outcomes of the event and thus bring a more realistic perspective to the situation we are facing.
When we look at the many resiliency skills, perspective is, for most of us, a skill that we need to apply on a daily basis. Our responses to the many events that unfold in our lives can be tempered in most cases by simply putting things in perspective.
In order to do this, however, we also need to establish what is most important in our lives. Without a firm grip on what really matters in life, it becomes very difficult to have a healthy perspective, no matter the situation. In contrast, once we determine solid, healthy values, perspective is a natural outcome.
Matt Joski is Kewaunee County Sheriff.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Sheriff: Perspective helps us get through challenges of life