What would happen if you just shifted how you saw your life? What would you see right in front of you that is hidden in plain sight from you now? All because of a subtle shift—of weight between your feet, an angle of your chin, a movement of your eyes?
There is a therapy secret here.
People look outside of themselves for what they want or desire within themselves. When you really see something differently or in a new way, you don’t look harder or see further by looking at that thing outside of you for more detail.
Change of substance, the change that people seek, does not come from manipulating something “out there.” Think about body image for a second. What do you think of when someone is talking about a healthy body? Weight? Your weight? How your weight doesn’t match the external definition of average or normal body weight?
That is what we experience in our world of images and information. Look like this—be this weight—and you will be “healthy, wealthy and wise…” So we choose a weight that we think we should be and we focus on that number. A thing outside of us.
We look at this number hard. We seek how it can be improved, changed, altered, and manipulated. We believe, oftentimes in desperation, that by controlling that number we will get the results we seek. And what are those results? Do we even know? Confidence, power, health, attention, security, love? It is a number…how can it give us any of those things we seek?
The pivot point of our thinking comes when we stand exactly where we are in the lives we are in, and shift a perspective, shift a point of view, shift an attitude, and see the world differently. See our own world differently. A new horizon appears and you can see something right in front of you as a possibility you had not yet imagined.
It is strange, isn’t it? How we seek a different view, but don’t know how to shift our gaze? Or how we seek the substance of real change in our life, but don’t know how to begin that process without going back to the ways we have been in the past. As if repeating what we have done will create the change we seek.
What would be possible in pivoting your point of view? What brings a person to the point of pivoting? To stand firmly in a life that is calling for change and staying grounded in the discomfort of that life, but seeing a new perspective, a new reality, a new possibility? To allow yourself to see the familiar, common and ordinary in a new and extraordinary way?
Maybe instead of focusing on an external, other defined number, the real shift would be on creating health—eating healthy, walking, drinking water, or whatever the internal needs are would be respected and met. Or if it is love and acceptance that number is defining—seeking to accept oneself and to find compassion for yourself is called for before the number will be sufficient to meet the need you seek.
This is a pivot point. Nothing changes—quite yet. But you do. You change in that you accept the inner need as being the valid focus. And you allow yourself to step into that unknown quantity that is your life to find the destination of your searching.
You allow yourself, not another, not other, not a number to define you.
About Elizabeth M. Johnson, LCSW, LMFT
Therapist and Clinical Director
Beth has been practicing individual, relationship and family therapies in the Indianapolis and Greenwood communities for more than 30 years. She completed her studies through Indiana University, including 13 years of supervision specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy.
Beth also is an artist and writer and has a passion for creating art and offering creative opportunities for women.