How to Find Perspective in a Hard Moment

How to Find Perspective in a Hard Moment

Early April and rain poured from the sky. I sat with my best friend’s husband, Jason, in his car, waiting for the rain to let up a little. From where we sat, we could see huge puddles forming, a few brave souls walking toward the start line, dripping wet. Some wore garbage bags as raincoats.

For those few moments, we were still dry.

By the time the race started, the rain had mostly stopped, but we took off running with feet soaked to the skin.

I felt tired before I even started. I think (although I can’t remember) that I had been up during the night with my two year old.

I knew (although I did not KNOW) that I was pregnant with my third child (a home pregnancy test would confirm it later that week.) In light of my pregnancy, I also knew this would be my last race for a while.

I knew that I had always wanted to run a race on Chicago’s lakefront.

I knew the conditions were less than ideal.

I knew that I wanted to enjoy the race despite the rain, my wet feet, and the water dripping from my hair.

So, this is what I did: as I ran, I told myself that even though the race felt hard, it was nothing compared to two things, what I’d gone through before and what lay ahead.

This is nothing, I told myself, compared to the 8 months of pregnancy you have ahead of you. This is nothing, I told myself, compared to another C-section that awaits. This is nothing, compared to caring for a newborn. You think you feel tired now, I told myself — you will feel more tired than this, very soon.

I also raised my head so I could see the sun breaking through the clouds, diamonds of light reflecting off Lake Michigan. In the present moment, I had what I needed.

I told myself: you can do this, and you will be strong for what comes next.

As I passed the nine mile mark, I saw the familiar faces of my husband and two daughters. I heard them cheering me. I kept running, picking up my pace in that 10th mile.

In every difficult moment, it is likely true that you have gone through something even more difficult before (and survived.) It is also likely true that you will go through something more difficult in the future.

In those two truths are strength for the present, difficult moment.

Perhaps this seems counter intuitive to you, this idea of reflecting on hard moments in your past as encouragement in whatever difficulty you now face. Perhaps it seems counter intuitive to project that you will face even bigger difficulties in your future.

I ask you to reflect on both the past and what is ahead because in between those two places is perspective.

You are strong enough to endure this.

You have endured before, you will endure again, and you can endure now.

In this present moment, you have all that you need.

Tell me something! How do you find perspective during hard moments?

photo credit spratmackrel

About Becky Robinson

I am the owner of Weaving Influence and the leader of the Weaving Influence team. We help authors and thought leaders grow their online influence. I am also a wife and mom of three daughters, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, a good cup of coffee, and dark chocolate.

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What People Are Saying

  • Hi Becky–lovely.
    I pretty much find my strength in the same way you do. A couple of days ago i was bicycling up a mountain road in the humid heat of the Mediterranean, and was really struggling. I shifted my thoughts to a friend whose body was riddled with cancer and on life support. In that moment, I realized how lucky I was that I had the choice to ride and then dedicated my ride to her. This gave me the strength to complete my ride with some extra umph and send my friend love as I made my way. My ride and life were back in perspective.

    • Thanks, Wendy!

      I love your idea of thinking of others. Thinking of others is a great way to get perspective on our own lives. I am sorry for your friend in her illness.

  • I don’t think I could have put it better.

    • Thanks Paul! I appreciate you taking the time to comment and I’m glad you liked the post!

      • Several vets I know take out some memento of their service, medals, pictures, a patch, whenever they hit a rough spot on the road of life. The rationale is that if we can do that, everything else is easy.

  • How many times have we said (or heard others say) “I can’t take any more of this!”? Every one of those times represents a situation or a set of circumstances that were hard moments. We endured. We had all that we needed – even if we though we did not.

    Because of my journey I ask myself questions that are in essence the same as yours – what if my child’s life depended on it? Would I run in the rain? Would I run the 10th mile? Could I run an 11th?

    The answer is always yes.

    The question then becomes a more difficult one. Because I know I would, what is it in me now that is holding me back? I sometimes don’t like the answer, but I am grateful that I am able to ask the question.

    Beautifully put Becky. Another thought provoking post.

  • Eloquent and insightful Becky!

    I find perspective during hard moments by focusing on my “why”. One particular why that has not only kept me going at times, but has also served to shift my attitude in the face of challenge is to be a role model for my daughter – to teach her through my actions, not just my words. So I have asked myself in those times – what I am teaching my daughter by how I navigate this challenge both in what I do and who I am being int he process?

  • I was unemployed for 8 3/4 months until I received word that I was hired to teach language arts to inner city 8th graders in Charlotte. It will be a long while before I complain about anything related to my new job. While I was off, I thought about a dear friend who lost her home while unemployed. I thought this while sending out applications at a desk in my home office. I was grateful for the chair. I thought about a prior job loss and how angry I remained, draining my energy, even into a new job that I got right away. I will not be thinking about prior jobs while on the new one. I thought about no longer flying to DC every week for the last job, losing time with my family and finding life/work balance difficult and found gratitude for a change that was better for me, even if scary and frustrating during the extended layoff. In short, except for the first 2 months when I was angry about the JN loss, I did remember that it could be worse–in fact, it was, and I hadn’t see it. Loss if perspective is blinding, but the sight when perspective is restored is glorious.

    • I am so glad my post resonated with you. Thank you for taking the time to share your story! Wishing you the best in your new position with unexpected joys along the way as well as strength during difficult times.

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