Skip to main content

How to Get Unstuck: Change Your Perspective, Change Your Mind


In the comments section of my last post, my friend and fellow blogger, Larramie, asked how my brother John changed my mind about choosing this house. I thought I'd share that process with you because it taught me an important lesson about getting unstuck.

I first saw this house, my new house, back in September. I rejected it because I thought the ceilings were too low compared to the very high ceilings of the house I was renting at the time. However, I also sent my brother John an email brochure of the property since he was interested in our house hunt. He immediately liked the house and encouraged me to give it further consideration. So over the following months of October and November I went back to the house about five times, each time convincing myself that this was not the house for me. In particular, I didn't like the small room off of the living room that was being used as a dining area, because of its low sloping ceiling.

By mid-November, John was calling almost daily for house hunting updates, since the landlord of the house we were renting had informed us that he was going to move back into the house by mid-December, which meant that we needed somewhere to move. Finally, John suggested that he come out to Evergreen from Tampa for a couple days to look at the house with me. I accepted his offer, certain that if he saw the house in person he would see things my way (John and I have a looong history of sibling rivalry that makes Cain and Abel look like Laurel and Hardy).

So on a Sunday morning in late-November, the week before Thanksgiving and three weeks before we had to move from our former home, John flew into Denver and I drove him straight to the house. After he looked around for ten minutes, he sat down on the steps and said, "I don't want to influence you, but I'd buy this house." He then proceeded to go through my list of objections one by one and offered actual solutions that would fix the problems (Don't like a sloping ceiling? Build a gabled roof! Don't like the master bath? Put in those pebbled floors you've always dreamed of!). Did I mention that John is also a building contractor with a great deal of experience with home remodels?

Suddenly, instead of seeing that house as a source of frustration, I was giddy with ideas to create a place I would really love. Yes, it will take time and money...and it may be years before I am able to accomplish everything. But instead of frustration, I have new projects to dream and plan! Suddenly, something clicked in my mind and I was able to shift my perspective and see the house differently. Instead of focusing on its perceived faults, I was able to see its real beauty. That's probably why I feel so at home here now.

Two days later, as I was driving John to the airport for his flight home, I received the call that my offer on the house had been accepted. Which is why I was able to write that cryptic post in November, thanking John for his help with that 'un-named' project.

While on one level, this is a post about what a great brother I have (and I do) and how my family offered wonderful advice and support during a very stressful time (which they did, thank you Kathy!).... it's also a post about how to get unstuck.

It occurred to me that at times we can get so enamored of our opinion, of our need to be right, that we can become mired in a situation, when simply shifting our perspective would allow us to move forward. After the dust had settled, I asked John how he had known what to say to me. He said that he listened to my objections to the house as he would listen to a client. Then, when he saw the house in person, he was able to counter my 'feelings' about the house with concrete solutions. Luckily, because I respect my brother's superior knowledge of houses, I was able to allow myself to look at things differently and thus move forward, from a limited belief to excitement about new possibilities. The irony is that of course the house hadn't changed a bit in the two months I'd been looking at it, only my perspective.

So that's my most important lesson of 2010, and one I hope to incorporate as I move into 2011. When I face what seems like an insurmountable problem, or when I feel myself getting stuck by one view of a situation, I will remember that if I am willing to open my mind, the solution will appear from another perspective.

As to that dining area that caused me such frustration? Until some future day when I raise the roofline, I've redefined the space, from dining area to 'reading room,' and it's now one of my favorite places in the house.

Comments

Dee DeTarsio said…
Hi Suzanne! I Love your new reading room--it's perfect--and your ability to "re-purpose" your perspective!
larramiefg said…
My word, I thought that area was meant to be a reading room -- it's perfect!

Also what seems obvious is that the house knew it was yours and kept waiting for its rightful owner!!!
Keetha said…
I agree with Larramie - what a great reading spot!

Congrats again on the new place. You sound so happy. I'm excited for all the upcoming projects.
JCK said…
Oh Suz, I love this post. Such a huge lesson not only for you, but for all of us to really listen to. I SO agree about the getting stuck, especially if we get caught up in being right. Your brother offered a perfect counter with his contracting experience. :)

So great to hear from you, too. As for toasters. I think different than blow dryers. Buy a good one. However, I could write a whole blog post on how toasters aren't made like they used to be, and...how you never know how toasted your toast is going to be! LOL
Mariellen said…
I loves it! and I loves your open mind that recognsied what as happening, and leapt beyond it. Good work, Suzanne! And I really LOVES your reading space. So cosy and welcoming.
Fi said…
I've only just discovered your blog and am extremely envious of your 'reading room'. Your new home sounds awesome

Cheers, Fi

Popular posts from this blog

Women are Highly Esteemed in the Eyes of This Man

I enter the sanctuary of Our Lady of Peace Church and my eyes adjust to the dimmed lights as the only illumination comes from candles on the altar and their glowing reflection in the monstrance holding the Blessed Sacrament.
My friend and I had come to join the Mary and Martha’s quarterly meeting which started with an hour of Adoration.
I took my seat in one of the pews, knelt, and surreptitiously glanced around the sanctuary. In the gloaming, I could see thirty other women kneeling like sentinels in silent prayer. 
Over the course of the hour, we would remain in contemplative silence.
As I slipped in and out of my prayers and wandering thoughts, I considered how pleased God must be when he sees us gathered in the simple and divine act of Adoration.
But in fact, women are highly esteemed in God’s sight not matter where we are. 
We only look at the life of Jesus Christ to understand how dearly he cherishes every woman.
In the Gospel of Saint John, a group of men bring a woman caught i…

When our spirit hungers

The precocious toddler’s interest in talking to her mother grew in insistence as the gathered group settled in for an hour of silent prayer. Shushing didn’t work, so the mother led her child into an adjoining room where she would still be part of the sanctuary, but sound would be dampened. Despite the closed door and heavy glass walls, the child’s fervent desire to speak with her mother was still audible.
I said a prayer for the patient mother determined to stay, and for the child who was either tired or hungry or impatient for Mom’s undivided attention. And then tried to bring my wandering thoughts back to prayer. I had come to Adoration with my own pressing need for answers.
Over the past few weeks I’ve noticed a growing emptiness in my heart. A void, as if something is missing. It’s not psychological. Not physical. After doing an internal check, I determined it’s a spiritual void that I’m experiencing.
No, I’m not doubting God, his existence or goodness. I have full confidence in…

If you are tired of the guilt trip you usually feel at church, here’s a different perspective

I am counting the days until I fly to Fort Lauderdale to see Mom for Christmas. Yes, I speak with her every day, sometimes twice a day. But as you know, phone calls just aren’t the same as being with someone you love. I look forward to seeing Mom’s smile, to holding her hand, to going for a drive along the beach with her. Spending time in the presence of someone we love enriches our relationship with them.
I believe the love I feel for Mom, is a sliver of what God feels for each of us. I believe God longs to share that love with us. Which is why we are called to spend time in God’s presence daily. We experience God’s presence when we meet him in our prayers, in church, and hopefully in one another. If I could make one wish for each of us, it would be that at some point during the next four weeks of Advent we would experience how much Jesus loves us.



The Best Christmas

During my morning devotions, I read these two verses of Psalm 117:
Praise theLord,all you nations;
extol him, all you peop…