Seeing The Whole Picture by Petronella Grobbelaar, Psychologist

Ilze GroblerPsychology

Take on the challenge of approaching the New Year with a fresh perspective. Change the way you see the world and strive to embrace the bigger picture.

2024, A new year

Happy 2024 Zesty community! 

It is the end of the festive season and “back to school, back to reality” for most of us. Our last blog post for 2023 talked about the reality of how our brain works and how our brain sees the world the way we feel, not the way the world is. I introduced the concept of the “lens” we see the world through. I encouraged you to approach the end of 2023 with an awareness of this lens and the challenge to see the whole picture, the good, the hard and the lessons learnt. In the same way, we need to approach the new year with an awareness of this lens and the challenge to see the whole picture as well. 

Watching Dewitt Jones, Photographer for the National Geographic give his TED talk: “Celebrate what’s right with the world”, the first note I wrote down from his talk was, “our vision controls our perception, and our perception controls our reality”. Again, this includes the concept of the lens. So, how do we practically go about our daily life in this new year and keep an awareness of this lens and perception? We make sure we do not take our thoughts and emotions as absolute truths. We make sure we take a step back and see the whole picture.  

4 Whole Picture Practices for 2024:

  1. Check your thoughts – are your thoughts focused on one side of the story? Do you have the same thoughts going through your mind repeatedly? Take a step back, check the lens you are seeing the situation through and ensure you see the whole picture. See the good, the hard and the lessons learnt. Another practice for thoughts would be to put yourself in everyone’s shoes – see the situation from everyone’s perspective.
  2. Check your actions – generally, our actions and thoughts do not want to challenge how we feel about ourselves. Regularly, we avoid, isolate, or withdraw to avoid challenging thoughts and believes through our actions. An example of this is when we feel worried about doing a difficult task, we generally overthink, avoid it, procrastinate and then when pressured with a deadline, we do the task. Re-consider avoiding tasks. Try to break down tasks into smaller bite-size pieces and just do one thing at a time.  
  3. Check in with your emotions and regulate your emotions. A myth about emotion regulation is that we need to do this by ourselves. While we are able to regulate some of our emotions by ourselves, we are made for connections with others, and we are made to co-regulate our emotions as well. Therefore, talk things through with trusted persons around you. As you talk about thoughts/situations, name the emotions you feel. When we understand our emotions, we can allow our bodies to go through the emotion i.e., when we are sad, it helps to cry. Allow yourself to cry in a safe space. 
  4. Celebrate. We do not celebrate the good enough. I encourage you to celebrate what is working well, the lesson you learnt, the beauty in the world around you and what is good. The more we can celebrate and see the good, the more we will see the good and our perception and lens will change.   

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