Tuesday, September 28th, 2021

R Shopper Columns


I think I can speak for most of us when I write that we all have been disappointed by someone's actions at some point in our lives. The challenging part about letting go and moving on is that we may have taken their action personally.

For example, there is a family activity that we like a lot, and someone in the family decides no longer to participate in it. It is so difficult not to take their action personally, and because we do, we cannot seem to move on.  A friend of mine told me about an approach that has worked for her in such situations. She says to herself: "Go to the balcony."

Going to the balcony is a beautiful way of detaching from a problem and seeing it from a different perspective, one that is more detached from our emotions.

When I have officiated weddings in our sanctuary, I have suggested that the photographers take some pictures of the ceremony from the balcony. The result is not only a beautiful shot but one that shows the entire wedding party and a large portion of the sanctuary. One of my favorite times to go to the balcony is during the Christmas Season. From there, I can see the Christmas tree, the large wreaths hanging from the walls, and the poinsettias adorning the sanctuary. The view from the sanctuary's balcony of any ceremony is completely different from the view from the floor. The same is true when looking at a problem from "the balcony" as opposed to looking at it from "the floor."

It is amazing how freeing it is
to approach our problems
as an observer rather than a participant

From the balcony, we not only get a different view, but we put some distance between us and the event; we can see the bigger picture - something that isn't visible from the floor. At floor level, we only see a small part of what has happened. When we apply this approach to how we view a problem, we can gain a different perspective and come up with a different interpretation, which, in turn, leads to our having different feelings.

Perhaps, we can see that what someone else did was not aimed against us but was the result of their issues or wounds. The more we understand other people and why they act the way they do, the more easily we can be proactive instead of reactive. It helps us stop obsessing over what they did "to us." Realizing that maybe what they did was not about us at all, we can then move on.

It is amazing how freeing it is to approach our problems as an observer rather than a participant. We can advise ourselves and empower ourselves instead of giving away our power to the one who we assumed has disappointed us. Seeing our problems from the balcony can offer a new interpretation of why others do what they do.

Dr. William E. Austin is a licensed psychotherapist and holds a Doctor of Divinity degree. He is a therapist with Tidewater Pastoral Counseling Services . He is well known for his warmth and sense of humor. His book, Creating Our Safe Place - Articles on Healthy Relationships, can be purchased through www.amazon.com.

Tidewater Pastoral Counseling: 623-2700