Sunday, September 18
Living life on the positive side
There are moments in a person's life when a tiny gift has a profound impact.
When I first started teaching Kindermusik I received a bookmark with two columns of words.
One side had a list of personality characteristics.
The other side had a way of restating those same words with a different slant.
Others might use the word.... Kindermusik community might say....
anxious cautious, concerned
Reading through the list I started to notice how easy it was to go to the first list, but how much better the second list made me feel about my interactions with people. It started a journey of trying to be careful in how I was interpretting situations and people's responses.
I discovered that my responses typically have more to do with my own state of mind than anything else. If my world is going well and I'm feeling relaxed and great, it's easier to assume that others are on the same wave length. If I'm emotionally on edge and irritated, my natural reaction is to assume that others are trying to irritate me.
For example, if I have asked one of my family to vaccuum the living room and hours later it is still not done, my first inclination is to be annoyed and assume that they are ignoring my request. I go to that because my least favourite job in the house-keeping world is vaccuuming and I would tend to do just that - put it off. But it could just as easily be that they either forgot or were busy doing homework.
Ignoring me? - My response - annoyed, irritated, mad
Forgot? - My response - remind them
Busy with homework? - My response - ask them if another time would work better for them
I know I sometimes feel entitled to my first response, the one that assumes that things should run as I see them happening in my ideal world...but I have found that the choice that produces the best relationships is the one that assumes the best in and for people.
This summer I met up with a friend of mine whose son had just a few days earlier broken his arm, putting him out of commission for so many summer activities. As she was telling me about all the complications that could arise from the fracture, I looked at her and said, "but it could just as easily NOT turn out to be any of those things, and heal up just fine." And then I looked at this young man (18 years old) and said, "Besides, now that you have a plate in your wrist you can be a superhero - you know...you're reinforced now." At first he looked at me kind of strangely, and then he started to smile. Then his mother said, "You know, you are the most positive person I know."
It's all how you choose to look at things!