This year I made a radical change in my Lenten mindset. Instead of “giving up” something I decided to add something to my way of being. This commitment is not for 40 days but for life, and I intend to add something (s) else every year. This year, my number one Lenten add is to SEE EVERYONE FOR THEIR BEST.
In general I try to operate from a positive mindset but this decision has truly been life changing. For many years I agreed with that most famous quote of the young Anne Frank. “I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.” This philosophy is at the heart of seeing everyone for their best. For in it we realize that there are several givens:
1. Most things that others do to annoy you have NOTHING at all to do with you. People are operating within the sphere of their own experiences.
2. Most people want to be happy and want others around them to be happy as well.
3. Some people have been badly damaged by those around them. They are not fully aware of how their pleasant demeanor would add to the happiness of others.
4. Most people are trying as hard as they can to “get it right.”
Now, if you go with my premise that the above are true, at least 85% of time, then how can the other person be a bad person. So, if I get into a verbal squabble with another I try to get to the root of the matter without that assessment including an evaluation of the other individual as a person. I find myself more and more often saying “but s/he is good people though. It’ll be alright.” And you know what? It is. I notice that any small beefs seem to go away almost immediately.
We can not control others and we certainly can not control what is influencing them, but by making a commitment to see the best in others we can only help to make their day better. What’s in that for you? A lot. People who feel that you make life easier for them are a joy to be around. They appreciate you, they look forward to time in your presence and they don’t bring you their crap. Why not? Well because you make them feel good they don’t want to do THAT to YOU.
This is not a magic pill solution. It is not going to end poverty, but maybe it will end war. 🙂 I just know what I know and what I know is that people are good at heart and everyone has something about them to be championed. When they are annoying you, don’t focus on what is annoying you, put your energies toward the thing that is to be championed and watch both your attitude and theirs turn around.
About Lent, yes I did “give up” something with the knowledge that I was gonna “try” to do it. Well , I have cheated and eaten a bit of candy but I am still seeing everyone for their best. The add was the die-hard commitment this year. That combined with my second add of judging only self keeps me happy, calm, and content in turbulent times.
I urge you to test my theories. Try it. Let me know what you think. I wish you all the best.
Spread love…peace and blessings.