How much better would everyone’s life be, if we all accentuated or stressed what is good about a person, situation or relationship rather than what’s bad about each one? This is an equivalent discussion to the metaphor of whether to view a glass as half empty or half full. It’s seems more common to view the faults or weaknesses of others rather than their strengths and attributes. Yet I believe we can all incrementally improve our lives, as well as those we interact with, by making a “simple mindset change toward the positive.” Then follow up by changing our tone of voice and altering our communications by leaning toward the positive rather the negative end of the spectrum.
In most loving relationships with close family members (husbands, wives, children, parents, brothers, sisters) we all get to know each other quite intimately. Lots of time is invested in these relationships, in close quarters, during different periods of our lives. Because we live together for extended periods of time, we really get to know these individuals more than any others we will come in contact with during our entire lifetimes. We learn first hand about their habits, idiosyncrasies and character. We know if they are generous or stingy; neat or sloppy; kind or mean; conscientious or reckless; and most of all what makes them happy or sad.
Armed with this powerful intimate knowledge, gained from years of sharing daily experiences together with our loved ones, we can almost predict with laser-like precision, how they will react to different words, phrases, accusations or statements that are made to them. Patterns form over time and individuals are very predictable. You don’t need an advanced degree in psychology, to predict the outcome of topics you converse about or the same statements you make repeatedly over a course of many years. Thus many statements that are repeated that bring on the same negative results, over and over again – are much better off unsaid – in order to promote happiness and harmony in relationships.
But somehow many individuals seem to suffer from repeated cases of amnesia when it comes to repeatedly upsetting their loved ones. They must know from the past that certain statements and behaviors they engage in will result with the same exact negative reaction with precision like results. Yet they continue to go down the same road for months, years or even decades – and suffer the same exact consequences each and every time. It makes you wonder what ever happened to the story of learning from touching a hot stove and getting burned badly – then never, ever repeating that action again?
It’s quite unfortunate when we can’t learn from our own mistakes – regarding any situation in our life. The School of Hard Knocks is not the place you want to earn the distinction of perfect attendance every day of your life. Rather, it should be a place you visit as infrequently as possible. Yet many individuals have multiple graduate degrees from the School of Hard Knocks and still insist on attending daily!
Why not take a more positive approach to life and make each day better than the next, by learning from a mistake once and not repeating it again. When you learn that certain words, phrases, accusations or behavior patterns result in anguish, stress and disagreements – back off and don’t go down that road again. If you were to walk down a dangerous street at 2:00am in the morning, and had a really bad experience – would you go back there again and again? I don’t think so. You would avoid that situation – just as you should avoid situations that upset others around you that you love and care about.
Why not devote your energy to do more of what it takes to make someone happy? We all know what actions we can take to make those around us happy, like displaying how much we appreciate the little and big things they do out of routine and for the benefit of us. Small gestures of appreciation, from a hug to a few kind words are like investing powerful capital to build an empire of happiness. Or how about respecting one’s opinion instead of ignoring it? Displaying respect for others is like adding jet fuel into one’s heart to pump up their enthusiasm and make their day a great one.
How about some pleasant surprises? Performing a kind, thoughtful unexpected gesture will make those you love feel wonderful. At the start of every day, it’s your choice how that day will unfold. You can repeat the same errors in judgment that caused negative results for years; or you can choose to do go out of your way to make those around you happy. Choose well…..live well! A little change in mindset can create HUGE POSITIVE RESULTS!