Practice Active Thankfulness – and fight negative labeling
Have you ever thought about what other people think? I mean, really thought about it. Not just one situation, or what someone else thinks about in one
other circumstance, but really… all of the things from their perspective that have gone into the way they see a situation. Have you ever thought about that?
Recently I was reminded that we all come to conclusions in our own way. We all gather information and evaluate it base on our previous experiences … right? BUT even further and more deep than just experiences, we are always judging. We are always labeling things, people, experiences, circumstances.
It’s like our minds are a great sieve, we receive data and immediately go about categorizing and prioritizing and it’s all based on our own unique-ness.
Like I mentioned, I was recently reminded of how different perception is… and how one person can actually convince themselves that something occurred that did not…
How can a person, who, in the physical world experienced the same exact physical circumstances and experience… actually believe something else had occurred… I suggest it has to do with the mental labeling.
Charles: Can you do me a favor and get me a newspaper while you are at the store.
Victoria: Yeah sure.
Charles: Hi Victoria, I bought you a paper while I was at the store today.
Victoria: Oh, thanks.
Victoria: Hey, ah Charles… do you think you could pay me back for the newspaper I bought for you, I’m a little low on cash.
Charles: I paid you back. remember?
As an outsider looking at this situation we will acknowledge that the “paper debt” was repaid, however what if Victoria doesn’t read the paper. She certainly didn’t ask for it. On the other hand, Charles asked Victoria to do him a favor… which he may have thought was an act of kindness without expectation of repayment, and he may have even thought that his repayment of the newspaper was going above and beyond repayment since it was a favor at the start.
My point in this wild rambling commentary is… we will never really totally and completely understand where someone else is “coming from”… and we will never be able to completely and totally convey our own perspective. We can only do the best we can and understand that sometimes we have to do more than we think is necessary.
I know people who wake up every morning feeling ready to face the day as a challenge… and I know people who wake up feeling like they are constantly being punished for something. It’s our personal sieve… that label factory called our brain as it sifts through each comment, look, action… it puts it in a bin to be categorized and prioritized.
Personally, I practice Active Thankfulness. I spend a few minutes each morning really just thinking about all of the things for which I’m thankful. Everything from my nice tasty cup of coffee to my 11 year old mini-van… the health and wellbeing of my family… my neighbors… my job… the list goes on and on.
I can’t help being happy when I think of all that I have and all that I’m thankful for…
If we concentrate on loss and failure and hurt and pain… then our attention to those things will continue to bring them to the forefront of our lives. I’m not saying they don’t exist.. the challenge is not to let them negatively define us!
Choose positive, encouraging labels whenever possible. Including those challenges that really hurt… tell yourself about the learning experience, and the good things that could and will come from those circumstances… and pretty soon, you’ll see… positive thoughts create a positive life.
So… label me happy!
Have a great day!