None of us are born more negative or positive than others, while some of us would say we are bent more towards the “glass is half empty” or the “glass is half full” perspective. Rather, we have all been created in the image of God who is overflowing with Joy and not an ounce of negativity. (I think I just needed to believe that in order to make me feel better about my negative attitude in the face of my uber-positive husband!). Ugh. I don’t like that truth because it erases all my excuses when I’m so tempted to be negative.
When someone lashes out at you or says something untrue, your kids don’t listen the first time, or your spouse doesn’t respond the way you want them to it is so easy to believe the worst about them and the situation. It feels easier, in the moment, to respond with negativity, but it always leaves a wake of hurt feelings that have to be undone (or for some of us, these feelings stay buried and fester over time).
I had coffee with a dear friend, Becca, this week and she stirred something in me. She made the comment that I would have to actually tell her if I was trying to hurt her feelings or put a neon sign above my head to alert her. Otherwise, she would never know I was trying to be mean. Quite impressed, I asked her how she got to that place of being so “un-offendable.” I was hungry to learn from her because this has not been my default. For years, I was one who would’ve claimed my personality just naturally “bent” me more to see the negative and respond that way.
She then proceeded to tell me how her mother, Bobbi, had raised her. Bobbi went to great lengths to always try to see things from the other person’s perspective and give them the benefit of the doubt (at least until all doubt was removed).
For instance, Becca tells me, driving down the road a young business man goes speeding by their car and instead of ranting and raving over how fast he is going her mom might say something like this,”Poor thing. He is probably late for a meeting and so worried he is going to be fired by his boss!”
Or maybe an elderly woman cuts over in her lane. To that Bobbi may reply, “Bless her heart! I’m just so glad she is still up and moving and able to be out and drive. It’s ok honey, come on over!”
Then there is the classic minivan that swerves slightly into the lane while driving: “That dear mom…she is probably in the back seat right now dealing with a crying child and driving her car with her big toe at the same time! Lord help that young mom get it all done and not go insane!”
Ok, so those examples may sound funny or extreme but my friend Becca and her mom Bobbi are on to something. When she told me this (half jokingly, I might add!) it opened my eyes to how often I am so quick to jump on the negative band wagon because it is easier to assume the worst – at least that’s what my experience has taught me to do.
Some of you “Glass-Half-Fullers” are probably struggling to relate to those of us who have wrestled with the “glass-half-empty” syndrome. I don’t believe anyone who struggles with negativity actually wants to be there. Golly, there were some days in my past where I would be so negative I didn’t even like being around myself!! So I certainly knew others weren’t enjoying my company!
And although I’ve had much heart healing since that time in my life, I still see negativity want to rear it’s ugly head again in my life and that’s the time to push RESET. So I left my date with my friend and went home and dug deeper. I prayed, “Why does it feel easier to respond to people and situations negatively?” And then my answer came clearly from the Lord:
Jenni, you are bracing for impact. You would rather be angry and hurt someone than possibly get hurt by them. You would rather reject first, than be rejected. You would much rather go ahead and speak out the possibility of disappointment than believe for something and not see it happen.
Wow. I’m thankful that the “truth will set you free.” I’ve been completely delivered and set free of negative, debilitating mindsets that do nothing but poison those I am around. But those old habits like to try to make a run at us again at times to see if our defenses are down and if we will agree with it again. I’m saying, “NO” and pushing RESET on negativity.
I was inspired a couple weeks ago by a little friend named Caleb (and his amazing mother Tara who has taught him so well) who committed to do a fast from negativity for a whole month. If this little 7 year old understands the power of getting a fresh perspective and way of viewing others and his circumstances, clean and clear of negatively, then so can you and I!
So for one month I’m fasting from negativity. When my husband annoys me (that NEVER happens) I will respond with grace and love instead of a negative “dig.” If someone says or does something hurtful, I will choose to respond like Bobbi and Becca do – believing for the best and seeing things from their perspective. I’ve put it out there and my friends are my accountability. I can’t wait to see how light my heart is in one month from now when it is free of negativity.
Remember my friend Bobbi’s words this month if you choose to #ResetwithMe on negativity:
Rarely is it about you. It’s almost always about something that is going on in their life. So when someone does something that hurts or annoys you, stop and take a moment to see it from their perspective. You’ll soon realize it had next to nothing to do with you.
#resetwithme on Negativity
Are you in?