We all have a tendency to consider our view of the world as a good representation of reality. My last blog discussed that we choose, on some level, what to notice in our world. We can choose to either notice goodness, beauty and kindness, or we can notice the opposite.
What we notice arrives into our cognitive centers as neutral data, millions of bits of information every second. We then assign meaning to that data. What do you think or feel about the things you observe?
- When someone disagrees with your strongly held belief, do you judge them as ignorant or do you decide that logical minds can disagree?
- When someone disagrees with you about an idea, approach, or strategy, do you view them as a threat or someone trying to help identify a better way?
- When meeting someone with a different accent or unfamiliar clothing, do you decide you couldn’t have anything in common, or do you reflect on how we’re all the same on many levels?
- When standing in a long line, do you feel inconvenienced or do you take advantage of the opportunity to let the world stand still for a few moments?
- When a loved one says something hurtful, do you decide they’re inconsiderate and rude or consider the ways that you might have misunderstood?
- When you experience a setback or roadblock, do you feel victimized or do you consider the detour as an opportunity to learn and grow?
Likely, few of us always approach every situation from only a positive or a negative perspective. Our response may be very much context-dependent. For example, I’m less likely to get my panties in a bunch if someone is commenting on my appearance than if they were commenting on my parenting style or my kids. I may also respond differently whether those comments on appearance are at work or at home, or whether they’re from a friend or family member.
Regardless, I believe we all have ways we can improve our explanatory style, or how we interpret the data we receive. What you see is a choice. How you interpret it is a choice. What you do with it is a choice. You can intervene at any stage to decide whether to choose the path of happiness or discord. Cultivate your personal power and exercise your right to choose beauty, wonder, and connection instead of isolation and anger.