How likely are you to judge someone who looks differently than you? What about someone who has a different religion, belief system, morals, values?
My knee-jerk response to that question is “oh, I never judge…I’m one of the most open-minded people I know!”
And while that may be true in some cases, the fact is that I’m human, and unfortunately, like everyone else in the world, I’ve made snap-judgments based on a person’s appearance or behavior.
For example, if I’m walking alone in a parking lot at night and I’m approached by a well dressed woman, I’m not likely to feel nervous–but if I’m approached by a not-so-well groomed man, I’m likely to squeeze my kids’ hands a little tighter and might even clutch my purse a little.
And, if he walks too close, I am likely to start walking faster.
I know, that’s terrible. I owe men everywhere an apology for that type of stereotype. Men, I’m sorry, I hope you’ll understand. 🙂
Now that I’ve got that out of my system, allow me to get to the point…
What about you? Do you find yourself judging your neighbor’s teenage daughter for wearing that short skirt? What about the family that never picks up their newspapers? Or the mom at the grocery store whose kids are terrorizing her?
Of course you do…at least now and then. It’s human nature. But did you know that judging other people can have a negative effect on YOU?
It’s pretty simple really. By thinking negatively about someone else, you are bringing negativity into your mind…which then, of course, attracts more of it into your life.
Ok, so here’s the deal: quit judging people already. And, quit taking others’ negative behaviors personally. You have a choice. YOU can decide how to let it affect you. You can decide how to react, and you can choose your own perception of the situation.
I know, easier said than done, right?
Something that I’ve discovered in my pursuit of fulfillment is that the way to avoid judging people (as often as possible, anyway) is to find compassion within yourself for your fellow humans.
It’s not as hard as it sounds, and the more you practice it, the easier it gets.
The next time you find yourself judging someone, take a moment to put yourself in their shoes. If a checker at the grocery store is rude to you, remember that she’s a person. Maybe she’s dealing with something in her life that is distracting her or upsetting her. Maybe she’s working three jobs and she is doing the best she can to take care of herself and her family.
If it’s your friend or family member driving you bonkers, you might even know what is bothering him or her. Maybe you can help them to get through it, maybe not.
Bliss Mission: Respond With Love
The bottom line is this: by responding with compassion, and by NOT TAKING IT PERSONALLY, you can avoid a lot of stress in your life–both for yourself and for people around you. And, my friends, avoiding stress means FEELING GOOD. And, like attracts like.
If you feel good, you will draw good into your life. Simple as that. So when you react and respond to those around you, do so with love, even if you don’t know the person.
And so, your Bliss Mission, should you choose to accept it, is this: spend the next 24 hours of your life consciously avoiding passing judgement on other people. Don’t beat yourself up if a judgmental thought pops in your head–just allow it to pass and then replace it with a more positive, compassionate thought.
You’ll be amazed at the difference this simple tweak in your thought process can make in your day. What do you say? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Every now and then, someone forwards me this email about life and how it relates to a jar. Even though I often skim email forwards, especially those of a political or otherwise controversial nature, I always happen to read this one.
I think that it’s a great explanation on how life works, and each time I read it, I get a little something else from it.
As you read it, take a moment to think about your priorities. My challenge to you today is to think about what fills up your jar. Which things in life are your golf balls and marbles? How about your sand and coffee? (Untitled to my knowledge, Author Unknown to me)
On the first day of class, a university professor stood in front of his philosophy class with an empty jar.
Without saying a word to his students, he removed the lid of the jar and filled it with golf balls. When no more golf bars fit he closed the jar with its lid. He then asked his class, “Would you say that the jar is now full?” His students observed the jar and concluded that the jar was indeed full.
The professor then proceeded to open the jar up and started inserting marbles into the jar. The marbles started to fill the gaps between the golf balls. After sealing the jar, he asked his class once again if they thought the jar was now full. The class concluded that the jar was indeed now full.
The professor opened the jar a third time and started pouring in sand. Obviously, the sand started filling the gaps between the golf balls and the marbles. He then sealed the jar and asked his class a third time if the jar was full. His class chuckled and replied in unison, “Yes, it is now full!”
The professor opened the jar and emptied two small cups of coffee in the jar. The liquid had completely filled the gap between the golf balls, the marbles, and the grains of sand. He then began his lecture.
“I hope you realize that life is very much like this jar. The golf balls represent the important things in life, like God, family, loved ones, health, things that you care intimately about. If we lost everything else in life, our lives would still be ‘full’. The marbles are the other things in our lives that are important, but our happiness shouldn’t depend on them. Things like our work, our house, our car, etc. Finally, the sand represents everything else; the small stuff.
“If we were to have filled our jar up with sand first, there we wouldn’t have had enough room for the marbles or the golf balls. If we use all our life and energy on the small stuff, we won’t have any room for the important things.”
After a brief moment of silence one of the students asked, “Professor, what does the coffee represent?”
“Ah, I’m glad you asked,” replied the professor. “It means that no matter how full your life is, there is always room for a cup of coffee with a friend.”
What I Think
I think that the jar represents you (me), and the way we choose to fill it represents our life choices. Sometimes, when I read it, I recognize that maybe I’ve given golf ball space to something that should be marble or sand sized. At any rate, it always gives me something to think about.
What do you think? What are your golf-ball sized priorities? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
When I was in high school, and for a semester in college, I worked at McDonalds. I worked behind the counter mostly, and on the menu board above my head was a sign that read, “Smiles are free.”
My co-workers and I used to joke about it, but the management was very serious about being sure we smiled at our customers. If we didn’t, we risked being moved to the fry station, and NO ONE wants to work that station. So we smiled.
And, in return, most of our customers would smile back at us. In fact, research told our managers, a simple warm smile from the front counter girl could change the customer’s perception of the entire dining experience, and they were twice as likely to return if they felt they’d received good service. In some cases, it turned out, customers who received great service rated the food higher too.
So, in layman’s terms, a smile was powerful–it could be the difference between a lifelong customer and a one-timer.
And, I’ll tell you another little secret. This powerful tool is not only available to the folks at McDonald’s.
I could go into all of the science behind this, but that’s not the point of today’s blog. The point is that when you just smile, you can create a significant upswing in your day and even in your life. Your mood will be more positive, and you’ll suddenly notice people around you being kinder to you, and most likely friendlier than usual.
Consider this. If you’re walking down the aisle at the grocery store and someone looks you in the eyes and smiles, saying hi, what would you do? Of course, you’d respond in kind.
Now, close your eyes and smile to yourself for ten seconds. Do it now, no matter how silly it feels. Don’t worry…I’ll wait.
Did you do it? How do you feel? I’ll bet that something in you feels just a little better, even if you do feel silly.
Bliss Mission: Smile More
So I have an experiment for you to try. For the next 24 hours, practice smiling more. Smile at your kids, your spouse, the mail man. Smile at your coworkers, your boss, your trash guy…just everyone you meet today. Even smile while you’re on the phone.
I suggest that you’ll find that people in general are nicer to you, just for starters. The added bonus? You’ll notice that your own mood is bumped up a few notches too.
And, of course, you’ll be making the world a much more beautiful place. So, smile today! It’s free, it feels great, and it can effect serious results in your life.
Try this little experiment, and let me know how it works for you. What do you say? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below.
When I was fifteen, I read an article in a teen magazine called “Fake It Till Ya Make It,” in which the author explained that if you wanted to change things about yourself or your life, you only needed to “act as if” it were already the case.
For example, she said that if you wanted to become more popular in school, you should behave as though that were already the case. So, one might be more open and friendly with other students, or one might be more likely to volunteer for clubs and other student activities.
I applied this concept to my life at that time, and had some positive results and it still sticks with me to this day. I have used it over the years to overcome various hurdles.
But the idea is that when one focuses on something, when one BELIEVES something, really wants it, it happens. When you become conscious of your thoughts, you can make a difference in the things that you bring into your life.
It can also happen unconsciously. For example, during maternity leave after having my second child, it occurred to me that I wanted to work from home. I focused on this fact, and hard.
Sure, I went back to work. But every day, I thought about being able to work from home. I felt jealous of friends who were able to do it (which was wrong–I should’ve been happy for them–that way things would’ve gone much faster). I read everything I could get my hands on about HOW to work from home, and I discussed it with my husband. I talked about it with my friends, family, anyone who would listen. I wanted it, badly.
And one day, even though I had just been informed of a forthcoming promotion the day before, my boss called me into his office and fired me.
Of course, I asked him why, and he didn’t have a logical answer. I felt horribly insulted and upset, but when I drove away that day, I realized that I was feeling lighter than I had in months. I called my husband and told him.
That night, my husband and I decided that it was time for me to try working from home for awhile. I’ve always been a writer and editor (even when I was working in different fields, even when it wasn’t technically my job–so the transition was natural and totally motivation-based).
And here I am, years later, working from home and following my passions at the same time. This is something I never thought I’d do, much less love, but I am and I do. I am so grateful for the opportunity.
Speaking of gratitude, that is the first step to all of this. Remembering to be grateful for the things you have (and expressing gratitude for those things you WANT) seems to be a great starting point.
A few years ago, a friend gave me a copy of “The Secret.” This is yet another example of this concept bringing itself to the forefront in my life. I have to believe that there’s a reason for it.
So here I go, learning to live again, learning to change my mind. And by changing my mind, I am making positive changes in my life. It’s amazing really, but it’s something that truly works.
I could list example after example of how this concept has affected my life, and have used it both consciously and unconsciously many times.
As I begin this new phase in my life, I am focusing now on the power of thought. I am making a concerted effort to be aware of my thoughts, and to avoid saying, doing, or thinking negative thoughts about myself or my world.
I’m no saint, of course, and occasionally I still let the mundane things get to me.
However, instead of dwelling on things and letting them ruin my day (like the cranky husband in the morning for example!!), I focus on the positive things and move forward. (I’m grateful that my husband goes to work every day to take care of our family financially so that I can take care of them in other ways…etc.)
It works, folks, and this is just the beginning. Join me, if you will, on this journey of self discovery and self empowerment. Remember this: YOU ARE WHAT YOU THINK.
Live it, learn it, love it. It’s real.
What do you think? Tell me in the comments section, below!
Another fact: a single person cannot possibly know everything, cannot possibly excel in every area–and most importantly, a single person cannot hold the world on his or her shoulders.
But don’t worry–there’s a simple solution. Just share the load, friends.
Read closely: It’s okay to ask for help. Repeat it to yourself: it’s okay to ask for help.
If you have confidence, think independently and make your own choices in life, you probably prefer to figure out things for yourself. And like me, because you’re so self-assured and/or driven, you might not like to ask for help, even if you could really use it.
Whether we like it or not, every one of us could benefit from time to time by accepting a hand from someone else.
And when you ask for assistance, other people also stand to benefit in ways you might not have considered.
Contemplate these reasons why you may want to ask someone to help you, even if you find it challenging:
Accomplish your goal. For example, if you need to get to that job interview and your car is still in the shop, ask a friend to drive you. If you have a goal you want to achieve and you can accomplish it with a bit of help, then ask for and accept assistance.
Prove you’re human. If you’re full of confidence and seem to always do everything right, people can easily put you on a pedestal. However, when you request aid from others, they realize that even someone like you falters once in a while as you’re trying to carve a path through life. This can be really inspirational.
Set a good example. This applies to co-workers, friends, and family members. If you just go straight to the point and request a hand as soon as you recognize you’re going to need it, you help to de-stigmatize the whole idea of getting help. When your friends and family face a challenge, they’ll think, “He didn’t hesitate to seek out some extra help right away when he needed it and that’s so smart. I’m going to do it, too.” And now, you’ve been helpful to them. Good Karma points.
You give others a chance to help you. Most people feel very good about themselves when they are able to extend assistance to others. You’re allowing others to feel those rewarding emotions whenever you request a hand from them.
The level of stress you’re experiencing will drop. It can be very stressful when something goes wrong. Anxieties and worries develop and persist. The longer you worry about the situation, the worse you feel. Getting help means you can avoid all that distress.
Develop a true appreciation for others. You’ll love seeing concrete proof that others want to see you be successful in life.
Enhance your relationships. When you request aid from a friend or relative, that person feels emotionally closer to you. After all, if you feel comfortable enough to reach out for help, that’s quite a compliment to the other person. Plus, when the person comes to your aid, you’ll recognize how much that person really cares about you.
Reciprocation feels great. Doing something as thanks to the friend who helped you will bring pleasure to both of you.
Be an efficient “manager” of your own life. You can either spend time, emotional energy, and hours of lost sleep trying to figure an issue out on your own or you can ask for help and get it quickly taken care of. Which method is more efficient?
My point? Giving and receiving assistance can enrich your life, in more ways than you might have imagined. You’ll strengthen your relationships and be a better person for it, at the very least. So what are you waiting for?
Do you have trouble asking for help? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below.