The one secret that will change your outlook forever
Glass half full
My husband is the most nonchalant person I know. Me? I’m the complete opposite. I’ve always envied his “one ear out the other” approach to matters that I would stress over for days. Hurtful things that people say to him never affect him, and he always seems to know what to say right back. I, on the other hand, always smile and laugh when someone says something insulting, then think of a million different things I should have said back seven hours later as I try to coax myself to sleep.
Another way we're different is that he's very open about saying things to people’s faces. When we first married, I was disturbed by his abrupt nature since I was so used to people sugar coating things and was guilty of doing it myself. However, after five years of wedded bliss, I noticed that he was a much happier person than me—that and he fell asleep much faster.
One day after mulling over something silly a co-worker said to me, I called him to ask his opinion on whether or not he thought I was being too sensitive, and he said that if it were him, he’d just let it go. “How do you just let it go? How is it that nothing anyone says ever fazes you?” I asked, totally flustered. And that’s when he said something that forever changed my outlook on people and the expectations I have of them: “I think about who’s saying it before I react to what they say.” At first, I didn’t understand, and this frustrated me even more.
“Think about it,” my husband explained calmly. “You can’t expect a diarrhea mouth to watch what they say. You can’t expect an uneducated person to think like someone who is educated. You can’t expect someone who is innately selfish to think of others’ feelings first. People are who they are, and we can’t expect them to be someone different or to suddenly see things the way we do.”
When he finished, I felt like someone had knocked me across the head. Duh! I knew all that. It was all common sense. But why did I still have those unrealistic expectations of people? Why did I think that everyone would suddenly change their personalities when they interacted with me? Why did I constantly expect people to react and behave the way I would in a situation or setting? It’s wasn’t fair. We are all individuals, and I can’t hold people to my expectations any more than they can hold me to theirs. I’m me! They aren’t.
This past weekend, my friend came to visit and made some competitive undertoned statements. I was upset at first and even a bit irritated with her. But then I repeated my husband’s words in my mind, and I realized that she’s just a competitive natured person. It doesn’t make her a bad individual. It doesn’t mean she hates me. In fact, she’s very sweet to me, but she likes to think she’s better than everyone—and that’s just who she is. I was so at ease with myself for not ruining a whole weekend running what she said over and over again through my head. I was able to take a deep breath, let it go and move on.
If there’s a great lesson I’ve learned so far in life, this is definitely one of them. So much so, that I thought it was important enough to pass on to anyone out there who is like me. Remember that at the end of the day, you and your family should be the people whose opinions are the most important to you. Everyone else is a small presence in your life and you can either fret over everything they say or you can smile and make the most of each day. I hope you choose the latter!
Until next time!