Sometimes we focus on the wrong things both in ourselves and in others. We get distracted by the superficial and ignore the significant. Care to join me in a meanness diet?Just this week, my son was visiting from college and borrowed my car.
Sometimes we focus on the wrong things both in ourselves and in others. We get distracted by the superficial and ignore the significant. Care to join me in a meanness diet?
Just this week, my son was visiting from college and borrowed my car. While he was using it, a small part of the cell phone holder came loose. It was lost and the cheap, little holder was broken. I tried consciously to signal no anger or frustration, but when my son left town he left me $20 to replace the crummy cell phone holder. I had made him feel uncomfortable, maybe guilty, and perhaps angry at me for being so petty all over nothing. What I wouldn’t give to have that moment to do over, to remove entirely and forever that sting of unease. Of course, this is a minor example — my history is worse.
I find that I am no longer fat, having been obese, but I don’t always live up to my own standards of kindness and patience.
I found it relatively easy to lose weight and get in shape. I’ve written a fair bit about that here at FamilyShare. It is important to get in shape, to lose weight and be healthy. But not nearly so important as learning to forgive rather than vindicate, to share rather than hoard, to think of others first rather than self, to be good rather than evil, and kind rather than cruel.
It is more difficult to go on a meanness diet. We all know a few people who seem to have no mean streak, no part of their personality that demands vengeance, but most of us recognize temper, grudges and petty jealousies in our own character. Purging these personality traits is more challenging than purging a few pounds.
There are some specific things we can do to lose the mean:
Do more good in the world
Not only will doing good, volunteering and serving, help change our nature to purge the mean, in some small way perhaps we can make up for the meanness that remains.
Choose to forgive
To really forgive is hard. When you feel wronged, whether in business or in family or romantic relationships, the sting and pain of loss may lead you to believe that you can never forgive. I’ve been there. I’ve harbored such feelings for years. I’ll never forget the process of choosing to forgive. For me, it took months and a lot of prayer. Forgiving brought me peace.
The popular television show "Glee" is a weekly study in judging, right? I imagine that it is hard for most people to watch the show and judge someone based on their ability, gender, religion, sexual orientation, etc. The point of the show is to make us aware of those judgments we make so we will stop making them. The more we think of others, less as others and more as peers, the harder it will be to treat them poorly.
Unless you are among those sweet people who love and forgive everyone, I invite you to join me in my meanness diet. Together we can make each other better.
Devin Thorpe, husband, father, author of Your Mark On The World and a popular guest speaker, is a Forbes Contributor. Building on a twenty-five year career in finance and entrepreneurship that included $500 million in completed transactions, he now champions social good full time, seeking to help others succeed in their efforts to make the world a better place.