Back in high school, in the days of Sweet 16s and braces…
…the Lord was gracious to help me keep a balanced perspective on others. He helped train me from becoming overly critical of others by thinking things that were lovely.
Well, this was my challenge: Whenever I’d think something negative about someone, I immediately would try to think of two positive things about them.
So let’s say we’re sitting in class, and a guy starts to bounce his leg up and down with that nervous, jittery bounce. And we’re trying to do our work, but all we can see out of the corner of our eye is this leg going up and down, up and down, up and down….bouncing, bouncing, bouncing. And we try to focus on our paper, but all we can see is bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce!
And we start to zero in on it. And that’s all we can see. And if we’re not careful, this guy starts to become just a leg – a bouncing leg, that is. And it’s like we have horse blinders on – we can’t see anything else or think about anything else than a bouncing leg up and down and up and down and up and down.
And before we know it, our annoyance has become really strong. We almost start to forget that he’s a person – that he’s our friend – that He’s God’s precious creation – because all we can see is a bouncing leg that we really, really, really, REALLY want to stop. And if we’re not really careful, our communication to him will let everyone know that all we see is that he is one annoying bouncing leg!
So what do we do? Well, to keep our minds from being set on criticism, we frame it. So we had a negative thought:
“His bouncing leg is driving me crazy!”
Then we immediately try to think of two positive thoughts:
1. “He did give me a piece of gum yesterday. That was nice.” (It’s high school – there’s only so much to work with : ))
2. “Oh – and remember that time he helped me with a math problem?”
Interesting, huh? Did your disposition or demeanor just change?
Now this of course doesn’t negate the negative. It doesn’t stop the leg from bouncing. But it does help keep things in perspective. It helps us remember that he’s not just a bouncing leg. It helps us keep a balanced perspective of others so we can approach them as they are – precious creations of the all-loving Creator of the universe. It helps us approach them with gentleness ~ and humane-ness!
So when a negative thought pops into our mind, we immediately try to think of two positive things about that person. We may draw a blank at first. We may be tempted to kick the concept to the side and hold on to our negative thought. But it’s worth it. And we can do it – two positive thoughts.
It’s not a cure-all, but it does help. Plus, it’s kind of fun : )