Well, here we are – almost through another year.
12 months ago, we were hoping to leave 2020 abandoned in a New Mexico desert without food, water, and shelter. We hoped that’d be enough to render it impotent, over, deceased.
Now it feels like 2020 emerged with a smile on its face and its arms spread wide enough to squeeze us until our eyes bug out.
As we say goodbye to 2021, and hope for a better 2022, I have some advice.
Normally I refrain from giving advice without asking permission first. If you’re wondering why, think about the last time someone told you you “should” do something when you didn’t ask for their opinion.
Did you take their advice?
Probably not. (For more on this, look up Motivational Interviewing.) Asking someone’s permission won’t guarantee they’ll take your advice, but it makes it more likely they’ll at least listen.
Anyhoo, since I can’t ask you personally if you want my advice on how to feel a little better heading into 2022, I’ll just say that if you don’t want it, delete this email and move on with your day. I won’t mind.
Moving on, my advice that may help as we move into the next phase of whatever-this-is can be summed up in three words:
Assume Positive Intent.
When we “Assume Positive Intent,” we believe that another person is acting to the best of their ability and/or that they mean well in their current circumstance.
Here’s an example.
We’ve all been cut off in traffic. It’s not fun. It’s dangerous and it’s almost always upsetting. Our initial reaction usually involves screaming and calling the other driver names.
We tell ourselves that when the other driver cut us off, their intention was to upset and maybe even injure us.
Why not tell ourselves that the other driver may have been hurrying to the hospital or was late for a flight because their child was sick that morning?
Heck, maybe they just made a mistake that had nothing to do with us and if they knew how it affected us, they’d feel bad and apologize.
Doesn’t that feel better?
That’s what happens when you assume positive intent.
You put yourself in a more consistent and positive frame of mind. Why make a conscious decision to feel angry and disrespected?
For examples of what happens when we assume negative intent, please see Q’anon followers and people that think Anthony Fauci should be arrested for some reason. Is that what you want to be?
I hope this helps a little. I know it’s made a world of difference in how I view the world and go about my life, even if I have setbacks every now and then. It’s just too easy to be angry all the time.
Castro Valley Fitness
P.S. We are hardwired as humans to always look for danger, which is why assuming negative intent is more natural and satisfying in the short term. It’s time we evolve and become better.
P.P.S. If you want to read more about Motivational Interviewing, check this article out. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-motivational-interviewing-22378
I highly recommend it if you talk to people – and we all talk to people.