Updated: Aug 16
I was looking at my cat Ralph, thinking how sweet he looked. Then, in a split second, my “monkey mind“ turned and said, “Hey! He’s trying to make a rude gesture at me!” (Okay, actually I said he was giving me the finger and followed it up with #$%^&*!!)
But that turn of thoughts made me realize how easy it is to interpret anything in a positive way or to jump the other direction and just assume it's negative. It just depends on which tint of glasses I’m wearing that day. And apparently people on Facebook spend a lot of time wearing those angry-tinted glasses.
In case you have experienced this phenomenon, today's public service announcement offers three simple perspective adjustment tips to help when you hear something that puts you into a negative mindset and ready to argue over useless stuff:
Try saying a positive thought first. So often we answer first with the negative. We state the reasons it won’t work, why a change is not a good idea, or just make “that face.” Make it a practice to first say something positive to recognize the person’s effort. It might be all you need to turn the discussion around. Or you may still get into a fight, but you'll have put it off for a minute.
Do the fast-forward test. Pretend you have a remote control for time. Fast-forward one day, one week, one month, one year. Does this argument still matter? Not really? Then why the heck does it matter now? Agree to disagree and go get a beer.
Take a break. If something makes you want to smack somebody, that might mean it's touched one of your "hot buttons." These are those deeper issues that you don't even realize are hiding in your head. If something seems to upset you more than it should, take a break and think about what deeper feelings are affecting your response. Once you've realized the "hot button" and calmed those emotions, then you're ready to come back and discuss the real matter at hand. You'll probably discover it was a lot smaller issue than you originally thought. Just some food for thought to help you in those tough moments where you could either think bigger picture or think small and get a rotten nickname.