I haven’t written in a long time , not because I don’t want to but I’m still learning the ins and outs of homeschooling and raising three little ones! Today’s subject has come up in my life so many times, and after listening to Jen Fulwiler’s recent episode that I decided I had to write about it. (I’ve linked the episode below.)
My husband and I both have some form of anxiety and we have learned tips over the years. The first therapist my husband went to told him he had to take things at face value.
What he meant by this was not to infer/interpret/read between the lines with other people. Just accept their words AS they were spoken. This will save you much anguish. Of course it’s possible they meant something else but it’s also possible that you are an-extremely-intelligent-person-who-happens-to-have-a-very-active-mind-who-can-fabricate-all-kinds-of-tales-based-upon-the-presence-of-capital-letter- in-a-text-message-or-the-amount-of-time-it-takes-someone-to-reply. (Phew, I’m outta breath just writing that!) You are better off assuming positive intent. It’s on the other person if they aren’t making themselves clear. We are better off taking things very literally in communication with others and not filtering it through our past hurts and cognitive biases. We need to be like my old co-worker at Starbucks who had a very engineering mind – when a customer asked him for half the ice he gave him a cup filled with half ice. The guy wasn’t please but you get the picture here. We have to let go of the desire to have control over what others think of us because there’s no way to possibly know. We need to focus on our side – how are we treating others? People will hurt us and take advantage but we have to do our best anyway and be kind anyway. We can never be guaranteed complete protection from getting hurt or disappointed or ridiculed. Any worthwhile human connection takes vulnerability which in turn means we are opening ourselves up to being hurt.
You don’t have control over your reputation and it’s actually a good thing. The reputation you earn for yourself you have to keep earning. When God gives you favor it’s a gift . It’s much better to turn your reputation over to the Lord. Did you know that even Mother Teresa had haters? Can you believe that? But instead of getting caught up in people pleasing and controlling how other people perceived her she focused on the work God set in front of her and handed over her reputation to the Lord. So counter cultural but imagine the peace of living your life this way.