Many years ago I read a book by Dr. Phil. (Life Strategies) This common sense book had a big impact on me. In the book he gave some basic life strategies and two of them changed my thinking. I think these are particularly pertinent in light of the political animosity that this country is currently experiencing and certainly will be in the coming year.
There is no reality - only perception.
My first reaction to this was, of course there is reality! But think about a time when you and another person have been at the same place at the same time but have interpreted what happened there differently. It's almost like someone telling a joke and one person finds it hilarious and another person doesn't. No one is right and no one is wrong. It's just their perception.
Everyone's perception is colored by a lifetime of personal experiences and observations and it is quite common for two people to view the same thing in two different ways. Just look at the way the bible can be continually argued. One of us reads a passage to mean one thing and someone else sees it another way.
Here's an example:
One of my friends has managed his rental properties for many years. In that time he has witnessed people sitting around watching television while collecting government assistance. So naturally what he has seen influences his viewpoints.
I spent 22 years teaching children living in poverty. I saw firsthand the devastating effects on their lives. I listened to the single mothers whose husbands had left them with no financial support for their children. The mothers who wanted to help with homework or be at conferences but had to take a third shift job and weren't home for their kids - just trying to put food on the table. So my viewpoint has been highly impacted by years of seeing those situations firsthand.
Those stories are simplified versions of the problem - but even though I did not agree with him I could understand my friend's viewpoint based on his life experience - not mine.
We teach people how to treat us
This is a tough one to accept but I've found it to be true. The premise is that you must take responsibility for how people treat you and react to you. It's YOU, not THEM. So if you feel like a doormat at home or work, maybe you have allowed yourself to be treated that way. Maybe you have even subtly rewarded the other person for doing it by giving them what they want.
The same goes for being ignored, disrespected or being treated in a rude way. What have you done to bring this behavior out in the other person?
So as we enter a volatile time let's remember that we will receive what we send out. How often do we criticize someone for being judgmental when we are actually doing the same thing to them? Everything goes BOTH ways for all of us.
Even though many of these problems seem to be human nature I know I am going to try to keep these truths in mind much more in the coming years.
It's all part of COEXISTING. :) It's not my expertise - it's my ideal and hope.