Alive: Promoting Life
I’ve been expanding my thinking about Alive, from what being fully alive means for me to how it affects others. I’m not a person of special influence. I’m no one’s boss, nor am I an official leader of anything. But I’m increasingly aware of the power all of us hold, in every interaction, to make others’ lives better or worse. In a sense, we always have a choice either to create or destroy.
I don’t believe (anymore) in being a doormat or passively ignoring problems in the name of peace. As I’ve written before, being fully alive means facing the truth about life – good AND bad. But I notice more and more that I have daily opportunities to defuse negativity instead of adding to it. Anger and stress are so contagious. My default is to fire right up and drop to the level of anyone acting unnecessarily jerky or inflammatory. This includes other drivers on the road, people at work, telemarketers, and at least half of the internet population. The jerkiness doesn’t even have to be directed at me. My blood pressure has gone up many times reading tweet wars or insensitive comments on blog posts by people I don’t even know. But when I am involved in these one-off situations, I’m trying to stop, take a breath, and ask myself some questions:
1. Is this worth getting worked up over? Seriously. Some circumstances are worth a confrontation. But when someone almost rear-ends me in traffic because they just don’t want me to merge over, the answer is always no. Sure it feels good in the moment to start yelling back at them, but it’s not helping anything.
2. What’s really motivating this person? Insecure people act superior to make others feel insecure. Employees who are treated poorly turn around and treat their direct reports poorly. A dad who has a horrible day at work comes home and yells at his kids for no reason. Explosive behavior usually doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s often a chain reaction, and I have an opportunity to break the chain. Remembering this makes it a little easier for me to have compassion, take things less personally, and stay calm.
About Brenda W.
Christian. Memphian. Reader. Writer. True blue Tiger fan. Lover of shoes, the ocean, adventure, and McAlister’s iced tea.View all posts by Brenda W. →
Posted in one word: alive