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.

** This post is part of the monthly OneWord365 linkup at The Messy Middle. Join us! **

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. →
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6 Responses to Alive: Promoting Life

  1. Juliet says:

    Such a good reminder. Breathe, calm down and consider the other. I’m most at risk when driving. The metal separating us makes it easier for me to ignore the humanity of the driver. Experiencing road rage is a regular reminder of my frailty! Glad I found your blog through the linkup at The Messy Middle.

  2. Katharine says:

    I really love the ‘break the chain” idea and I’m going to be keeping that one for sure.

  3. You are so right. I need to stop getting worked up over really little things.

  4. Carol says:

    I really liked this. For me, it’s getting upset over people online, usually people I don’t know and will never meet. Thanks for the reminder that it’s (usually) not worth it!

  5. Pingback: What I’m Into: May 2014 | Don't Stop Believing

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