Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Corporate Living #11

"Refuse to look for slights regarding ourselves."

That's how Jones phrases Corporate Living Principle #11. Living well with others will become easier if we stop searching for personal attacks in what's said and done in the group .

My version of this principle is to remind myself that I can not read minds. Because I am not a mind-reader, there are many things about another that I can not know with any certainty. Such as --

  • how someone feels about me right now
  • what someone's opinion of me is at this moment
  • what someone's intentions towards me will be in the future
  • why someone is behaving a certain way towards me
Regarding this last point in particular, I can never know for certain when someone's behavior might change. An improved attitude can change behavior, and many things that have nothing to do with me can improve a person's disposition --
  • beautiful weather
  • adequate sleep
  • delicious food
  • laughter shared with friends
  • tender moments with a loved one
  • reconciliation of an estrangement
Given all this, I try to maintain an open attitude towards someone who has slighted me.  Just because someone has been dismissive towards me in the past does not mean I should expect more of the same treatment every time we speak.

Rather than being on the defensive, I try to be polite and engaging. At the same time, I am looking for an opening from my former enemy that suggests a willingness to improve our interactions. When I succeed in maintaining a non-anxious presence, the other person usually responds in kind. Not always, but enough that I keep asking for God's help to develop this interpersonal skill because I like the person I am becoming when I treat others this way.

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