What We Find Depends on What We Look For
Growing up as a lad we were taught that children should be seen and not heard. So we let grownups speak and we listened unless we were asked a question. Old fashioned I know, but that is how it was. I would listen to adults sharing opinions on everything from the price of bread to how the country was going to the dogs. (They should have let it; maybe the dogs would have done a better job!)
As I was growing through my teens I never really had an opinion on anything very much and was always quite happy to go with the flow of my school or my friends. When I hit my college years I pretty much kept quiet as I really did not know what to say to start a conversation. As I listened I picked up the opinions of those around me and started to adopt and share those opinions. In the army we were pretty much a working class group of lads and learned to become good at complaining. I became a pretty good complainer, if I say so myself and could give a good complaint about the sergeant or the regiment or whatever else we were talking about and could generally get plenty of nods of agreement from my friends.
Later on in life as I entered my thirties I had a number of colleagues share with me that I was quite opinionated and could be somewhat bombastic when sharing ideas or solutions to problems.
I have since learned differently. Back in the early eighties I was listening to some audio cassettes by Rita Davenport and she said that we don’t always find the gold (goodness) in people because we are not looking for it.
This got me to doing a lot of pondering about the idea especially during my 40 minute commute every day. I believed that certain people were just useless because of my narrow judgment on them. I started to look for the good things in people and realized that I had only been looking at folks through a very narrow lens.
I wanted to change that and be able to be much less judgmental and far more considerate. Any change that is so big can be a tough pill to swallow and so it was for me. I was however, determined to make the adjustment within myself so that I could learn to begin seeing the gold in other people.
I think I have come a long way since my early thirties and am much more flexible and mostly unattached to any judgements such that I can easily let go of judgements, opinions and even thoughts that do not serve me well.
If we see someone as unapproachable or obstinate, then that is all we will see because we unconsciously behave towards them as though that is all they are. They in turn unconsciously act that way because that is the way they are being treated by us.
I have found that if I continually practice not being attached to my knee jerk judgements of people, reach out and communicate with them and listen more than I talk, then I can often find the gold in them. Once we find the gold in people we can treat them as if they were gold and they generally respond accordingly. Yes, what we find really does depend on what we look for. http://ow.ly/i/F7xS2