My husband grew up in a home with inconsistent love at best and conditional love most of the time. Both his parents struggled with addiction, and his mother with depression. My heart breaks for the little boy whose parents didn't show up for sporting events and the teenager who was awarded "Outstanding Freshman" and went to the banquet alone.
This upbringing has affected Tod is many ways. He has overcome a lot, but still struggles with one significant thing: thinking the best of others. It's a deeply ingrained habit of protection to put up a wall at the slightest hint of rejection. Even when it's not there.
This happens when he is offended at something I've done ... when I had absolutely no negative intent. We've come a long way, but I still see the hurt in him.
I see this same pained response in many women as well. They read things into other's responses or lack of responses. They harbor hurt when none was intended. They read negative intent into the motives of others, and are offended.
Can you just see how this spirals downward in a woman's mind?
Thankfully I had a different upbringing. But I also work hard at a different response: I choose to believe the best, unless proven otherwise.
If something potentially hurtful happens, I make a choice:
- I assume people are busy.
- I assume they forgot.
- I assume they have something else on their mind.
- I assume they didn't see me.
- I assume something else has hurt their feelings.
Today, I'm reminding myself to think the best about others. I'm convinced it makes me a better person. It's a discipline that takes practice, and it sometimes requires I pull my thoughts back to a lovely place. Do I always succeed? To be honest, no. Sometimes I get caught in the cycle too. But I'm committed to thinking positively about the motives of others.
I hope this makes me a better wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend.
That's on my mind today. Now to get back to writing my book which is due in two weeks ... Lord, I need inspiration and mercy! And if I forget your birthday, don't say thank you, take longer to reply to an e-mail or Facebook comment, please forgive me. It's truly not personal.
Grace & Peace,