I realized that this year is going to be monumental for me individually. I also realized that I have embraced change. THEN, I read this from John Maxwell in The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, “Change is the price of progress.”
I have embraced this as a new mantra in my life. Yes, me, who doesn’t like change, has decided to embrace it! I know it won’t be easy, but I am determined to try it! As I embrace this change, I know that it is necessary for me to grow and become whom I was created to be!
As I journey along this path, I have decided to share with you a couple of things that I have found made me a ‘better’ me! I’m going to do a little bit of a series so that I can give experiences that won’t leave you reading a 50-page book!
1. Realize that you are not always right.
When this happens, you are more willing to reflect on why you weren’t right in certain situations. You are open to corrective criticism. This always leads to growth!
I cannot tell you the number of times that I have looked like a fool because I suffered from the mentality of, “I HAVE to always be right.” Ask Matt, (my husband), he’s suffered most of the brunt of that ridiculous mindset. The problem REALLY became an issue because he too suffered this same thing.
When you are at a place where you can honestly step back and be truly introspective, you have reached a place of sheer liberation. It’s freedom! It’s a feeling that I can’t begin to explain! No one enjoys their negative-isms being laid out on the table, but I encourage you to step back and think about it next time it happens instead of jumping to defend yourself. EVEN if it is not all the way true, there is more than likely a strong bit of truth in it.
Being in a defensive place also puts you in the weaker position. If you disagree simply ask a question, “why do you think, blah blah blah?” It puts the ball back in their court, and you may get an explanation that is worthy of listening to.
I’m not saying that you’re NEVER right – don’t hear me wrong on; I’m just saying that for the most part, we are all very quick to defend ourselves because we certainly have a biased vantage point. We were created to defend ourselves!
I’m going to be very vulnerable here and share my own experiences with you through this series of posts. Mostly to show you an example of what I am talking about, but to tell you that I am not just shoving crap down your throat – that it really WORKS!
When I was six months pregnant with my first baby, Matt and I visited his parents. At the time, of course, I was extremely emotional. Looking back on it, I see a SERIOUS truth in this confrontation. As I sat back listening to my mother-in-law and my mother, (who was there thankfully), bash men, I decided to pipe in my two cents. Note to self: UH- hello stupid – this is HER kid you’re talking about. . . DUH! I spoke up and said, “YEAH, I think they hear us, but they just don’t listen to us.”
You would have thought that I just told her that her son was an ax murderer or something, but she blasted off at me, “AND THAT’S what I don’t like about you. You are so negative and critical.” My pregnant hormones went into overload. It was so difficult. I went to pack my things because, I was going home – with or without Matt. I didn’t even go to him to let him know what had transpired, but she did.
That stuck him in the middle and wasn’t the right thing to do, but things happen for a reason. That night, I went to sleep [Christmas DAY] without an “I love you” or “Merry Christmas” or “Good-night” even. I was so broken. I couldn’t stand her. I loathed the thought that she could control my husband [at that point – she knew him much better than I].
For the record, I need to say that she and I have a restored relationship and I love her dearly. I am very grateful that SHE is my mother-in-law!
Back to my story. . . I didn’t really think I had said anything wrong. I was about to defend myself but thought better of it at that moment. As I began to ponder her comments and rationalize in my mind that slicing remark, I got angry. Not because she said it, but because I began to realize that she was RIGHT!
HOLY COW! What am I going to do now? I AM a negative, critical person. HOW in the world do I fix that? It seems to be a personality flaw. Am I just stuck with it and will I never get away from it?
Thank You, Jesus, for Your redemptive grace – that’s all I have to say! I wasn’t even able to see the truth in her comments until YEARS later! I think it was two years, maybe three before I began to see the truth in that. SHE was the tool God was using to bring to light this ‘flaw’ I had developed. Now, I try to surround myself with positive people. I notice negative, critical folks right off the bat.
Because I was able to look at it and see that I was wrong, a BIG change has come in my life! Again, Maxwell writes, “Attitude is the most contagious thing a human has.” THAT is the truth! It really makes a difference when you are around positive people…it rubs off on you!