Be Careful What You Spread

It’s been said that some people bring joy when they enter a room; others bring joy when they leave it.

We all have our days, but let’s face it: people do tend to be spreaders of either the “half-full” or the “half-empty” outlook on life.

I believe the “half-full” outlook, if not intuitive or second-nature, can be cultivated and learned.

(O.K. – so maybe I believe that because I’m a half-full-kinda-gal.)

Each day and in each situation, we have the power to choose our responses to the things that happen around us.

Obviously, we can’t control all of the happenings.

But our responses?

Yes. Yes we can.

Can we stop the other driver’s road rage when he/she flips us off at an intersection? No.

Can we choose to just LET IT GO and refuse to escalate it with our own gestures, facial expressions or gas pedal? Yes.

Can we make our children do everything perfectly, the way we asked, immediately, without eye rolling? No.

Can we model persistent, calm, reinforcement of consequences for our children’s chosen actions? Yes. (Most days…)

Can we make 535 elected men and women take legislative action when we want them to? No.

Can we refrain from participating in the demonizing, belittling, and ridiculing of those with whom we disagree politically? Yes.

Can we make everybody around us agree with our spiritual and religious beliefs? No.

Can we model and live out a life based on those beliefs and humbly serve everybody around us? Yes.

Ephesians 4:29, 31-32 offers some good advice on how to “spread” the half-full outlook on life:

“Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear…Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.”

On days when our son has a peanut butter sandwich in his lunch, I add my own little personal touch. Before I close up the bread, I draw a smiley face in the peanut butter.

Can we control the whole world? No.

Can we spread some smiles as we go – perhaps even in unexpected places? Yes.

So, we should.


One thought on “Be Careful What You Spread

  1. Amen sista! I like to think of it as “emotional capital”–invest it wisely. Choose to respond in a negative way? Your investment will be returned with negative responses from others. Choose to respond positively? Others will feed off of your attitude and return the “positive vibes” (my 1970s upbringing is showing!).

    I try to focus my emotional capital on those people and things that provide a positive return instead of draining my account. Keeping the account full of positive capital helps me weather those rough times when I need to draw on it.

    Sometimes, the best response is to simply walk away and not engage because there is no possible positive outcome from the encounter. And even then, having a forgiving or understanding attitude, i.e. thinking to myself “This person must be having a really rough time to behave that way. I hope it gets better for him/her” calms my nerves much better than mentally exploring all the possible ways to “get him/her back” for being mean.

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