Monday, November 17, 2008

Step Back

Welcome to Monday!

If you’re like me, Monday can be the most difficult day to gear up for. For many of us, it’s the first day of what seems to be an incredibly long week. Coming back from two days of relaxation, worship and family time can be hard.

For those of us who work in the world, we often have to work with others who are also experiencing the Monday blues. Tempers can get short. Frustrations can mount. Words can be thrown out that we later wish we’d never said.

On days like today, despite our best intentions, it’s easy to find reasons to catch someone doing something wrong.

It may be a coworker.

It may be our boss.

It may be our child, our spouse or a sibling.

Whoever it is, they often have the misfortune of feeling the brunt of our criticism.

Is it fair?

Are we being fair?

When we’ve had a bad morning, is it fair for us to unleash on others who had nothing to do with creating our bad mood?

Are we lashing out at those closest to us because we got cut off in traffic?

Are we berating our friends and loved ones because we got a short night’s sleep?

Are we unjustly and unconsciously letting others take the full impact of our sour mood when they’ve done nothing wrong?

If you’re like me, it’s happened. Sometimes we feel powerless to stop the downward spiral of treating others badly because we don’t feel so chipper ourselves. More than once, I’ve noticed that the poison from my downer of a day spreads quickly and with deadly efficiency.

None of us are perfect.

So, here’s today’s challenge – a challenge I’m taking right along with you:

When you encounter someone today and feel like unloading on them, literally take a step back. Put one foot behind the other. Physically move back one step.

Then, count to five in your head.

And, here’s the tricky part –

Find something praiseworthy about them, and tell them.

It doesn’t have to be something profound, but it should be absolutely sincere.

Smile when you say it.

Show them you’re happier when you see them. Don’t let them doubt that you genuinely care about them, their success and their welfare.

Praise them.

Then, as you go throughout the day, catch them doing something right.

And, when you do, bring it to their attention immediately. Let them know that you know what they did and how it makes you feel.

Whatever criticism you may have for them today, put off until next week.

Whatever negative feelings you had about them yesterday or last week, put those feelings where they belong.

In the past.

Can you imagine if we all accepted this challenge and succeeded, how much better our world would be?

Remember, I’m taking the challenge too. It’s a small and simple challenge, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy one.

We can do it, you and I.

Thank you so much for reading and taking today’s challenge. If you feel so inclined, please pass it on.

I appreciate you!

Remember, Service is the Action Form of Love.


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