Seek First to Understand

Christmas is a wonderful time of year! It truly is! It's a time for family, friendship, love and compassion. It's a time to be giving. However, it can inevitably be a time of stress and anxiety also. Tensions run high, we fluster about and we can very easy lose track of what matters. When we find ourselves in this state of panic and frenzy, ordinary behaviours of both loved ones and strangers alike have a much higher propensity to cause aggregation and annoyance. So that leads us to today's Thought of the Day! Seek first to understand. When we catch ourselves becoming frustrated at that muppet who didn't have their oyster ready or that one person paying for their shopping in ten pence pieces, we should try to remember that we don't know their story. Just like ourselves, they could be stressed, they could be preoccupied, they could be worrying about how they're going to afford that big Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. If we think of all the possible scenarios that our aggravator could have ran through, to get to where they are now, then we reap two benefits. Firstly, it can create a sense of connection with the human being across from us. When we can empathise with them, we connect with them and we can begin to understand their actions. If we can understand then we are much less likely to harbour these feelings of anger towards them. Secondly it's creates time to "make our first reaction, our third reaction" and this is the idea that if we've gone though the process of trying to understand, we've taken a few seconds to breathe, a few seconds to reassess our feelings and we still believe their behaviour to be unacceptable then by all means we should act upon these feelings but we should do it in a polite and courteous manner. Acting on our emotions in an uncontrolled abusive manner will only escalate the situation and nobody wants, or at least I hope we don't.

So remember, breathe deep, shine bright and have a good day.