Remember when you were little and you didn’t like the food your parents gave you? Did they normally say to you something like: “Those poor kids in Africa are starving. You are so ungrateful and don’t want to eat the food we provided for!” Let’s say you got a nasty cold sore and you complained about it to a friend: “At least it’s not cancer man, don’t make such a big deal. My aunt just had her second chemo, she’d love to be in your shoes!” You came home after a long, exhausting day at work, and your spouse said: “At least you have a job! Our neighbor is on unemployment, he is staving.” It seems to be ok to compare us to the worst of examples: we should be grateful and just suck it up.
But lets turn that around. Lets look at those examples from a different angle. So, again you didn’t like the food on the table. What if your mom actually said: “You are right, you deserve better. You deserve that parmesan chicken you like so much, instead of beans.” You have a cold sore and you complain about it, it really hurts. This time your friend says: “So sorry! You deserve great health. That’s what I want for you.” You came home after an exhausting day at work and your spouse greeted you with: “You deserve to be fairly compensated, you are a great person. You deserve a less stressful environment, you are worth it.”
Which one of those two examples would make you feel better?
So why aren’t we doing it? Why do we have to point out to someone or something in a much worse situation than ours, create more guilt, shame, blame or misery? Life sometimes appears challenging enough as is. Wouldn’t a positive example, encouragement or a little bit of hope be a better option?
We all say positive attracts positive and negative attracts negative, don’t we? So how do we expect to motivate or make someone feel better with a negative example? We don’t do that deliberately, I know. It’s almost standard practice, we heard others say it many times and we just repeated it.
Aren’t we lucky we are conscious beings and can change our minds and attitudes if we choose to? If we are not able to change it right away, maybe we can just be aware of our words and actions. That’s a good start, the rest will follow.