I was recently told about a communication model that starts with the words “assume best intentions”. I began to wonder what the world might be like if we all acted upon that premise. Many times we make assumptions about the reasons behind another person’s behaviors. When we make those assumptions they are often negative. We decide that a person did something because they didn’t like us or didn’t care about our feelings. However, if we pursue the true intent of people’s actions they are often coming from a positive place, regardless of how it was received.
How different would the world be if we just assumed good intentions behind what people say and do? If someone says something that hurts our feelings we simply say to ourselves they had good intentions and they just didn’t express things well. Responding to a hurt from the place that the hurt was made unintentionally makes a difference in how we receive and thusly respond to things.
Try it and see if it changes your perspective.
In Minnesota there is a new project to offer FREE EMDR to as many as 100 war veterans. A local reporter tells the story of two people who received EMDR, a veteran and a woman who witnessed a shooting at her job. They filmed part of an EMDR session with the veteran. It is a very accurate protrayal of how EMDR works.
To see the video and more on the story click here
Author Dan Buettner says people can have a longer, healthier life if they follow some of the habits and values observed among populations where the residents have long lives. He is the author of Blue Zones, which talks about ways to live longer, based on Buettner’s extensive research.
The nine things Buettner recommends are:
- Move naturally. This means exercise in an natural manner such as gardening or walking outside rather than in a gym.
- Know your purpose. What gets you out of bed in the morning
- Kick back. Have some fun however that looks for you.
- Eat less.
- Eat less meat.
- Drink in moderation. This means 1-2 glasses of wine a day.
- Have faith. Attending weekly services makes a difference.
- Power of love. Be close and involved with your family
- Stay social.
To me this breaks down into living a life with strong connections and doing the things most of know are healthy habits but don’t always do regularly.
Feel free to comment if you think there should be anything else on the list.
In the aftermath of Sandy I wrote about how people dealt with adversity. Now as a country we are dealing with another tragedy, not one brought on by Mother Nature, but instead brought on by a person or persons who deliberately set out to do evil. It is a very different experience. It brings up issues of our own vulnerability. In many ways life is random and in times like this we realize how arbitrary it can be. In an instant your life can totally change. It is terrifying to think about which, is why most of us don't think about it.
However, it is important to remember that clichéd as it is that there are no guarantees in life. It is important to try most days to live accordingly. Live at your best and behave as if what is most important to really does matter. That means not giving lip service to gratitude but living it-telling your children, your friends, your spouses, that you love them often and doing things that show that love even more often. It means behaving with kindness to those who slow you down in the store or on the highway because you don't know what their experience has been. It means taking the time to enjoy now and not just planning for tomorrow.
And it means assuming the best of people not the worst when you are challenged with adversity or conflict. The below quote from Mr. Rogers was widely shown on Facebook this week. We should look for the helpers because, while there are some among us that will do evil things the majority of people are good and caring. So take from this tragedy an attitude of kindness and gratitude and do your best to live a life that shows that attitude.
Gay brothers and sisters,... You must come out. Come out... to your parents... I know that it is hard and will hurt them but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth! Come out to your relatives... come out to your friends... if indeed they are your friends. Come out to your neighbors... to your fellow workers... to the people who work where you eat and shop... come out only to the people you know, and who know you. Not to anyone else. But once and for all, break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions. For your sake. For their sake. For the sake of the youngsters who are becoming scared by the votes from Dade to Eugene.
- "That's What America Is," speech given by Harvey Milk on Gay Freedom Day (6/25/1978)
In the 70's the gay activisits took the pink triange symbol, that had been used to designate gay people in concentration camps during the Holocast,inverted it and reclaimed it.
When I came out in the 90's the triangle was the most prominent symbol at gay right events. Silence=Death was very real for many people because of the loss of so many lives during the early years of the AIDS epidemic while those in power stayed silent.
Now when you go to a gay pride march you will more likely see a rainbow flag and a set of gay parents pushing their children in a stroller. And that is a wonderful thing. It happened because people have come out as Harvey Milk implored them to do in the 70's. The biggest shift in LGBT rights has happened because now the majority of the country now know someone gay.
I bring this up today because, as the fight for marriage equality got so much press in the last weeks due to the Supreme Court cases, it is easy to forget the past. But as I talked to people during these last weeks as much as there was joy expressed at the shifts happening there was also pain. Just because equal rights are coming doesn't mean the past didn't happen. And it doesn't mean that LGBT people are safe in this country, because many are still not. So celebrate the victories but please don't forget the past or the people that still cannot live their lives without being discriminated against.