“You can focus on someone’s guilt, or you can focus on the love in their heart. But whichever you focus on, you’ll be at the effect of.” – Marianne Williamson
Do you worry that people will betray or hurt you? Are you generally trusting?
Throughout our days – pretty much all day, just about everyday – we’re dancing through seas of people. Each person we come into contact with evokes a conscious or unconscious action or reaction in us.
Our internal surveying systems scan people in the coffee shop, at work, and at home, creating thoughts and feelings within us that inspire behavior: smile, turn away, embrace, speak, laugh, and infinite other possibilities depending on the person and situation.
Now, I’ve been told throughout my life that I need to be more discerning with people. People have told me that choosing to see the best in people is dangerous. In getting hurt at times, I have chosen that belief and listened to that advice.
I can tell you from someone who has tried on both ways of being – the discerning, judgmental, prove-it-to-me one and the trusting one that chooses to see the best – the latter is my choice.
You see, here’s what happened when I took the advice to be more discerning: People actually lived into my fears! They became what I feared they might.
For example, I had a friend who had broken my trust. Instead of getting that it was a mistake, I chose to, for some time, stay in that fear, essentially judging her as someone who is a person who breaks trust. And guess what?! She kept doing it – over and over again.
Through an honest and vulnerable discussion, this friend and I were able to uncover the pattern, and she asked for my trust, not because she deserved it but because I could choose to give it to her. In that moment, I chose to trust her, and since then, not only have I been released from that icky place of fear, I have fallen in love with her again.
She didn’t all of a sudden become perfect, but you know what? Neither am I. I choose to see the best in her, and if something happens in the future, I will choose again.
And I choose to see that with all people. I don’t like judging people or being in fear in any of my relationships. What’s the point? If we think people will betray us, you know what?? They will! If we think they are loving and trying the best they know how at every moment, THEY ARE!
What’s more, it’s not our responsibility to judge or punish. Call it karma or whatever you wish, poor choices are illuminated eventually. We all make them. What happens when we can truly hold space for each other to learn and move through mistakes so we can work together to become more whole? People are freed of the need to feel like they have to be perfect to be loved, and they can start being REAL.
I choose to believe in people, and when I do, they can live into that person I know they are. I see you as a brilliant person here with an important purpose. Yes, YOU! I want to help you cultivate that purpose, and I know I can do that by standing in what I know about you: you are created in the likeness of God; you are human; and we are here to learn together, love each other, and serve.
I recently listened to a great sermon given by Leanne Matthesius, Pastor at San Diego’s C3 Church, on marriage. Speaking to a group of women, she said, “See yourself as the gatekeeper of your husband’s self esteem. What you call him, he will become. If he’s not what you want him to be, this will change him. If you think he’s not manly enough, start to speak to him like he’s the manliest man on the face of the earth. Find his best points and highlight them.”
Do you see the miracle? Think about how we can apply this to the people in our lives.
If we focus on what is rubbing us the wrong way, do you think that person will want to be nicer and more loving to us? NO! They’ll likely choose to find people or experiences where they do feel loved, understood, fulfilled, and lifted up.
The REAL transformation occurs within us. What do I need to forgive or let go of to come from a place of love?
The days are sure a lot more beautiful when appreciating the beauty in the flowers than nit-picking at the weeds. We must consciously acknowledge and clear the weeds from time to time so that the flowers can continue to flourish, and we can recognize that both have their purpose. And isn’t it fabulous that when tilling the weeds, we are actually given time to spend being with and noticing just how beautiful those flowers are?
I love you.