If you want to see how well you're improving your mindset try this out...
Visit with a coworker that usually annoys you or call a family member that irritates you.
Then ask yourself these three questions:
- What was I thinking as we talked?
- How did I feel during our conversation?
- How do I feel now?
This is a wonderful litmus test. It’s easy to enjoy the first cup of coffee of the day or a hug from a loved one. It gets harder to tap into these feelings when you are around someone that can get under your skin.
As you see how your thoughts and emotions bounce all around when you are around them you’ll notice opportunities for emotional growth if you are willing to dig deep and look for it. Whether you are a boss, parent or community leader you can’t interact with everyone that brings you joy, that’s why working on your mindset is so important.
Writing down your gratitude for someone difficult will help you relax and appreciate them for who they are and not what you want them to be. This practice will expand your ability to understand other people’s emotions and appreciate them. You will also allow yourself to expand your perspective of them. They can’t frustrate you as easily if you are able to appreciate them.
Appreciation encourages empathy. If you can empathize with someone then they stop being just a “bully” or a “weirdo”. They become someone that you want to understand better, and your curiosity takes over. You begin to appreciate the feelings that occur and how they are able to push your buttons. What about them gives them this power?
Many times it’s because we see a similar quality in ourselves and it annoys us. When we can tap into appreciation, curiosity, empathy and eventually love then we form a different relationship with them and ourselves. We see these feelings and begin to smile and appreciate what they are teaching us.
This is the power behind your appreciation practice. You can rewire how your brain thinks and reacts to other people. If you dig deep enough everyone has a beauty, even the grumpiest people. This does take practice and I’m far from perfect, but the more I practice the more enjoyable my life and relationships become.
Now that you’ve been building your appreciation practice I would like you to go a little deeper. I would like you to try keeping a “Annoying People” gratitude journal. Ask yourself, “What do I appreciate about (fill in person that irritates you here)?
Here’s an example from a couple years ago for me:
I appreciate Mark because…
- He is detailed oriented, catches all of my grammar mistakes and helps me become a better writer.
- He doesn’t laugh at my jokes, which encouraged me to improve my delivery.
- He loves his family like I do and he is quick to answer my questions whenever I reach out to him.
I kept this appreciation journal every day for two weeks and it helped me reduce my frustration when I interacted with him. My goal now is to think about things I’m grateful for about someone before I meet with them. I try to quiet the negative inner chatter, so I can be more open to their ideas and enjoy our conversation.
The more you practice the easier it gets to open your mindset to see more sides of people. It’s this mindset expansion that will do wonders for your happiness and relationships.
Who do you struggle to enjoy?
Can you keep a “Appreciation Journal” about them?
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash