Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I need some advice

Sorry this is so long, but you know me, I have to write it all BOOK length.

Some of you may know that I have, of late, had the opportunity to reflect in some depth on the way I handle my real-life relationships with other people.
Online I'm great. I put myself out there and don't usually see where people snicker at me, think little of me, speak badly of me behind my back, etc.
The trouble is, in real-life I've been having a lot of trouble lately. So let me explain where I'm coming from and I would appreciate some honest advice.
I have held for the last several years a strict policy of assuming the best in others. When something happens I have trained myself to look for the possible good intentions of the person who did it. I try to put myself in their shoes and give them every opportunity to NOT be a villain.
For the most part, I have found that this makes me see things from a more Christlike perspective. (Not that I'm bragging, I know I am far from perfect in this... esp with my kids, sigh.) With practice it has become my nature to think of 3-4 good motivations for an action, even if the action is "bad" by popular standards. This has made it easier for me to see others in a good light and love them in spite, or even because of their mistakes. I even get along with my mother-in-law pretty well (which will shock anyone who has known me long.)
I think I am right in this choice, most people are not cruel by nature. They are God's children, and whatever their mistakes they do things thinking they are doing the right thing. Why would anyone hold a perspective they do not really believe? Why would anyone stand for something unless they feel it is right? They wouldn't, people who know or suspect they are wrong re-think, adjust their stance, try to be more right.
The only cases of cruelty or ill-intent I have seen have been cases where it is obvious to me the person acts out of misinformation or anguish, and how can I condemn them for that?
My trouble lies in my recent experiences with people assuming the worst intentions IN ME. Somehow in this quest of new thinking I have apparently lost touch with the way others think (yes, even while trying to understand how they think. I'm not as smart as I think I am sometimes.) They assume ill-intentions of me all the time, think I do out of spite things I do out of logic and trying to balance the demands upon me. Even when I make a special effort to explain my intentions, they think I am a liar and really mean to injure them.
I really try not to make mistakes, I try to be kind, loving, and thoughtful in all I do. This recent rash of railings against me has left me teetering on the brink of depression and feeling lost.
I have realised that this is a something I really need to learn from, that something in my actions, or perspective must be lacking. This is another refining fire for me, another chance to become better, a chance to more closely align myself with the correct path. It just pretty painful right now, and I long for a sage verse of scripture to spell it all out for me. I need that ah-ha moment that suddenly clicks something inside me and unlocks the view of my next stepping stone.
So tell me, am I really supposed to live my life constantly choosing every action based on the myriad of bad-intentions others will imagine for me? Should I be adjusting my thinking to "How will someone think badly of me for this?" or "What choice will have the least amount of people angry with me?"
How do I live like that? How do I balance having a forgiving heart with living in a world where people seem to WANT to think badly of others? How on earth am I supposed to function thinking along that many paths at the same time, and all the time? My brain is already strained trying to juggle everything I've got going on.
Any thoughts? There has to be a simple solution for this. Something plain and precious, that's how God works, isn't it?
I guess I'm looking for the line between naive and truly wise, can anyone point me the right way?


Michaela Stephens said...

I have found the same thing has happened to me. And you are right; it is very hard.
When you try to follow Heavenly Father and do what is right and make good decisions, there will be people who think you are being mean. The best you can do is explain to them your intentions with love and kindness. If they don't accept it, that is their problem, not yours. Stick to your guns.

Remember the first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all your heart, might, mind, and strength.
The second one (and there is a reason why it is second and not first) is to love your neighbor as yourself. It's not to love them more than yourself or less than yourself, but the same amount as yourself.
Do not fear man. Fear God. The only thing you have to be afraid of is offending God somehow.

Not everyone is going to be angry with you. When you are doing what is right, people who are most determined to do what is right will approve of you and stand by you.

Aaron and crystal said...

For as long as I can remember We have always done things along the same time line, and in this we must be connected too.
I too have been struggling with what other people have been thinking of me through the decisions that I have made. And I too have made them not out of malice or ill content but logic and fore thinking.
I have spent a fair amount of time pondering the same question that you are faced with right not. It ultimately comes down to these factors
1.No matter how hard you try, there is just no way to please everyone all the time. Do you remember the parable in the bible( at least I think it is in the bible) about the old man the boy and the Donkey. no matter where they went if the old man was walking people thought that the boy was horrible for making him walk when he should be resting on the donkey. and if the boy was walking then the old man was chastised for making the young child walk. and if they both rode then they were scoffed at for putting so much strain on the donkey. So even with the best of intentions things are misconstrued!
2. Heavenly father is the one being who TRULY know what is in your heart and that is all that matters!!!
I love you!!! HUGS FROM UTAH!!!

Margret said...

Hi, sweet person. I miss you. You know that Heavenly Father looks on the heart, and he doesn't see in the way that people see....we are instructed not to judge others for a reason. It hurts when others judge our actions, because of course, we are trying to do our best. I so admire your working to see the best of intentions in others, and wish that they were doing the same for you, but this is the world--a most imperfect place. Remember that H.F. knows your heart, and loves you so very much. He doesn't expect you to live according to what everyone else thinks, and no one else should either. Follow your heart, do what you feel is right and best, and try not to accept others' opinions about your motivations. Heavenly Father owns the only path I want to be on. Sadly it runs right along side of the great and spacious building. Prayerfully listen to the conference this weekend and maybe you will find some golden truths in there just for you. Love you!

Bobbi said...

I will always love you!

JerieH said...

Sis, listen to Crystal. She she is right. No matter how hard we try we cannot please everyone, and there will always be someone who will CHOOSE to be offended.

I am so sorry that this is happening to you, and I know how you feel. I guess the best I can say is hang on, be yourself, and we will be praying for you.

Finally Happy!!! said...

I love the way you 'put pen to paper'. Sometimes I will read a post I normally wouldn't read on BBC if I see that you've commented last. I gain so much from you, a stranger, and the wisdom you provide to others. I wish I knew the scripture or proverb that would clear your fog. I'm not so well versed yet.

My grandfather, one of the greatest men I've ever known, told me when I was to young to understand, that the meaner someone is to you, the nicer you should be to them.

Please don't be so hard on yourself, you set an incredible example for so many. Many more than you offend. Stay the course and keep writing!

AutismPsyD said...

First of all, the perspective of giving everyone the benefit of the doubt is not to be abandoned. You're right, we'll all doing the best we can every moment, even if that "best" is not all that good. Any other perspective includes judgment that is not ours to make.

There is a lot of good feedback already, and I applaud it. It sounds to me like you're going through a testing period. When this happens to me (and you know it does, I'm going through it again, too) it helps me to remember Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail. He didn't deserve what he got, either. I try to take such times as an indicator that God thinks I'm ready for the next step. Of course, I still do the introspection and try to ferret out what I might need to change, but I try to keep this in the "what" and "do" categories, and not let it affect the "who" within.

I have found that these three categories are useful. The "do" is exactly as it seems: what we do (teach, sing, etc.). The "what" is the label people put on us that is associated with the "do." Criticism over something we do should address the "do" and the "what" but never the "who" to the degree that it seems to have done to you lately.

Only you can address the "who," and when you do it in conversation with the Lord, you'll have the inspiration regarding the tweaking He sees you need. The "who" is filled with your inner qualities and your personality traits, the spiritual you that was so valiant in the pre-mortal realm. Your "who" includes patience, tenderness, desire to lift others, etc. It can also include some negative stuff, but that's not mine to consider.

I find it useful to ask myself, "who do I want to be...what kind of person do I want to be?" and then let that guide my "who" developmental process.

The problem comes when we let others' statements jump from the "what" to the "who," especially when the statements are negative. (There's problems with letting the positive ones jump, too, but that's a discussion for another time.) It's especially bad when we are the ones who encourage the jumping. So I find it useful to think, "keep most of this in the 'what' part, and let the Lord tell you how much 'who' to associate with it."

Even though our "who" dictates much of the actual "what" in our lives (perspective drives behavior), mistakes made are not necessarily indications of bad "who" characteristics. But even when there is a lot of truth to what someone has said about what you have done (inferring or directly attributing negative "who" characteristics), if you remember (as others here have said) that your "who" is truly based on that eternal, divine nature within you, you'll come out on top.

You always do, sis.

Besides, your detractors are all jealous, fearful people! So says the mom...sorry that you are feeling such pain, and wishing I could somehow kiss the owie and make it all go away.........I admire you and am grateful for all I have learned from you.

Love ya bunches, ya know that

Anna said...

I like Michaela's comment. I know I worry too much about what other people think, and spend too much effort trying to please them. It's rarely worth it. I can love them, I can serve them, I can pray for them. But I do worry what they think of me in the process. Very insightful post.