I believe we construct so many detrimental stories about others and how they treat us. We assume they are trying to leave us out, trying to make us feel bad, or trying to ignore us. But what if we change that and instead assume they are oblivious, self-focused, or are struggling with their own issues? While this does not change the actions of others, it can help us feel better about the intention, about the why we so often struggle with.
When we frame others as humans who only want belonging and happiness, the negative assumptions we make often melt away. I don’t want to seem naive; sure, there are always those malicious people who are actively trying to hurt us, but they are far less common than we think. I know I would rather feel naive than bitter.
This way of thinking is self-protective and inherently positive; leaving the space for us to give others the benefit of the doubt where we often fill in the blanks with malintent.
I think of all the times someone made an off-hand comment or forgot to thank me when I assumed it must have been a purposeful, spiteful choice. In my experience, spite is the exception, not the rule. While it is not easy to cultivate a positive outlook on others, it can be easy to begin questioning assumptions–and even asking the person directly in some instances.
What if that guy who cut you off in the parking lot just lost his job or is worried about his ailing mother? Would you feel differently about how he stole your spot? Maybe you wouldn’t cuss him out or send over a death glare. Maybe you would instead feel compassion for him and his situation. I know feeling compassion always leaves me feeling happier and healthier than an expression of rage or frustration in moments like these.
A friend of mine shared this talk with me and thought I would like it–he knows me well! Duneier, the Guinness World Record holder for the largest crocheted granny square along with numerous other accomplishments, provides great concrete examples of how small tweaks and changes we make in our life can add up slowly and make a huge difference. For example, I started listening to Ted Talks consistently four years ago and I believe my knowledge and general perspective on life has changed dramatically. It is all about those small little choices we make, not the drastic New Years resolutions so many of us make in a few short weeks. Start little, start now.
Do you agree with Duneier’s advice?
Holiday travel can be unpleasant, to put it mildly! I hate traveling on the average day (the flights, not the destinations and experiences), but somehow the holidays amplify the stress and bring out a little extra crazy. I’m now flying home from the West Coast and opt for overnight flights to avoid losing a day at home or work, plus these flights are often less pricy. In an effort to make my travel as comfortable as possible, I’ve come up with a few tips and tricks that help me.
- Make a packing list: you’ll probably tell yourself “oh, I would never forget that..,” but there is nothing worse than arriving at your destination without underwear or the murder mystery you were halfway done reading.
- Packing cubes:
- Water bottle:
Specific to overnight flights:
- Pack a pillow! I recently bought a Turtl pillow (yes, I realize how silly they look). It is so important to have good neck support so you can sleep and wake up without serious neck pain when you arrive at your destination.
- Take something to help you sleep whether that’s melatonin or a low grade sleeping aid; just ensure that you have enough time in the air after you take it so you are not too drowsy when you land. Depending on what you take, I like to have a minimum of six hours of buffer time after I’ve taken my melatonin or other sleep aid.
- Pack socks–nothing is worse than cold feet! They take up so little room and will definitely be worth it.
Will you be traveling this holiday season? What are your best travel tips?
Nir Eyal is an Emory alum and has been referenced numerous times in one of my favorite podcasts, Note to Self. He poses an interesting idea about technology and why it has a death grip on our minds and behaviors. I think he is really on to something; I find myself compulsively checking my Instagram, Facebook messages, and even this blog on occasion. I think it is all about setting healthy limits and using technology in ways that enhance wellbeing rather than detract from it.
Do you agree with Eyal’s argument?