Saturday, September 6, 2008

You know someone is unhappy when...

You know someone is unhappy when he/she has a critical spirit. 

We've all been there.  We're waltzing around like Mary Poppins thinking all the happiest thoughts in the world and there strikes an intruder-- a critical spirit.  

What's our gut reaction? To defend ourselves.  To play the game. To stoop to that level.  

A critical spirit is just like a prison.  It traps its captors in and doesn't let reason in with it.  It paints a broad, unthinking brushstroke over every good deed or kind act that person has done and rears its ugly head in critical thoughts, comments and unkind gossip.  

It's easier to spot in someone else other than yourself, especially if the criticism has been leveled at you.  

If you do happen to spot it in yourself, you can take care of it like nobody else can for you. 

The opposite of a critical spirit is compassion and understanding, combined with thankfulness.  

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, since I used to think my "duty" to pass judgement on whatever came my way.  If I somehow didn't express a clear opinion of the situation that came my way, then I wasn't a thinking person? or something? I can only tell you how it robbed me of all the joy any situation afforded.  

In situations where I can't possibly know all the facts (which is most things!), I give myself permission to assume the best! It's such a wonderful, liberating feeling.  If it is a worst-case scenario, God will make it plain.  I don't need to go imagining it in my mind.  

When someone is late for a meeting, I assume there was a real, genuine reason for them being late.  Maybe they found a person in need along the way who needed help? 

When someone speaks harshly to their children in public, I think: Maybe they've all had a hard day.  I've been there, too!

You get the idea.  Isn't it a nice thing to be around yourself when you aren't imagining worst-case scenarios all the time?   


PlanningQueen said...

Such a thoughtful post. I remind my children it takes the same effort to be nice as it does to be nasty.

Judy Parlato said...

You remember what Grandma Jo used to say when someone was particularily grumpy or abrupt? She would look quite satisfied with her sage response when she reported,"Perhaps their underware binds?"
63 and smilin' - Mom

Organizing Mommy said...

That's right Mom. I wanted to make it the binding underwear post, but I wasn't sure how the readers would take it. But now that YOU'VE brought it up.. You know you're underwear is binding when...

You are the one who helped me get over my critical worst-case scenario binding-underwear attitude. Other than the Lord, you're the Mary Poppins of my life.

Katie @ 3 Blondes and a Redhead said...

OH yes, I have been here. A critical spirit is contagious and does WONDERS for our witness to unbelievers. (i.e. my mother in law...she eats it up when I'm less than perfect to say, "SEE??? Being a Christian isn't all that great." What is her expectation anyway? Here I go I'm being critical of HER!!!)