Opening The Package vs Assumptions…

 

“You don’t know what’s in the package until you open it.”  ~Unknown

When you receive a package do you spend time guessing what’s inside and assume what the package might contain? And does the wrapping affect your attitude about the contents? Well, this is what we sometimes do with life situations. We might miss something wonderful because the situation doesn’t come wrapped in a pretty package, and we discard it without looking past appearances. Or we might too quickly accept something based on its attractive wrapping and set ourselves up for disappointment.

We use this approach with all kinds of life situations, and we can’t always back out of the holes we dig for ourselves. Too often we accept our assumptions about a job, people, how we spend our money, a trip we plan to take, a home we buy, companies for repair work, and even food past the expiration dates. The list doesn’t end. That’s life. Just think about everything you do or need on a daily basis. Do you manage your life based on assumptions, or do you open the package and see what’s inside…to see what you’re getting?

“Assumptions allow the best in life to pass you by.” John Sales

One time I had a supervisor who pushed my buttons every time we encountered each other. This package was certainly not wrapped in pretty paper. But I wanted to keep the job, so I took the time to examine my own attitude and look beyond our differences. I was quite surprised to find she had qualities I’d not seen before. And we had a lot in common, much upon which to build a good relationship. As time passed, we became friends, and I remember her with a warm heart instead of with my initial assumption.

Then later I moved to a different city and searched for a job in my field. But the only one I could find was with a mental health team in a county jail setting–definitely not a package I had in mind. But I took the job until I could find what I wanted. I performed as required, but my attitude was not productive until I began to open the package and notice the many unexpected challenges and rewards in my work. I gradually realized I was in the right place. And I stayed in a job I loved for 10 years. I would have missed this rewarding experience if I had clung to my first impression.


“Do not blindly follow anyone or anything. Always seek the truth out for yourself.”   ~Unknown

Nobody gets it right all the time, and we all know what it feels like to end up where we don’t want to be. But we don’t want to be a skeptic about everything either. So when you need to make a sound judgment about something, a few rules might help to reach an accurate conclusion, at least most of the time.

1. Don’t be fooled by first impressions, positive or negative. Take your time and keep an open mind.

2. Use self-talk and plan your strategy. You’d be surprised at how much more clear something is with words than with thoughts. Words paint pictures, and pictures are revealing.

3. Gather information. Take notes and compare them as you go along.

4. Ask all kinds of questions from anyone who might have answers. Example: People who’ve had their stoves repaired may know who does or does not do good work repairing stoves. Etc. And only accept complete answers. No half…answers.

5. This is not rocket science, so be kind to yourself. It’s okay to make a mistake. Most of the time you can back up and start over.

6. When you feel ready, review your information, check your feelings, and act.

Of course, there are times when people, places, and situations we encounter are true to our first impression. But things aren’t always what they seem. And it’s usually worth our time and effort to look past the wrapping and open the package without judgment and find what’s really there. As least we won’t have to look back and wonder what might have been.

I wish you happy discoveries.

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From Fear Can Come Much Faith…

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”  ~Marie Curie

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We’re all afraid sometimes. It’s part of the human condition. Rational fears of a real danger mobilize to positive action. But fears of imagined threats can be destructive and immobilize to exhaustion. We deal with both as we move along our day-to-day path. And it’s helpful to understand what it is we’re dealing with.

A few years ago, I was in a serious car wreck caused by a driver making an illegal turn in front of my car at an intersection. My foot immediately slammed on the brake. Panic and fear gripped my senses, and I couldn’t stop screaming until impact suddenly stopped my car. I spent 4 days in the hospital and 2 months in a nursing home for rehab. I went from a wheelchair to a walker and then a cane. Yes, real dangers need positive action. But fears we conjure up in our minds take their toll in unnecessary stress and worry.

So what are you afraid of? What scares you? Does your mind sometimes drift into “what if” thinking, and you function from a state of fear? What if…I don’t get the job, I make a mistake, this person leaves me, I get sick again, I look foolish, my plan doesn’t work. What if…what if….  It doesn’t get you anywhere, does it? But we all do it.

“Faith and Fear both demand you believe in something you cannot see. You choose.”  ~Bob Proctor

We can’t see into the future, so everything in life is unpredictable. Caution is useful, but fear of the unknown can become a damaging habit. Usually, it begins with doubt, then you worry, and then fear sets in. Can you imagine how much negative energy you’re pouring into a situation? You’re already contaminating it. And your mind has chosen that route. But you have the power to choose freedom.

An effective way to stop a fear habit is to replace it with a habit of faith. And that takes some monitoring of your thinking patterns. Once you identify your doubt, worry, and fear, then you can do something about it. When you feel that first bit of discomfort in the pit of your stomach, go inside and clarify your feelings, honestly. And begin confronting those feelings.

“Don’t be afraid of change, because it is leading you to a new beginning.” ~Joyce Meyer

I’m a believer in denials and affirmations to change our feelings about something. We can’t deny our emotions, but we can deny them any power over us. Pull the fear up to the surface and talk to it like you would another person. “Okay, fear, I know you’re there. But I deny you have any power over me. You’re no bigger than a fly on a horse’s rump, so you might as well go away. I’m done with you.” Then affirm the truth about the situation. “I release you now and affirm my freedom from you through the real Power of faith within me. I am a precious child of the Universe, untouched by your mischief. So get out of my life.” Use whatever words you’re comfortable with, but be firm in your faith, faith in the truth of who you are.

Ridding yourself of unwanted emotions isn’t easy, and it takes practice. But as time passes, you’ll feel a shift of courage within you, and you’ll smile. As Maya Angelou says, “Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” Not every situation in your life will turn out the way you want it, but you can avoid those negative feelings, and walk your path with courage and faith. It’s like having a tool in your pocket when your human self gets in the way of your sacred Self. Life is not for living in fear. It’s for learning and growing and feeling happy.

I wish you faith-filled walks through each experience in your life.

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Author, Marilyn Fowler

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