Why are good habits so much harder than bad habits to form? It’s because most things that are worthwhile take effort! This one is a small thing that if you can change, and persist in making it a habit, could have a monumental impact on how you get along in life.
I have seen many people who fall on either side of having this good or bad habit – and I believe that it can have a major impact on how happy and fulfilled your life will be. It can either be a blight or a blessing.
OK – so imagine that you are meeting someone you have never met before – what are your instinctive first thoughts and reaction to them? Do you TRUST them / DON’T TRUST them / or feel NEUTRAL? It’s hard to modify the first two TRUST / DONT’TRUST as these have been hard-wired into you over years of genetics and experience. However, we more often are NEUTRAL to start with for most new encounters, where we haven’t quite yet decided.
What we say to ourselves next will determine what habit we have formed in these encounters. Sometimes we may just dismiss the person from our minds, distracted by something else and move on. But quite commonly, in our minds we will form a critical opinion of the other person, singling out something negative in what we see (overweight, ugly, weird) or some generalised or imagined criticism. Sometimes we do it and excuse it with humour.
Hopefully, now you will realise that you are doing it because what you may be doing is adding a critical attitude to any potential interaction with that person. If we do this, we are basically setting up new interactions to fail. If we set out to criticise others (even only in our thoughts) we start reacting poorly to people, they will sense our negative attitude and respond accordingly, usually less favourably. Thus a downward spiral can start.
The alternative is to make sure that we think kind thoughts automatically in a more NEUTRAL situation when we see or meet a stranger.
This habit is easy to practice; you can try it as you go about your day with people you pass by. As you are driving, walking or looking out your window, when you see someone make yourself think something positive about that person. Something kind may take a bit of effort but this is why good habits are harder to instil!
Practice: Next time you are in an area with lots of people, set your phone timer to 10 minutes: Now think a kind thought about everyone you see. Keep doing this and also notice when the bad habit sneaks back.
You know that the most miserable people to be around can be those who are always criticising or belittling others. So why let your mind do that covertly in everyday life? It just takes a few 10 minute exercises and you could be on your way to mastering a life-changing habit.
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