It’s week #6 of my personal blogging challenge, and today’s prompt is 3 Personality Traits I’m Proud Of. I think this is probably a difficult topic or most of us because, in general, I think most people focus on their weaknesses rather than their strengths. It would be easier, I think, to list three physical attributes I like–and that’s difficult enough–but I can attach those attributes to someone else–my mother’s eyes, my father’s nose…whatever. Personality traits are a bit more difficult.
But I committed to this experience, so I’m going to do my best.
Trait #1: I make it a point to look at things from the other guy’s perspective. When my kids were little, I would encourage them to do the same thing. To put themselves in the other guy’s shoes, to see the event through the other person’s eyes. To recognize that someone else’s response might have been triggered by pain or fear and not just by the person’s obnoxious personality. My ability to do this fairly well makes it far easier not to judge the other person’s actions and choices, and it also makes it possible for me to write about people who don’t necessarily see the world through eyes like mine. It allows me to remember that in almost every circumstance, it’s not all about me, and that’s something I’ve tried to teach my children and am now teaching my grandchildren. There are, of course, people and circumstances that make it harder to do this than others, but even with the most difficult person and the most challenging circumstances, I do try.
Trait #2: I am open to trying new things, going new places, and entertaining new ideas. One of my favorite movies/stage plays is 1776, about the discussions and arguments in the Continental Congress that led to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. One one of my favorite lines from that script is when Stephen Hopkins, representative from Rhode Island, (played by Ray Poole in the movie) says,
Well, in all my years I ain’t never heard, seen nor smelled an issue that was so dangerous it couldn’t be talked about. Hell yeah! I’m for debating anything. Rhode Island says yea!
That pretty much sums up my philosophy when it comes to ideas and other people’s beliefs. I run into people all the time who don’t share this mindset, and I have to admit, I don’t understand them. It pains me to imagine myself so afraid of a different idea or belief that I would prevent myself from hearing about it, reading about it, or talking about it.
New people, places, foods and customs are fascinating to me. If I had unlimited funds, I’d travel a lot more, see much more of the world, and experience many more things than I already have. I’d try more dishes, sip more beverages, and experience the world from a different perspective.
Trait #3: I try not to take myself too seriously. I try not to take life too seriously. Oh, I know, it’s serious business, and there’s serious stuff going on out there in the world, and bad things happen all the time. But good things happen, too. They just don’t sell as well as fear and pain and misery. Nobody tunes into the news for stories about puppies who weren’t abused, or children whose parents didn’t leave them in a hot car, or people from one ethnic background who aren’t even slightly prejudiced against the people from another. Advertisers don’t pay to promote stories about all the good people in the world who do good things, all of which far outnumber the bad. There are far more cats, dogs, and horses that are loved and cared for every day than there are animals that have been abused. There are far more children whose parents don’t forget about them, far more people who don’t murder their spouse rather than work things out.
I learned a long time ago that I can either choose to focus on the pain and the fear and the ugliness, and to wallow in my grief and self-pity, or I can choose to find something positive in any situation, no matter how difficult, even if it’s just being thankful that if all four tires on the car had to blow out at once, nobody was driving 60 mph across the bridge when it happened. When I first saw a sign with this saying on it, I thought it was the stupidest, tritest thing I’d ever heard. The next time I saw it, during an extremely difficult time in my life, I was in a different place emotionally, and I realized how true it was. I might be having financial difficulties or health issues, but I can be grateful that my kids and grandkids are healthy. I might be experiencing a plateau in my weight loss journey or (worse) my career, but I have a great family and friends. I might wake up to a car that won’t start, but I’ve found an honest mechanic I can trust to fix it.
And since there is always, always, always something to be thankful for, there’s always, always always something to smile or laugh about.