I’m a pretty positive person. I’m known as someone who continually strives to see the bright side. I look for a sympathetic reason for others’ behavior when it seems like they’ve simply been rude. That’s what I do—most of the time.
Our son was visiting for the holidays. A few times he did to me exactly what I routinely do to others. He heard something I said and then said in return, “Yeah, but it could be . . .”
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I’m Negative Nelly at home but Miss Merry Sunshine out in the world. That’s not it. However, he did point out that I had a few bouts of negative thinking. There were a few people toward whom my immediate reaction was to assign negative motives. When I realized what was going on, I thanked him for pointing out an area in which I need to do some work.
What’s your response when someone suggests that you might need to make a change? Are you open to correction, or do you get defensive? Do you take in what’s being said to you and weigh it out to see if it’s valid, or do you mentally tick off every flaw you see in the person who’s talking to you?
Not every suggestion is worth embracing. There are times when someone couches their own agenda in the language of correction. There are times when someone misunderstands what you’re doing so their perspective is skewed. But, if you don’t consider what their telling you, you might miss out on an opportunity to grow.
Don’t be thrown, either, by the messenger. This time it was my son. Most of us feel like we should be the ones giving advice and correction to our children. That’s true to a point, but my son is 23, a leader, and a thoughtful man of God. I take his viewpoint seriously. He’s not perfect by any means, but he is insightful. And, in this case he was absolutely right.
A teachable person is capable of growth. One who is not is in danger of stagnating and becoming his or her own stumbling block.