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Choosing to assume positive intent in my life has been a game changer. Find out why!
There’s a lot to learn when you become an adult.
Some are transactional in nature. Things like budgeting, taking care of regular car maintenance, preparing Thanksgiving dinner, or understanding when to take your sick kids to the doctor.
Others lessons, though, are kind of ethereal in nature and more difficult to accomplish—things like changing behavior and learning to have an open mind.
A few years ago I was invited to join a parenting group for moms. My kids were older than normal mom-group-seeking age, and I’ll admit that my first reaction was something like, “I don’t have time to participate in a group, never mind deal with the typical drama that comes with groups like this.”
But, because I respect my invitation-giving friend, and know that she, too, isn’t looking to waste time with eye-rolls, I decided to accept the invitation and join. The group is virtual, comprised of women from all over the country (and some outside the country, too), and the mothers in the group have a wide age range of kids. I won’t bore you with the details, but I will tell you this…
At three years in, this “group” has become a tribe. What that means is, not only do I find value in being connected to these women, I’ve also learned a lot about myself and, if I’m honest, I’ve grown as a person.
There have been many takeaways I’ve applied to real life, whether parenting- or relationship- or work-focused. Even some grammar-focused takeaways, thanks to a healthy swath of editors and English majors. (Did I mention we’re all like kindred spirits?)
The most important takeaway to date, however, has been this: the importance of assuming positive intent.
This moment of yes! may not have been life changing like having kids or buying a house, but it’s impacted a part of every single one of my days since I began retraining myself to see things differently. I’m generally a positive person, and also pretty even-keeled emotionally. But even I, as happy and patient as I am naturally, found myself coming up with inherently negative assumptions for other people’s behavior (or lack of communication).
Except I didn’t even realize it until my tribe pointed it out—not necessarily at me, but in many deep conversations with each other over how to overcome barriers and live smarter. It takes a bit of self-reflection and open mindedness to realize you need to change, inwardly or outwardly.
Here’s an example:
In conversations with a friend, the two of you decide to meet up for dinner on Saturday, time and place yet to be determined—she’ll text you later in the week to figure it out. You’re both excited about it and looking forward to catching up. As Thursday rolls around, you haven’t received a text from her. Life is busy, and in order to make sure you can actually juggle things to go out on Saturday for dinner, it’d be really nice to have those plans firmly in place. Friday, still no text.
Old reaction: I can’t believe she hasn’t texted yet—how rude and inconsiderate. Then, continue to stew until Sunday morning, after which a passive aggressive text is sent: What happened to you on Saturday? I was waiting for your text.
New reaction: It’s getting close to the weekend, and she still hasn’t texted yet. Her life is just as chaotic as mine, and I bet she forgot to touch base about Saturday—it happens to the best of us, and she’ll probably be mortified when she remembers. Hopefully it’s just that, and not something worse. I’ll check in to confirm, and if plans fall through, then I’ll enjoy doing x/y/z instead.
Here’s another example:
The person in front of you is driving ridiculously slow, taking corners at the pace of a snail. All you want is for him to go the speed limit, and if this pace continues, you’re going to be late for a meeting.
Old reaction: What is the problem? How hard is it to drive the speed limit and be aware of your surroundings and the people following you?
New reaction: That’s really odd that this person’s driving so slow. Maybe he’s transporting something that’s delicate (a person or an item). Logically, there’s probably a reason besides just being a bad driver.
We get to choose our own reactions to others’ behavior. Sure, sometimes people are jerks. Big jerks. Odds are, though, that most people are not jerks, so it’s weird that so many humans have a natural tendency to swing towards a negative reaction to a situation.
And you know what? Gosh, that’s so much more work, and soooo emotionally draining. I much prefer to exert energy into positive outcomes, and to not spend so much time mulling over things that are negative—or have the potential to be negative.
We all have choice to say yes to adopting new, positive and healthier behavior.
Well Yes!® was developed to meet the needs of people looking for better, more positive options within the canned soup category. They’re soups with unique flavors that are deliciously crafted with real nutritious ingredients like chicken meat with no antibiotics, sweet potatoes, kale, and quinoa. In addition to creating a line of soups with purposeful ingredients, they’re aiming to demonstrate a point-of-view about the value of positivity and joyfulness. Basically, say yes to the good stuff so you have what you need to say yes in the rest of your life. I’m on board with that philosophy (and with yummy soup)!
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