- We can walk in the darkness assuming that everyone we meet is out to get us.
- We can walk the brighter path looking for the good in others, assuming the best.
When we assume the best, we create a safe environment for our own self-exploration and spiritual maturity. You can see it in your physical posture. If you stand with your arms relaxed at your sides, your heart is wide open, welcoming the best. With your arms tightly crossed, then your heart is closed in an expectation of being hurt or afraid. Of course, it is easy to stand at the "water cooler" of life making the most negative assumptions about our jobs, our boss, our friends, and our families. But, a higher path is to practice loving yourself, loving your day, loving your life by assuming the BEST. At the very least, consider offering some benefit of the doubt that the universe knows what it’s doing and has your best interests in mind.
There are two paths that we walk:
My friend Anne posted on facebook recently, "Those who look to be offended are never disappointed (no offense)." It's true. If you want to see the dark side of anyone, you will find negativity reflected back to you. “Seek and you shall find.” Practice being critical, and you'll find plenty of ways to prove yourself right. But, the bigger question is, "Would you rather be happy or be right"?
We always have a choice. What you did yesterday need not hold you back from choosing better today. Practice assuming the best with a positive expectation, and you'll get really good at looking for the good. Barbara Frederickson, professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, explains that positive emotions allow us to see more, whereas negative emotions literally narrow our thinking. At the end of the day, there are really only two buckets: fear or love. The bucket you have made the most deposits of energy into will grow; think of this as your Happiness Return on Investment (ROI).
Only you are responsible for your Happiness ROI. And no matter what challenges you face, you can always choose to assume the best. As Paulo Coelho reminds us in The Alchemist, “The secret of life is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.” Just try it for a week: assume the best, and feel the abundance of joy that comes as a result of seeing more. Love yourself, love your day, love your life!
“We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen. Every day, God gives us the sun -- and also one moment in which we have the ability to change everything that makes us unhappy. Every day, we try to pretend that we haven't perceived that moment, that it doesn't exist -- that today is the same as yesterday and will be the same as tomorrow. But if people really pay attention to their everyday lives, they will discover that magic moment. It may arrive in the instant when we are doing something mundane, like putting our front-door key in the lock; it may lie hidden in the quiet that follows the lunch hour or in the thousand and one things that all seem the same to us. But that moment exists--a moment when all the power of the stars becomes a part of us and enables us to perform miracles.”
- Paulo Coelho in By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept