Romans 12:18 – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (NIV 1984)
Attitude – The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home.
The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes. (Chuck Swindoll)
Emotions – Emotions don’t settle upon you like a fog. They are not foisted upon you by others. No matter how uncomfortable it might make you feel by saying it – others don’t make you mad. You make you mad. You make you scared, annoyed or insulted. You and only you create your emotions.
Once you’ve created your own emotions, you have only two options: You can act on them or be acted on by them. That is, when it comes to strong emotions, you either find a way to master them or fall hostage to them. (Crucial Conversations, by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler. McGraw Hill, 2012)
My Musings – Life is full of people thinking the worst of us, saying unkind things about us and doing terrible things to us. These are the things that are “foisted upon [us] by others.” We cannot stop them from happening, “we cannot change the inevitable.” What we can change is how we “react to [them].” More specifically, do “we act on [master] them” or are we “acted on by [fall hostage to] them?” The choice is ours.
My Advice – Living at peace with certain people will not always depend upon what we think, say or do. “We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.” Nevertheless, we need not respond in kind. We must do our best to stay “in charge of [both] our attitudes [and emotions].” It may not be easy. Doing the right thing is rarely is.