What if I told you that you have a power inside that you’re not using? That if and when you decide to use it, your stress level will go down and you might just feel better than you have in years. Would you resolve to give yourself that gift in 2020?

Every day I have conversations with people who, while well-meaning, are creating undue workplace pain and agony by doing one thing:  carrying the past forward. Over and over again they choose to see a colleague’s mistakes, shortcomings, weaknesses, and faults. They look around the office and silently make note of things they don’t like about their colleagues, how others have let them down, ticked them off or frustrated them. They’re oblivious to a power we all have, and the freedom that comes from even the smallest application of it.

Let’s take a closer look.

How I View You Will Be My Experience of You

The default of the human brain is to see what we want to see. A perceptual mechanism called the reticular activating system, when left to run without conscious direction, will limit perception. But to shift this entirely, I only need to be willing to see beyond someone’s failings for a moment. If I choose to see their errors as points of learning, I put myself on a completely different path.

And if I keep choosing to see them with generalized positive regard, I will begin to see that their character flaws aren’t all of who they are. I will start to see that there are parts of this person that are still developing and growing, that a part of them is still unfolding, and I will have a different experience of them.

In essence, when I stop limiting my view to just their annoying parts (LOL), the dynamic is immediately changed. I become able to see them in a new light because I’ve freed up the part of my mind that was holding them mentally hostage for their past mistakes. I may still decide I don’t prefer to work with this person, be married to them, or live next door to them, but at least I won’t resent, try to change, or be passive-aggressive with them. I will accept the person as they are: an unfolding, developing human being, just like me.

All of this rests on the power of choice to see others with positive regard. It’s a power that’s always on offer and available to us and it creates a huge shift in workplaces, families, and communities.

How can you be sure you’re making the best choice for a less stressful, more enjoyable year? Consider experimenting with the idea of holding others in the spirit of unconditional positive regard. Here is an affirmation to get you started:

I intend to use my power of choice to create more wellbeing in my life. I will begin with positive regard for myself and others.

Happy January 2020!

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