Higher Thinking, Empathy, And Positive Intent

How fast do we assume the worst? Media is no longer the traditional forms of BBC, Washington Post, or NBC. Rather, media today is anybody with a cell phone. What pictures and texts are people sharing of us as we live our daily lives? When we act with positive intent, we can see the world as we wish others to see it – one where our intentions are more positive than what is displayed simply through our acts themselves. Our ability to live life in harmony with less judgement and fewer quick negative judgements comes from assuming positive intent.

Pain is Inevitable. Misery is Optional. ~ Hyrum Smith

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Positive Intent as a component of our authenticity, cited from Travis Bradberry, can create the following beneficial repercussions:

1. It helps others to be their authentic selves.
Assuming positive intent means helping people who cut in line or interrupt, it’s less about telling them they are wrong. We all make mistakes, and positive intent is giving respect to others who make an error, and helping them see for themselves their missteps through gentle questions centered from caring instead of judgement. In some cases ignoring transgressions against us is the higher road and the ticket to positive intent. In Moses time, the intention was “An eye for an eye;” centuries later, in Jesus time, it became, “Turn the other cheek.”  

In the battle to be Right or Kind – choose Kind. It’s closer to your values and everyone else’s. – Wayne Dwyer

2. It allows us to let go of negative people.
When we use positive intent we have too much self-respect to put up with those who treat us badly, and too much respect for others to try to change them. So we let go of the negative people in our lives —not out of anger, but out of our need to be authentic to ourselves. Even relatives don’t make us mad – we make ourselves mad. Positive intent means we choose our feelings. It’s not what people do that hurts us, it’s our chosen response to those actions that hurts us.

3. We can express our true feelings and opinions, even when they’re not popular.
Authentic people don’t live a go-along-to-get-along lifestyle. They’re simply not capable of acting in a way that’s contrary to what their values dictate. Integrity is doing the right thing regardless of reward or consequence. This means that as part of having positive intent, we are willing to live with the side effects of staying true to ourselves.

We cannot lose our self-respect if we do not give it to them. ~ Gandhi

4. We gain confidence.
We’re afraid that somebody’s going to discover that we’re not as smart, experienced, or well-connected as we pretend to be. With positive intention we don’t have that fear. Confidence comes from the ability to be transparent – to show up with others as we really are, with less pretense. Confidence comes from the knowledge that being vulnerable about our mistakes gives us real power – that’s called humanity. We will follow people who express that humanity all day long instead of robotic rightness.

5. We can take advice openly from everyone.
Assuming positive intent gives us the opportunity to receive all kinds of feedback and input, without being distracted by the source or the content of their message. How many of us have learned significant lessons from the innocent question of a child? Advice doesn’t have to come from persons of authority, rather we can learn from anyone if we apply our own sense of curiosity to advice we receive.

Don’t complain about your problems to others- 80% of people don’t care, and 20% of people are glad you have them.  ~ Lou Holtz

6. Happy people don’t have the BEST of everything. They MAKE the most of everything.
Positive intent people have a very firm grasp on reality. When things don’t go their way, they don’t get trapped in denial, and they don’t sit around whining about how things should be different. They simply realize they got to where they are through past choices, and now they get to make another choice based on changing circumstances. They figure out a way to make the best of it.

Sometimes you Win; Sometimes you Learn. ~ John Maxwell

7. We won’t get stressed or upset when someone doesn’t like us.
Having positive intentions means having less anxiety because we don’t worry or try to change ourselves to influence someone else’s opinion. We can accept that other people have a right to be authentic about their own feelings, even if those feelings are negative towards us.

To think positive in stressful situations goes against our basic instincts of protecting ourselves or attacking others as the first response to survival. Positive Intention is not basic, it’s advanced, and we are an advanced civilization. Our greatest leaders don’t let their emotions drive crucial decisions. They master positive intention through empathy and higher centers of brain-judgement, in order to achieve better outcomes instead of choosing to throw a rock or sling mean words.

Be Positive – to Think Better
Bring it on, I got this!

Jim

1 Comment
  1. Thanks for sharing. As my mom would say, “Give them the benefit of the doubt.” I appreciate the quotes given to emphasize the the ideas in each section.

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