my gratitude to http://www.myessentia.com/blog/exploring-gratitude/ for this image.
This morning I was reading Michael Hyatt’s new book Platform – Get Noticed in a Noisy World. After he shared a particularly scathing criticism he received for his blog, he said: “I am just grateful I am not married to this person!” This brought to mind my methodology for dealing with some unpleasant people.
The first type of person I apply this philosophy of gratitude to are overly critical people. You know the type – someone who is always negative and complaining about everything. Their negativity just kind of drains you. In fact, in an earlier post I called these type of people emotional vampires because they suck you dry of your emotions.
The way I deal with an encounter with an overly critical person is to allow them to vent with me, but not be drawn into the negativity. I tell myself that I am just grateful my wife is not like this. This turns the negative energy into a positive for me, with an increased honest appreciation for my wife.
But there is another type of person I have applied this methodology to for years – the annoying and obnoxious person.
This can be as simple as a person with a whiny voice that makes them just sound like they’re always whining.
Or it can be a person who has to be the center of attention and every conversation.
Or it can be a person who is always right and knows everything.
Or it can be the person who has to always top everything you or anyone else says – they’ve always had it better, or worse, than anyone else. You get the idea.
Again, the way I deal with such an encounter is rather than dwell on how obnoxious or annoying the other person is, I concentrate on how grateful I am that I am not married to such a person.
But I didn’t always have this philosophy. Decades ago on two separate occasions I had a coworker come to help me in my work in Spain, and bring their wife. In both cases the wife behaved inappropriately. My reaction was to tell the husband and wife after the fact that the behavior was inappropriate. And in both cases it was past the point of really mattering because the damage was done, and neither wife was going to return to Spain. So instead of concentrating on additional reasons I was grateful for the wife I have, I really only succeeded in dwelling on the negative and seriously ticking off a couple of coworkers and their wives.
So why not give it a try? The next time a person’s critical negativity is draining you, stop to think how grateful you are that your spouse is not like that. Likewise, the next time a person grates on you as obnoxious and annoying, remember how grateful you are that you picked a spouse without those characteristics. It really works, and gratitude is one thing that turns Good Love into Better Love.