Ch. 15: Be the first one to act loving or reach out

This is an excerpt from a book I’ve been reading called Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and it’s all small stuff — simple ways to keep the little things from taking over your life. There’s a lot to learn in this life and I believe that if we just try to improve the way we live each day, we can welcome more love and positivity into our own lives as well as add to the lives of others in powerful ways.

“So many of us hold on to little resentments that may have stemmed from an argument, a misunderstanding, the way we were raised, or some other painful event. Stubbornly, we wait for someone else to reach out to us-believing this is the only way we can for give or rekindle a friendship or family relationship.

An acquaintance of mine, whose health isn’t very good, recently told me that she hasn’t spoken to her son in almost three years. “Why not?” I asked. She said that she and her son had a disagreement about his wife and that she wouldn’t speak to him again unless he called first. When I suggested that she be the one to reach out, she resisted initially and said, “I can’t do that. He’s the one who should apologize.”

She was literally willing to die before reaching out to her only son. After a little gentle encouragement, however, she did decide to be the first one to reach out. To her amazement, her son was grateful for her willingness to call and offered an apology of his own. As is usually the case when someone takes the chance and reaches out, everyone wins.

Whenever we hold on to our anger, we turn “small stuff” into really “big stuff” in our minds. We start to believe that our positions are more important than our happiness. They are not. If you want to be a more peaceful person you must understand that being right is almost never more important than allowing yourself to be happy.

The way to be happy is to let go, and reach out. Let other people be right. This doesn’t mean that you’re wrong. Everything will be fine. You’ll experience the peace of letting go, as well as the joy of letting others be right. You’ll also notice that, as you reach out and let others be “right,” they will become less defensive and more loving toward you. They might even reach back. But if for some reason they don’t, that’s okay too. You’ll have the inner satisfaction of knowing that you have done your part to create a more loving world, and certainly you’ll be more peaceful yourself.”

-Richard Carlson, PH.D.

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