So as I mentioned a few posts previously, I'm using the book The Peacemaker by Ken Sande and Kevin Johnson as the guide for my middle school girls Sunday school class. The first practical method of peacemaking that we discussed was "Overlooking," which is essentially thinking about those things that cause you frustration, but that are actually NOT the end of the world. While studying and preparing for this past Sunday morning, I realized that the Art of Overlooking can actually lead to extreme increased happiness. It never hit me before how much time I spend getting super frustrated about trivial things. So, I came up with a list of 10 situations in which I can focus on overlooking, out of love and forgiveness, what another person does. While this will on the most spiritual level bring me into a closer parallel with the life of Jesus Christ, it will also on a simple earthly level, bring me more happiness as I will spend less time being angry and more time enjoying life.
Things I Can Overlook
1. "Dumb"/Obvious questions that people ask me a.k.a. questions about my life that I don't understand why the person asking me doesn't already know the answer to. I can't assume that people, even my closest friends, know all the inner workings of my mind!
2. Nike Tempos and tights as pants - I think these are fashion statements I'm just gonna have to live with.
3. Cashiers with bad attitudes - How am I to know that these people just aren't going through something really difficult in their lives?!? They are human; just because they're in the service industry, that doesn't make them courteous smiley people 100% of the time.
4. My own clumsiness - I can't count the amount of times I have gotten frustrated with myself for dropping/spilling things when I should really just laugh it off...
5. When others don't do their work - Ok, obviously this shouldn't be a perpetual habit for anyone, but there are times when things in people's lives are just way more pressing than completing the readings for a class! I know there have been times when I've been so emotionally distraught that I just can't focus well on academic material.
6. My Dad's outspokenness - Sometimes the man truly gets to me, but I love him dearly and he is an amazing father so I should give him the benefit of the doubt and let him speak his mind. The interrupting my trains of thought thing is a little taxing, but maybe I should just let him finish his interruptions occasionally before I try to finish my statements...
7. People who know less than me in my undergrad classes - So this makes me sound WAY arrogant and maybe that is in fact the problem. I just need to GET OVER myself and let the undergrads listen, learn, and process the material that I was exposed to last semester or while teaching labs for the Biology department. A lot of the stuff they are learning now is stuff that I was completely unaware of until last semester anyway. Just take a breath!
8. Parking tickets - The bane of my existence!! I hate it when the University gives me a $50 ticket when I park in an EMPTY lot, but complaining and whining about it just isn't going to change anything. It is the way it is and maybe if I made an extra effort to be more on time, or...even...early *GASP*, then maybe I wouldn't have to worry about those parking fines at all.
9. The man with the bad truck - I live in a condo complex and there is this man who lives in a townhouse across the parking lot who has a truck that NEVER starts the first time. I don't know how many times I have had to listen to him try to start his truck for 10 minutes at a time before the thing turns on. The constant revving makes me insane!! What I really need to do is just pray for him because who knows if he just simply does not have the money to fix the truck (even though he does live in a town home which is more expensive than the condos). I keep reasoning my way into being angry with this man I do not know rather than considering that his life may be way more complicated than making black and white decisions.
10. Slow drivers - As someone who perpetually runs late, I cannot stand when people drive below the speed limit. The prospect of such a thing BLOWS MY MIND!! While I cannot honestly think of ANY reason why you would drive 25 in a 30, I just really should not waste my time muttering under my breath or screaming, "GO!!!" to these vehicles. They do not hear me and it does not help and it's just plain rude. Once again, I think making the effort for a little more punctuality may make this one a moot point as well.
Well, that's all for now! Maybe this list will inspire someone else to overlook the little things as well. I really do think such a thing can lead to increased happiness :-) If there are any situations or happenings in your life that infuriate you, but that you know you should just overlook, please comment on this post. I would LOVE to hear from others!