With delicate precision, the grandkids smeared stinky cheese into Grandpa’s moustache while he snoozed. Grandpa awakes, it stinks! No matter where he goes, everything stinks. The whole world stinks!
It can be surprisingly hard to tell whether it’s the whole world that stinks, or just that tiny speck under your nose!
Have you ever been around someone for whom everything “stinks”? How much fun is that? And here’s a stinky question: Is that ever you?
Grandpa’s complaints didn’t start with the smelly cheese. His back aches unmercifully since he pulled those heavy boxes off the truck. Then Billy, the only person Grandpa figures is worth talking to, decides to move west. Plus, his workplace is full of idiots.
Let’s examine Grandpa’s view.
He knows he hurt his back by being careless. He wouldn’t ask for help because he’d rather do it himself. When it comes down to it, Grandpa has a pretty low opinion of people.
Grandpa feels miserable about Billy’s decision. He understands why Billy is leaving, and truth be told, he respects him for taking the chance. He’s not going to tell Billy though; nobody’s going to see him crying at the airport.
As for work, Grandpa knows they can’t keep manufacturing buggy whips now that these newfangled cars have taken over. But this bunch of youngsters who keep trying to “improve” things; why can’t they leave things alone? He wishes they’d stop shoving changes on him all the time.
So Grandpa feels that he can’t rely on his friend, his work, even his own body, and it’s all because of other people.
Is there another viewpoint he could use?
Grandpa could be grateful that he didn’t do permanent damage when he hurt his back. He could see the incident as a valuable warning that he needs to respect his limitations or risk a permanent injury.
His friend is moving. Life will be different, possibly lonely. However, now he has somewhere to go—to visit Billy! That might even pave the way for a positive change in Grandpa’s future.
And there’s work. He has lots of experience. People have asked him what he thinks. He could contribute to the changes, maybe make them better.
Grandpa’s fundamental complaint is that other people are the problem. Some folks view everyone with suspicion because they don’t want to be disappointed. And if you choose that outlook, you’ll be able to find examples to justify it.
However, if Grandpa chooses to look for positive examples, he could find those too. For example, Grandpa could ask the kid next door to help him unload the truck. He could continue his friendship with Billy, even over the miles. And some of those work changes sound like they could actually be helpful. Which approach will make his life better?
Your outlook is your choice; and changing a well-engrained point of view is not easy. It takes determination and deliberate effort. Is it worth it to try a change?
Do you think that having a skeptical view of human nature makes your life better or worse?