The Think. Question. Change. Workshop just finished up. One of the key concepts we discussed was Marilee Adam’s Question Thinking. During a two-week time period, we exercised getting into an observer mindset to interact with our world.
As an observer, you are detached from your own thoughts and feelings. Being able to move into an observer mindset opens up the possibility of making choices rather than reacting to the world around us.
Wearing my observer hat got me thinking about how I can best live out the command to love one another.
Give the benefit of the doubt.
When I am wearing my observer hat, I don’t judge others. I can give them the benefit of the doubt. My nature is to judge whether I have any knowledge about the person or situation.
For example, when I see someone who is not dressed appropriately I can judge them or begin to ask questions that might lead me to love. I have been volunteering with an organization called Dress for Success for a few years now.
The mission of Dress for Success is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. Through working with these women, I have found that there is so much more going on in their lives than I can even imagine. Offering them support by helping them with their resume or interview skills is really an act of love which will do more for them than judgement ever would.
Now my goal is to extend others that love without having to understand their situation.
Do not withhold forgiveness.
When I have my observer hat on I can’t jump to the conclusion that someone is hurting me on purpose versus just acting in ignorance.
I don’t think I have thin skin but I can get my feelings hurt, like you can I’m sure. When we are observing someone’s behavior and looking to respond in love then we will extend grace. Giving grace beyond the place we would have if we weren’t being intentional.
Forgiveness is not fun to ask for so don’t make someone ask. I have found that if I can offer love and forgiveness immediately I just need to do it.
If the offense needs discussion then opening the conversation with questions about what was going on when the offense took place is helpful. Just learning the back story can often give me the understanding I need to overlook it.
Keep my word.
The other side of the coin of offering forgiveness is behaving in a way that doesn’t require others to need to forgive you. In this busy world, we can often overlook our commitments to others.
Jesus said let your yes be yes. Loving others includes respecting them enough to do what you say you will do. Take the time to consider your words and actions before speaking. Once your word is given the decision has been made- in love follow through.
I have found being a person, someone can count on is one of the most loving things I can do for others.
What areas of your life do you see that wearing an observer hat and being intentional in your actions can be loving to those around you?