Wednesday, May 23, 2012

On the Other Hand

One of my greatest personal struggles is that I tend to view the world through a negative lens. I instinctively move to tear people and institutions down based on my first impressions or my personal tastes, before I even allow the slightest opportunity for objective analysis. I recognize this as a serious problem, and thus I am exploring avenues that might help me to reprogram my mind toward viewing the world from a more positive vantage point.

To this end, there are at least three things that bear mentioning for me to keep in mind as I approach each situation:
  • Even if something doesn't fit my fancy, doesn't mean that it is not a wonderful resource or opportunity or blessing for others. In many cases, the needs and opinions of the many, far outweigh the needs and opinions of the few (or the one).
  • Something that at first glance seems suspicious or worrisome might actually be the best possible alternative among the available options. In some sense, the lesser of the evils that could lead to the great good.
  • My instincts might just be wrong about someone or something, and I might come to a different opinion after some reasoned consideration.
So, with this rubric put out there, I would like to start a new blog series entitled "On the Other Hand" where I will try to look at two sides of an issue or institution that my first instinct would be to put down or dismiss. The format will be straightforward. I will introduce a topic and say a few words about my initial negative impression. Then I will think about the same topic in a different light, trying to approach it more positively. Let's begin down this road tomorrow with a topic that has soured me for a while, church leaders who rely on image consultants to form their opinions and their action plans.