I think we can all agree that befriending those that are kind, easy to talk to, positive and helpful comes naturally. The true test of character comes when we are faced with decisions of how to react to those that are rude, uninterested, selfish and unkind.
How can we continue to view others through eyes of love when they project a negative image? This becomes difficult as a natural response is to be just as rude back.
Believe it or not, seeing others through eyes of love includes a lot of understanding, compassion and having patience.
In doing so we are trying to see the best in others when they have yet to find it in themselves. It means giving others the benefit of the doubt even when they give us no reason to.
Once we realize that we all have different experiences that meld our personality, our outlook on life, our behaviors and attitudes, it may make it easier to see the world from a different perspective. We become more forgiving of each other’s shortcomings knowing that we each have our own internal struggles.
I often think that God gives us the opportunity to have faith not only in him but in the goodness of others.
Tips on how to see others through eyes of love:
- Stop trying to pass judgment. Most of our negative emotions towards others stem from an expectation that was not met. Overall, we have a natural tendency to expect others to act a certain way. First, we must accept that we are not the perfect judge of the soul, we can not condemn another person’s actions because we do not have the full story – there are two sides to every story but God only sees one perfect side.
There probably have been moments in our lives where we have misjudged someone or were quick to judge others by their outward appearance. Once we control our natural predisposition to pass judgment, we can open ourselves up to seek understanding instead.
- Practice seeing the good in others. Think of the last time you were quick to get upset. Your mind was most likely filled with negative stories and thoughts about the other person that fueled your anger even more. This may have led you to do things you later regretted or caused you to be preoccupied with replays of these stories the rest of the day.
Though we may not notice it, we base our emotions through assumptions of the things we see and hear. Said assumptions can turn others from decent human beings into a villain of a story and with us as the victim. It is important that we take a step back, reexamine the facts and look at the bigger picture.
For instance, on one occasion my husband left all his dishes in the sink and I started to tell myself that he left the dishes assuming that I would wash them all for him. I immediately got upset and started to give him an attitude. All while thinking to myself how rude, inappropriate and insensitive it was for him to dump this task on me. He immediately turned to me and asked why I always saw the worst in him, when he loved me more than anything and that it was never his intention for me to wash his dishes at all, he just forgot they were there. I soon realized that I was letting negative thoughts and assumptions cloud my judgment about him instead of getting to the root of the problem. Honestly I was stressing about a trip and just wanted to leave a clean kitchen before we left to go out of town.
Deep down, people often have good intentions that drive their actions, we just have to practice noticing it. Often, people are just human who make mistakes and mean no harm by it.
- Forgiveness and letting go. This may be one of the most important things to do in order to see others through eyes of love. Psychiatrists have stated that those that are quick to forgive have better health, decreased depression, anxiety and anger levels.
Harboring feelings of resentment and anger prevents us from focusing on the present and future and can impact those we love. It prevents us from seeing others around us positively.
Practice seeing others with compassion knowing that we all make mistakes and probably have been the offender in situations before. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that the actions of the other person were justified or that you have to be good friends with them. Forgiveness means accepting the fact that it has happened and moving on from it versus obsessing over what should have happened or could have happened.
Most importantly, forgive yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for things that may have happened. Accept responsibility for it, learn from it and move on.
- Stop the negativity. Speaking negatively of others only begets more negativity. It turns us into the victim and recruits others to also share unnecessary negative feeling toward people. It allows gossip to spread resulting in a cycle of anger, hurt and misunderstandings.
Neuroscience has shown that the more we gossip about someone, the more we will grow to dislike them. It fuels our anger and prevents us from more easily forgiving and letting go.
The only way to stop this cycle is to avoid speaking negatively about others. We are not always going to get along with everyone and that’s okay. “What if this was ME they were talking out?” How would that make you feel? I encourage you to take a stand and to say something good about the person that is being talked about. A little positivity can go a long way!
“As I have loved you, that ye also love one another” – John 13:34
- Accept that you can’t control the actions of others. We can’t control the behaviors and actions of others but we can control how we react to it. Our world is shaped by what we want it to be. We can choose to blame others or we can accept the situation for what it is and move forward. We can choose to get angry and shut down for the rest of the day or we can refocus our energy into finding a solution and making it happen. The choice is ultimately ours.
Staying in control of our emotions can be easier said than done but it starts with self-reflection and asking ourselves, “why does their actions cause me to feel this way?” or “why does this bother me so much?”
By doing so, you will uncover personal insecurities, fears, disappointments or anxiety within yourself that you may be deflecting onto someone else. It takes great humility to accept responsibility on our part and to understand the situation on a different level. As we come to master our emotions instead of letting it control us, we will allow happier thoughts and actions to impact our views of others.
- Be kind to yourself. Seeing others through eyes of love can not only be be difficult, it can also take time. Be patient with yourself if you find it hard to let go of your anger and frustration. Forgive yourself for being quick to anger and jump to judgment even though you said you wouldn’t. Pray for understanding if you lack it and view each day as an opportunity to let go and try again.