I looked up to see what the fuss was about. To my surprise, I saw my wife walking away from me. I took an admiring look at her legs and yes, there was a unique animation to the way she walked.
I turned to face the woman who made the remark. When she made eye contact with me I said, "She's not trying to be sexy. She has scoliosis, a curvature of the spine. It causes her to walk that way."
The woman drew in a quick breath. She frowned at me and said, "How do you know?"
"She's my wife," I said with a friendly smile.
I think I remember the incident because it's an example of how some people automatically interpret the world around them in the most negative way.
I sometimes put a dark gloss on things myself. But why be mean-spirited? Why put people down? Does it somehow make them feel better about themselves? I don't think so. In the end, at some level they know deep inside that they're the kind of people who think mean thoughts and say mean things.
Why not a little compassion? A little tolerance? A little open-mindedness?
I guess that's why these behavior patterns are considered personal strengths. It's easier to release a little anger with a nasty remark than it is to withhold judgment and give others the benefit of the doubt.
Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2011. Building Personal Strength . (Permission to use image purchased from fotolia.com)