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We are all doing the best we know how to do

Hi Folks

In the previous emails I have focused on what we focus on become our reality.

But what are we to do to refocus our attention when confronted with bad behavior?

One of my guiding principles is the belief that: “At any moment people are doing the best they know how to do given the context in which they are doing it.”

This doesn’t mean I agree or affirm what they are doing, I just know it is the best they knew how to do in the circumstances they find themselves. This applies even to behavior that we find despicable, offensive, and repugnant.

Think of a time when you did something for which you are ashamed. Step back and notice that in that given moment it was the best you knew to do. I am sure if you could have done something else you would have done it, but given the context and level of fear you were experiencing that was you could do.

This  principle is based on another core belief: “Underlying all behavior is a positive intention.” When working with people we need to be discovering the underlying positive intent. That is never the problem. The problem is the strategy to achieve that intent. For example at an extreme level a positive intention to stay safe, may result in murder and mayhem. I am not affirming that strategy, in fact I am strongly rejecting it, but I will honor their need to stay safe.

What we always need to be doing is learning new strategies, consistent with the Golden Rule to accomplish the positive intent.

As we look around our world at this time, we can see many offensive behaviors, people hoarding resources, politicians lying and blaming each other, business leaders acting with cold-hearted greed.

Think of one of these situations that offends you. Look at the people through the eyes of your offense. Notice how that makes you want to act… (For me it makes me very angry and wanting to smash their face in.)

Now take a step back and look at the people through the understanding, they are doing the best they know how to do to achieve a positive outcome.

Notice if and how that changes your internal experience… (For me I often feel sad, that is truly the best they know how to do. I may still resist their behavior but with compassion or tough love, rather than violence and wanting to do harm.)

Putting on the eyes of love.

With a smile.

Posted by The Rev. Dr. Rob Voyle with

Stop trying to earn God's love

Hi Folks

These are challenging times for us perfectionists. From my considerable experience of perfectionism, I know that it’s shoddy foundation is a desire to please and get approval or a crumb of affection from others.

Sometimes it comes in the form of “I have to do it perfectly to prevent bad stuff from happening.”  Perfectionism is a really good way to cultivate misery, especially when the “other” is God Almighty.

The task of life is not to get God to love you or to try and please God.

The task of life is to is to wake up to the fact that God already loves and is pleased and go into the world and make as much noise with that love that you wake up those who are still sleeping.

If you can’t handle that, can we at least give up perfectionism for the rest of Lent.

With a smile

Posted by The Rev. Dr. Rob Voyle with