HOW YOU THINK OTHERS SEE YOU
You can’t avoid having ideas about how others see you. Your assumptions about what others see can have a dramatic effect on how you respond. I want to suggest a simple exercise that can have some significant effects. However, it won’t have any effect if you read this and then ignore the exercise. SO JUST DO IT and then evaluate its worth later.
You can either do this with a pad of paper or on the computer or notepad. The exercise is simple. Without thinking too hard about this, make a list of ten positive ways that people think about you.
While this is valuable for anyone, if you are a pastor or educator, try to make the statements as it relates to your work at the church or agency where you exercise your ministry.
You are guessing, of course, but those underlying assumptions are present in your life. Don’t stop until you have at least ten statements. Keep all ten positive.
Now read them aloud. Hear yourself saying, “Most people think ??? about me.” How does it make you feel when you hear yourself saying those things?
LESS POSITIVE IMAGES
Now reverse the process. Even if you think they are wrong, make five criticisms you think some people might make about you. Again, for church workers, focus on the criticisms some might make about how you exercise your ministry.
Under each statement, add a sentence or two about why you think they might say that about you. Focus on behavior. What are things you might do or say that, even if they are misperceived, allow some to make that criticism.
While at least three of the statements should be made about criticisms that several people might make about you, it is ok if at least a couple of statements are about some individuals critidcisms. What is it you do that allows them to form a negative perception.
Now you have a choice. You can either conclude that people are idiots who make that criticism about you, or you can decide there are steps you can take that will soften that criticism. Integrity may necessitate that you don’t change some behavior that brings criticism, but if there are ways that enable you to take the same steps more effectively, that might be worth exploring.
Look at the combinaton of positive and critical statements you have made above and ask yourself, “Are there ways I can make use of some of my perceived strengths to ameliorate some of the criticism and therefore be more effective in my ministry.
THE POWER OF WORDS
Over the next several blogs, I am going to explore how we can make use of our writing skills to strengthen ourselves, examine and improve our ministry, and resolve some of the conflicts that we sometimes experience in ourselves. Too often we allow conflicting feelings and ideas to continue to affect our peace of mind when placing those thoughts into words on paper or the computer, can help us move beyuond theem.