I think they meant it…

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I’ve been struggling lately with mean people.  One person pretends they’re my friend but then says and does things that are less than kind fairly often. Other people have been hostile or outright mean for seemingly no reason.

The problem with meanness is that you can’t always predict it, expect it, avoid it or reason with it.  That leaves having to deal with it… which, at least for me, is easier said than done.

When people are mean, I think our default reaction runs the gamut from surprised to defensive to hurt to angry.  Our instinctive feelings aren’t necessarily wrong – in and of themselves – but how we respond can be, if we’re not careful.

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One of my favorite books when I was growing up was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.  I really like what one of the characters had to say about mean people.  “Because they are mean is no reason why I should be. I hate such things, and though I think I’ve a right to be hurt, I don’t intend to show it.”

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When confronted with meanness, sometimes it’s best to just distance ourselves from the person or situation but sometimes that’s not possible or practical.  Sometimes it’s wisest to remain silent, or to be kind, or to be diplomatic.  Sometimes it’s necessary to be firm.

Every situation calls for a potentially different reaction but the one reaction that’s never right is meanness.  The Bible doesn’t say that it’s wrong to be angry but it does say, “in your anger, do not sin.”

The only thing worse than dealing with mean is being mean.  It says something about someone if they’re mean to us but it’s says volumes about us if we’re mean in return.

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I’m still working on handling mean people.  I would like to be wiser in the moment.  My current strategy is to do my best to be slow to respond or react.  I would much rather ask God for permission about what to say and when to say it than to have to ask for forgiveness for speaking in haste and regretting it.

I would rather be a Charlie Brown than a Lucy.

I mean that sincerely…

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No mistake about it…

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Mistakes.

I don’t know about you but I make them all too regularly, and often while consciously trying not to.

The dictionary defines a mistake as “an error or fault resulting from defective judgement, deficient knowledge, or carelessness”.

Yup, that pretty much sums it up.

I’ve made more than my fair share.  And far too many this past week alone.  Quite honestly, it gets a bit discouraging.

I’ve never once started my day thinking wow, I hope I only make a dozen mistakes today.  In fact, I usually don’t start the day thinking about any of the mistakes I’ll probably make.  I tend to assume the best of myself… at least while the day’s still young.  Until reality hits.

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So, what kind of mistakes am I talking about?  Well, things like I’ll realize I’m driving over the speed limit (either because I’m daydreaming or distracted) or I”ll inadvertently call somebody by the wrong name (it doesn’t help if they both start with a “G” and have 4 letters…) or I’ll miss an important detail at work (which is full of important details) or I’ll let things get to me that turn out to be much ado about nothing.  You know what I’m talking about.

I tend to be far too hard on myself about making mistakes when the fact is I’m going to make mistakes whether I like it or not.  I’m human and I can’t change that.  Of course, I’d like to make as few mistakes as possible but I’m learning they can be a catalyst for growth and for change.

I tend to learn a lot more from what I do wrong than what I do right.

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Mistakes can also be encouraging, oddly enough.  When I realize I’m making the same mistakes far less often than I used to, it makes me feel like I’m at least moving in the right direction.  But, before I can even potentially be encouraged, I have to stop and put my mistakes in perspective, not just automatically beat myself up about them.

I find it interesting that, in the film industry, they don’t call multiple takes mistakes.  They call them, take one, take two, take three… take forty four.  Basically, however many takes that it takes is what they take.

I like that.

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It’s not that I want to minimize my mistakes.  But, putting a more positive spin on them will hopefully help me keep a balanced perspective.

You may be thinking that I’m mistaken about this whole thing.  You could be right.  But, if so, no worries… I’ll just take two.  Or take three. Basically, however many takes that it takes to get it right.

Make no mistake about it…

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