Thursday, October 6, 2016

Ripening Into Maturity

By Bob Mueller

I have always admired the wisdom of my elders – my parents, older priests, and elderly mentors who have guided me on the path to maturity. As I get close to 70, I find myself ripening into maturity and becoming the older mentor I always searched for.

 I have discovered the following nine realities that I would call the choices of maturity:
  1. I find myself teaching others and not just being taught.
  2. I have developed a depth of understanding and no longer have to struggle with
    the basics.
  3. I do daily self-evaluation instead of self-criticism.
  4. I seek unity instead of promoting diversity.
  5. I desire spiritual challenges instead of entertainment.
  6. I am led by careful study and observations instead of opinions and half-hearted efforts.
  7. I have active faith instead of cautious apathy and doubt. 
  8. I am led by confidence instead of fear.
  9. I no longer evaluate my experiences according to feelings. My feelings and experiences are evaluated in the light of God’s Word.

I have also learned how to keep away from the evil systems that drive many folks by observing the following principles:
  1. People are more important than products.
  2. Keep away from pride in our programs, plans, and successes.
  3. Remember that God’s will and word must never be compromised.
  4. People are always above making money.
  5. Do what is right no matter what the cost.
  6. Be involved in businesses that provide worthwhile products or services, not just things that feed the world’s desires.

I read recently that 70 percent of our negative thoughts skip past us without our consciously perceiving them as being negative. Ordinarily pessimism sneaks up on us in the negative words “concern, complain, commiserate, or criticize.” When we are in any of these four modes of thought, we’re mentally filtering our experiences to focus on the negative without even realizing it.

Deliberately change your inner voice from “problem talk” to “solution talk.” You’ll handle your concerns more effectively by consciously shifting from negativity to a more promising
mental track.

If you’re hit with the urge to gripe or complain, put it on hold until you’ve scanned for a good news side to your situation. What can you see to appreciate or enjoy? Instead of bogging down in the dissatisfaction, do your part to fix the situation or look for potential benefits hiding inside the problem.

Resist the impulse to commiserate with others. It’s not your job. It really doesn’t make you a better team player. Participating in other people’s negative attitudes just sucks the optimism out of the air. Above all, don’t wallow in the dark moods with them.

Finally, be quick to second-guess yourself when you start to criticize. Yes, there is such a thing as constructive criticism. But most of the time it’s destructive. At least give equal time to affirming, approving, and searching for opportunity in the situation. It’ll give you better results and help you maintain an optimistic mindset. The greatest mark of maturity is to keep our heads clear of negative thoughts. Leave maximum space for optimism.

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