In a recent post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Jack Freed used this little quote – “So much of who we are is where we have been.” (William Langewiesche)
Jack went on to write about places that he’d been and to opine that what is more important in shaping us as humans are the other people that we have interacted with and the books that we may have read.
If you look at the little quote from a metaphorical point of view, perhaps a better way to state it is, “So much of who we are is where we’re coming from.” That point of view encompasses everything that is in our background – the places that we’ve been, the people that we’ve met and the things that we have done. Understanding where someone is coming from is important when you are trying to figure out how to deal with them or the situation that you find yourself in with them. It’s that old saw about trying to put yourself in their shoes or see things through their eyes. Where are you coming from?
Sometimes it may be helpful for one to pause and consider where you are coming from as you try to deal with issues in life. It is hard not to let your past dictate your future actions, unless you become more conscious of the impact that the past has on shaping your thinking. Do you reflexively mistrust others because of a bad incident in your past? Does fear based upon some old prejudice drive your reaction? Do you find it hard to allow yourself to love someone because of a bad relationship earlier in your life? Do you get down on yourself because you have experienced criticism and scorn in the past, perhaps even from your parents? Where are you coming from?
Lots of things in our past dwell in our thoughts as we face the issues and decisions of each day. Recognizing that the immediate thought that pops into your head may be an old prejudice or fear that really shouldn’t apply to the situation at hand can at least give you the opportunity to take a different direction. If nothing else, taking the time to have a second thought on the situation may give you the opportunity to break out of the knee-jerk reaction that your past might conjure up. Take time to think about –Where are you coming from?
Keeping that little phrase at hand also allows us moderate our response to others. Instead of lashing back at some unkind remark, perhaps we might ask, “Where’s that coming from?” and try to understand what is driving the other person to make that remark. Maybe they are just having a delayed reaction to something that they thought you did or they might be acting on bad information. In any event, before we respond in any way we need to better understand the answer to the question, “Where are you coming from?”
Perhaps, just as important is understanding where we are coming from each day. One way to establish a great starting point each day is to begin it with a little prayer. Beginning each day re-centered on your faith give you a great place to be coming from all day long. You can certainly choose any prayer that you wish that makes you feel good about your faith. I’ve posted here often that I like to start with a very short prayer that gets me in the right frame of mind – “Not my will but Thy will be done.” I know for the rest of that day where I’m coming from. How about you?
Where are you coming from?