This is Part 1 of a three-part series to help us nix the negative patterns that may be damaging our relationships. This week focuses on the solution for an often-subconscious mindset of suspicion. Next week – Thanksgiving week – we’ll look at how to practice gratitude over grumbling. The final week … well, stay tuned. The last one is pretty convicting for almost everyone.
Do you remember the original “Jake from State Farm” commercial? The one where the wife “catches” her husband on the phone at 3 a.m., assumes he’s talking to another woman, and grabs the phone? (You can tell the commercial is dated, because it’s a landline!)
“Who is this?” she demands.
“It’s Jake from State Farm,” her husband mumbles off to the side.
“What are you wearing, ‘Jake from State Farm?’” she sarcastically asks.
“Uhhh … khakis?” Jake answers.
“She sounds hideous,” the wife accuses, covering the phone’s mouthpiece.
“Well, she’s a guy, so …” the husband deadpans.
Most of us find that commercial hilarious because the wife’s suspicion is so over-the-top, and we think we would never do such a thing. And yet … we may do exactly that, in different ways, every day.
Suspicion. We can descend into that spiral with a spouse, friend, or colleague without ever recognizing it. As one of the seven patterns of negativity and unkindness identified in the research for my book The Kindness Challenge, we need to confront four truths about suspicion so it doesn’t derail our relationships.