We do not often realize that we are choosing how we perceive the world. We become so familiar with seeing things a certain way that we do not recognize we have a choice. For example, we are constantly deciding whether we will put our faith in love or fear. While we have a right to choose, only one of these choices will give us the type of joy and success that we all desire.
When we live with a sense of joy and confidence in ourselves and the world around us, we feel relaxed and energized. We make better decisions and attract like-minded individuals and opportunities. If, on the other hand, we are looking at life as a battle to be overcome, even when we win it comes at a high price. We often burn bridges and forsake our own well-being along the way.
In our district, we work to empower our students to act as creators and innovators. The goal is to equip these students with the tools and knowledge to step into a more peaceful, collaborative world. When a young person approaches life in this way, he or she feels inspired and capable of living out their greatest potential. This is because their power comes from a sense of wonder and enthusiasm rather than fear and uncertainty.
We had one particular student who came from a difficult background. In his world, he often felt unsafe and was easily threatened. This led to frequent run-ins with other students and power struggles with authority figures. Underneath it all was a sweet and perceptive young boy. With a little willingness to see past his thorny exterior, we were able to build a new bond of trust.
Rather than scold this student for acting in the ways he had learned outside of school, we encouraged him to try new ways of dealing with people and situations. We extended a hand of understanding to him. Over time, he was willing to follow along with our suggestions. While his inquisitive and energetic nature had been leading him to trouble, it began to emerge as a valuable tool that he could apply in class. He became a better friend to himself and everyone around him.
Perhaps you have been carrying the weight of living in an unfriendly world. If so, now is the perfect time to consider letting down your guard. By seeking out evidence that you live in a friendly world, you will connect with other friendly people. Rather than a battle, life will become a delightful opportunity to share your gifts and receive the best life has to offer. You will also add to the friendly world by radiating a feeling of authentic joy and enthusiasm for living.
Edward Biagiotti is the Inclusion Specialist for Culver City Unified School District and the cohost of the inspirational podcast “Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed” on iTunes. For questions, comments, and ideas for future columns, send an email to EdwardBiagiotti@ccusd.org