Tag Archives: feelings

First Impressions

First impressions are everything!

Not only did I hear this growing up – I actually believed it!!

Sometimes first impressions can be right on target. However, they are not 100% and are certainly not foolproof.

Malcolm Gladwell, noted author of a book entitled “Outliers,” was quoted as saying this… “We don’t know where our first impressions come from or precisely what they mean, so we don’t always appreciate their fragility.

We should always do our best at letting people see who we are at a first meeting, but cautiously. If we fake who we are in order to make a good first impression, we can begin the troublesome road of deception. Be certain, the real you will come out eventually.

Here are a few reasons from my perspective, why first impressions are not as accurate as we think they are.

  1. They do not take into account the circumstances surrounding the target of our first impression.

Someone we meet for the first time could have had the most absolute worst day, with few things going their way – causing a negative feeling on our part because they avoided eye contact or showed ambivalence to our meeting.

OR, someone could be elated from a former deal they brokered in which they were dishonest and upon meeting us they seemed pleasant, friendly, and happy. The danger if we accept this first impression is that we may find ourselves cheated in a deal with them in the future and left wondering how he/she could have been so dishonest.

  1. First impressions do not take into account how WE are feeling, or what preconceived notions we may have.

I have been guilty of this many times. After an initial encounter with another individual, I may draw conclusions about their character or personality, which were based mainly on my emotions during the encounter.

As I have grown, it has become a much better practice to spend time with the other person, get to know them better and allow their consistent actions and behavior to speak louder than my ideas about them. Usually, someone’s true character will come out eventually, at which time we can make a decision about whether we will continue to pursue this relationship/ friendship.

  1. First impressions are simply that, initial feelings.

Have you ever said something in the heat of the moment that you regretted? Have you ever put your worst foot forward and wanted to go back and start over? OR have you been so caught up in your own life you were oblivious to the lives of those around you?

Something tells me all of us said yes to one or all of those statements.

In order to be fair to others, we should allow them a second chance. We certainly desire second chances when we blow it. Keep in mind this is in reference to building healthy relationships. There could be some that manipulate you and leave you feeling confused. Chances are, they would continue to do so if you gave them a second chance.

For the purpose of this post, we believe we need to look at all the underlying circumstances surrounding a first encounter with a potential relationship (friendship, co-worker, acquaintance, etc.).

  1. Where are we in our emotions and situations when meeting someone?
  2. What happened during the day or is happening in the other person’s life that could negatively affect your meeting?
  3. What was said about you, or about them, that could have tainted either perspective before you met?
  4. If we received a second chance in our relationship with God, shouldn’t we give others that same benefit?

Biblical Application

The disciples in Acts 2 were in the upper room when something phenomenal happened. God met them there and they began to speak in other languages as God gave them the ability to do so.

Those outside of that room who heard what was going on developed their first impression. Some were confused, but amazed. Some brushed off the event and said they were drunk.

Those who were outside of the upper room hearing what was going on with the disciples did not know who they were. They understood in their own languages what was being said, but didn’t understand why. Those who did not understand and needed to explain it away wrote it off as drunkenness.

First impressions.

Fortunately, Peter was able to command the attention of the crowd to explain what was going on. He debunked the idea of their being drunk, especially since it was so early in the morning.

Often we are not given opportunities to explain our actions after a first impression. We can be pegged as a certain kind of person or personality and it can be quite difficult to come back from it.

This is unfortunate, because there are some very good people who deserve a second chance in relationship. The question is, are we willing to treat others how we would want to be treated – and give others that second chance even if we were NOT given that same honor?

First impressions are so fragile. It is truly unfair to base a decision on relationship with someone who may have had difficulty with that one chance to “impress”.

This brings up another question – whom are we trying to impress?

If we are trying to impress someone, we leave the judgment in his or her hands. If we are trying to honor God in our relationships, we leave the judgment in the hands of the One who has the right to judge.

God takes our relationships very seriously.

How we treat others can say a lot about how much we value God’s view of us. This is not about just first impressions; it is about our hearts and how we view others.

Personal Application

If humility is evident in our lives, then a failed first meeting and poor impression can be overcome. If pride is there, the failed first meeting is very difficult to overcome.

I can say, with certainty, I need to be reminded on occasion to give people the benefit of the doubt. One way I do this is to personally invite them to coffee or lunch. At that meeting, I usually ask them questions and also to share their faith journey (where they grew up and how they came to live and work where they are currently). It is amazing how much you can learn about someone if you just ask questions and take the time to get to know them.

When you show a genuine interest in a life, often it brings a reward – of a good friendship. Hopefully the interest is reciprocated and God will be honored in the new relationship that has just formed.

What are your thoughts on first impressions? Share them below by commenting or replying. For more articles on the Lost Art of Relationship, see the right side of the page above for archived posts.


LOVE…

LOVE

Ahhhhhhh! Love!

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear this word?

Romance? Emotions? Honeymoon? Funny feelings in your tummy?

Kissing? Hugs?

Interestingly enough, I put this phrase into Google “first thing you think of when you hear LOVE,” and the first link to pop up for me was a Yahoo Answers link. On it were answers such as these – in no particular order:

Fairy tale

Anger, pain and sadness

…being hurt

It’s an illusion

What IS it?

What was your first thought?

For the most part, we have allowed our society to dictate to us what LOVE is.

The first thing we must realize is that LOVE has no working definition. WHAT?!?! Try to define it and someone else will come up with another definition totally different than yours. Also, some of us define love based on our own experiences – whether positive or negative.

Some would define love as “hugging your children” while another might say what you feel on your wedding day. The two are VERY different emotions/feelings, but is that love?

Some may even define love as a sexual relationship or attraction.

Here is my answer to all of these. LOVE is not ANY of these things!

So, what is love? And cue song… “baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more…” (By Haddaway)

Great question! I’m glad you asked!

First let me describe what LOVE is not

It is not an emotion. It is not a feeling. It is not sex. It is not getting what you want all the time.

LOVE is a behavior, an action, a decision, a commitment. Let me be more specific:

Love is a choice. You cannot fall IN to love.

Let’s say you are standing on the edge of a cliff and down below about 20 feet is a pool of water. You are contemplating jumping off into the cool water, but you hesitate. Finally you decide it is worth the risk and you make the decision to jump in.

NOW, imagine you are on that same cliff, looking at the same water. You trip and fall tumbling over the side into the cool water. What is your first reaction? Is it one of elation? Or are you unsure of what is happening and how it will end up? Will you be pleasantly surprised? Or will you wish you had not fallen in, and you claw your way out of the water?

Which do you have more control over? YES! The first one!

At least if you make the decision to jump in, you have some idea of what you are getting yourself into. You make the commitment and you jump, understanding there are some things you may not be aware of, like how cold the water is, but nonetheless, you go for it.

We choose who to love, when to love, where to love, and how to love.

The best example I can give to you is this – Jesus. I know, I know – there he goes again talking about Jesus. Well, get over it!

Jesus gave us the best example of LOVE in the face of a most certain painful situation that was imminent should he choose to go down that path to become the sacrifice for our sins.

He had the opportunity to walk away from what would become an extremely painful death. But He was driven by love. That’s right! Why would someone choose that kind of pain and torture for love? Because He realized that from that painful circumstance it would pave the way for us to have a relationship with God.

So what is LOVE?

Love is Patient. When you are faced with a situation where you just want someone to realize you are there for them – patience is an act of love.

Love is Kind. When you would rather respond in vengeance, you decide to show kindness.

Love does not envy, does not boast, is not proud. You make the choice to be content with what you have, to be thankful for others and to look at yourself with sober judgment.

Love is not rude. When your first reaction is to be sarcastic and snarky, you decide to lock up the lips.

Love is not self-seeking – on the flip side, this means you actually look out for the needs of others.

Love is not easily angered. Ouch, that one hurt a little didn’t it. It takes a decision to suppress the anger that rises so quickly to an unwelcome event or comment.

Love does not keep a record of wrongs. When you are in a disagreement, this is the decision to NOT bring up all of the past hurts or offenses the other person has done against you. It is a continual choice to forgive.

Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. Have you ever heard gossip that you know is not true? This is when you decide to push away the lie and gossip and stand with the truth.

This is where we need to discuss the qualities of LOVE that should ALWAYS be present. If these qualities are NOT present, then it is not love!

Love ALWAYS protects.

Love ALWAYS trusts.

Love ALWAYS hopes.

Love ALWAYS perseveres.

If you love someone, you choose to protect them, choose to trust them, choose to hope for the best, and choose to persevere through the difficult challenges.

If we put all of these into effect, than we can always count on LOVE, it will not fail us. Now how many of these are dependent on the recipient of your love?

If you answered none of them, you would be correct! Just as much as you decide to show these qualities, others must also decide to show them toward you. However, you do not need them reciprocated in order to love someone.

This means we can choose to love a complete stranger and provide a need for them. We can choose to love someone that has been rude to us.

LOVE is a choice: a choice to be committed; a choice to place ourselves in a vulnerable position with someone else. When we look at it this way and not as if we are “falling in love” we recognize if we choose to love, we can choose not to love.

Emotions come and go. I WISH I could stay happy all the time, but inevitably something will happen where I will become sad.

LOVE does not have to be as unstable as our emotions. As a matter of fact, Jesus showed how stable it really is, by loving us before we ever accepted Him as the Son of God and the One that takes away our sins. He loved us while we were denying His existence. He loved us while we were living our lives for ourselves.

Maybe this is how we are to love others. With the example Christ gave us, we can love others.

Choose to love.

This is such a big topic. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Shoot me an idea of another aspect of love you might want to hear about.