We all need to vent about something every now and then.  I find it to be a good thing because writing about my frustrations or talking to a friend or family member about them can help prevent negative feelings from festering and turning into even greater negative feelings.  It is also comforting to know that someone else understands what I am going through and to know I’m not necessarily alone.  It can also help me sort out my thoughts before talking to the person who may be the source of that stress or frustration.  Venting directly to that person, however, is not usually a good thing because things get heated and emotional, especially if it is done in the heat of the moment, and I occasionally say something I don’t mean and regret.

In my case, I have a whole lot of things causing me stress on a regular basis that I don’t always get to vent about before I have to address them with my family, and it seems to be the same several negative behaviors repeating themselves over and over and over again. Continue reading

Mixed Messages

I know several people who tend to give off very mixed messages, mostly because their actions don’t match their words, but sometimes it’s because they say one thing one time and another thing another time.  They can’t seem to make up their minds or remember what they said, or maybe they just have poor communication skills. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to maintain a healthy relationship with that person, regardless of whether it is a family member, friend, or significant other.

I have difficulty with people who give off mixed messages because I tend to be a very straight-forward person who doesn’t play games.  It’s not too difficult to figure out how I feel about something or someone because I will usually tell you.  And my actions usually match my words pretty well.  If you are making me happy or I appreciate something you did or said, not only will I tell you, but I will often show you. Continue reading

Differences In Communication Style

communication 2My husband and I are as opposite as can be when it comes to communication.  He has anxiety over conflict that he does not want to admit or figure out why it’s there. Therefore, he avoids bringing up topics that he assumes will cause conflict, and he also assumes there will be conflict when there wouldn’t have been if he had just said something in the first place.  He even lies about things because he assumes there will be a negative reaction.  Sometimes he even asks others to lie in order to cover up his lies, and he encourages the kids to lie and keep secrets as well.  Ironically, the only thing I end up being mad about a good part of the time is the fact that he lied or didn’t tell me something or asked someone else to lie as well.  So, his anxiety over conflict ends up causing more conflict than otherwise would have happened.

His preference is to let things fester, push everything under the rug, and ignore the issues.  I, on the other hand, want to discuss things and figure out why they happened so we can try to prevent them from happening in the future.   Continue reading

Time…It’s All Relative

When significant events like birthdays, weddings, reunions, and graduations happen, it’s only natural to think about time and how relative it is.  And I think people tend to do that more and more as we get older.  When you’re a kid, you have all the time in the world, and an afternoon playing outside seems like an eternity.  But as we get older and busier and have more responsibilities, there is less and less free time to do whatever we want without having to think about all that needs to get done, so time seems to just pass us by.  It’s when these occasions roll around that we stop and think about how much time has gone by since we saw someone the last time, how quickly the children are growing up, or how soon we’ll hit the next milestone birthday.

Depending on what’s going on in our lives, sometimes the reflections extend to thinking about what we wish we had, what we miss that we used to have, how grateful we are for what we do have, why we are in the predicament we are in, what we could have or should have done differently, what we need to do in the future, what is really important in life, etc.   Continue reading

Walking In Someone Else’s Shoes

As last school year was coming to a close, I was commenting to my husband that the first three days after school ended were the only days all summer that none of the kids had a commitment, and therefore, they were the only three weekdays I could take them to the amusement park.  He said, “What do you mean? You have all summer!”  I am a stay-at-home mom right now, so his assumption was that there is all kinds of free time in the schedule and that I just do fun stuff with the kids all the time.  He clearly has no clue what my days are like with the kids, especially now that two of them are teenagers with significant others.

I had to pull out the master schedule and show him that each week at least one of the kids had either a summer camp, baseball games, tennis lessons, driver’s ed. classes, art classes, marching band camp, or time volunteering at the zoo all summer, or we would have company or were due to be on vacation.  There were days where I was practically living in the car in order to get all three kids where they need to go throughout the day.   Continue reading

Instant Gratification

More and more we are living in an age of instant gratification.  Thanks to the Internet and our smart phones, we have oodles of information at our fingertips whenever we need it.  No one has to wait for Saturday morning cartoons anymore, since there are numerous channels that run cartoons all day long.  The anticipation of seeing holiday specials on TV isn’t there anymore, because we can buy them all on DVD.  If we can’t find something in the store, we can order it online and have it sent to the house.  Or better yet, we can skip going to the store altogether.  We don’t have to wait for a time when someone is available to talk on the phone.  We can send them a text or email and often get an immediate response.  We can comment on articles and social media posts and feel that instant gratification of being able to voice our opinion and engage in a “conversation” about the topic, heated or not.

Unfortunately, I believe this has affected our patience level and attention spans.  I think this is especially true for kids who don’t know any different than the way it is today.  We are not used to having to wait for most things, so when we do, it can be frustrating.   Continue reading

Loving Someone Unconditionally

loving unconditionally

Depending on the person, loving them unconditionally can be either very easy or very challenging.  I also believe this can be interpreted differently by different people and about different people in our lives.  Children, for example, I believe are easiest to love unconditionally for many reasons.  We might not like our kids all of the time, and some can certainly give us a run for our money a good part of the time, but we can’t stop loving them unconditionally.  If we don’t, then who will?  And by nature, they are still learning how to be productive citizens in society, how to be a good people with good character, how to make good decisions, and so on.  They need to know that they can take chances and make mistakes along the way while they are learning about themselves and life around them and that someone will always be there to either praise them or be there when they fall and help guide them to better choices the next time.

We may have other family members (an adult sibling, for example) who don’t always make good choices or show respect, but we can often forgive them because they are family.  Even with family members though, sometimes we reach our limit and say enough is enough, especially when that person never seems to learn from their mistakes and is never willing to listen to others or do anything differently, or perhaps always puts themselves first.  I am not saying we stop loving them necessarily, but we are much less willing to go out of our way or make accommodations for them or even spend time with them sometimes.

Then there are the other people in our lives such as our significant others and friends. It’s these people who are sometimes difficult to love unconditionally because, well frankly, we don’t have to. A lot of it depends on the person and how they treat us.   Continue reading