There are plenty of things in life that we can all approach either proactively or reactively. House projects immediately come to mind. In my house, nothing gets replaced or fixed until it is actually broken. I definitely would appreciate if more things were dealt with on a proactive basis. Our health is another example. The more we take care of ourselves by eating healthy, drinking fluids, exercising (or at least making an effort to not sit still in front of a screen for too long), going to regular doctor’s visits, and anything else we can do to help keep our bodies and minds healthy, the less we need to be reactive and take medications or visit the doctor or hospital to treat the resulting symptoms. We can make and effort to keep in touch with people rather than complain or be upset when others don’t reach out to us.
How we interact with people on a regular basis can be thought of as proactive or reactive as well. We can assume when people are speaking to us that there are hidden messages or ill intent in what they are saying and react in a negative way, or we can listen without the negative filter and give them the benefit of the doubt. We can treat people with respect and kindness, regardless of how we are being treated (in other words, treat people the way we want to be treated … the correct paraphrasing of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”), or we can “do unto others as they have done to us.” We can go out of our way to be helpful and generous or do anything to put a smile on someone’s face, or we can only do something nice when we know there will be something in it for us. We can complain about all of our problems and play the victim, or we can find ways to be part of the solution. We can blame everyone else for our poor choices, or we can be accountable for our own words and actions and own up to our mistakes. We can anticipate that things are not going to work out the way we want them to, or we can have hope and expectations that are more positive. We can communicate our thoughts and feelings completely and effectively, or we can be upset when someone can’t read our mind. We can set a good example for our kids of how to be respectful, honest, and all the other traits that go along with having good character, or we can not be conscious of the example we are setting and then come down hard on our kids when they are behaving just like we are. The list goes on.
The bottom line is that all of these things are conscious choices we can make. It’s hard to not be reactive at least some of the time, especially when negative emotions get involved. But in my opinion, it is definitely worth the effort to take a proactive approach to life and our relationships as much as we can. I hope you agree.
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This seems to be an issue for a lot of people … not only being accountable for your words, actions, and the decisions you make, but being accountable particularly when you make a poor choice or mistake. By far, the one previous post of mine that gets the most views is one of the first ones I wrote called “Owning Your Mistakes,” which gets viewed just about every week. It makes me wonder if people are researching the topic because they are looking to improve their own accountability or are tired of dealing with people around them who aren’t accountable, or maybe both.
It is so easy to blame anything and everything that goes wrong on anyone but yourself, but it is a sign of maturity when you can accept responsibility for your words and actions. On the flip side, it can be easy to take credit when something good happens, but being humble and not needing to be the center of attention is a sign of maturity as well. We need to be responsible for ourselves in all situations and understand that while sometimes we are reacting to the circumstances and people around us, we need to be accountable for whatever we do or say, good or bad. Continue reading
As I am working on these blog entries, I have been watching some of my typos get automatically corrected as I type. Others I have to go back and fix myself. It got me thinking about how many things are automatically corrected for us these days and what affect that has had on our communication skills. I don’t have a SMART phone, but I know most people do. Reading hilarious series of texts due to autocorrect always makes for a good laugh. These things do help us to be more efficient overall, but unfortunately, there is no autocorrect when we speak. Because we don’t have to think as hard when we write, our verbal communication skills have gone down the tubes for many people. Believe me, I wish there could be an autocorrect when people are speaking to me. One that corrects people’s tone of voice would be the ultimate! Continue reading
I’m a pretty straight-forward person who doesn’t like to play games or feel like someone is playing games with me. I also grew up with a step-mother who was a champion manipulator, which significantly affected my brothers’ and my relationship with our dad, other family members, and each other. Therefore, I have no patience for people who like to manipulate. So perhaps you can imagine how upset I get when I find out that not only does my husband think it’s necessary to find ways to manipulate myself and others, but he is also teaching our kids this by example and by involving them in the process. I would say it’s one of the top three things that infuriate me because it’s so fundamentally wrong, yet it still happens on a regular basis.
The thing that bothers me the most is that he is reinforcing to the kids the notion that it is more important to get what you want at any cost, regardless of how many lies you have to tell or how deceitful you need to be. It undermines many of the things I am trying to teach them about what it means to be a good person with integrity and good character. Continue reading