Impressing Ourselves vs. Impressing Others

inside vs. outside 2

If you have read my post called “Accepting Our Differences,” you already know that, with one exception, I am not a big fan of putting labels on people and putting them in categories.  I think the only two categories that really matter are whether a person has integrity, good character, morals, and values or whether they don’t. That is, after all, the whole premise of this blog in the first place, to express what I feel all of that means.

A big part of that, in my mind, is whether or not you know if you have all of those traits along with good intentions and a good heart and that’s all that’s important to you, or whether you live your life based on what you think will look good or be approved by everyone else in your life. Continue reading

Holding Grudges

grudges

The topic of grudges has been on my mind lately because I recently had a friend admit that she was upset about something that I DIDN’T say (or didn’t say enough) to her last year.  This came out in relation to something she was upset about recently, and it became apparent that she has been holding a grudge about last year and exhibiting passive aggressive behavior towards me in the meantime.  And then when she finally did express her frustration, she didn’t hesitate to include some insults and other very hurtful things.  I would have preferred that she said something a year ago instead, rather than let it affect how she has treated me since then.

Ironically, she is generally pretty quick to tell other people if there is something they have done or said that bothers her.  That’s the other extreme, where we don’t hesitate to point out every little thing.  But that can be difficult NOT to do with the people who continue to repeat the same patterns of behavior that irritate us or hurt our feelings. It’s hard to resist the urge when it happens so frequently.  I can relate to both of the situations, as I too have people in my life who are repeat offenders with plenty of negative behaviors, but I have also hesitated to tell her things that she has done in the past that I didn’t like.  I was willing to overlook the negatives with her because the positives outweighed them.

I understand that it’s difficult to tell people we care about that they have hurt our feelings or disappointed us somehow, especially if we don’t think they are going to react very well.  Or perhaps it’s a matter of not wanting to upset the fruit basket, so to speak.  Unfortunately, when we don’t speak up, things fester, and little things become bigger than they should.  And when we finally have the courage to say something, it often doesn’t come out in the most constructive way. Once my buttons were pushed, it wasn’t difficult to let her know about the negatives I was no longer willing to overlook, just as she was not hesitant to say hurtful things to me.

Neither complaining frequently nor choosing to not say something at all are necessarily the best way to go about dealing with frustration or hurt feelings. Listening to someone complain all the time gets very old and can be mentally draining at times. Yet, holding onto negative feelings for a long time can be just as toxic.  Both can tip the scale so that it seems like there are more negatives than positives in whatever type of relationship.  Somewhere in the middle is probably the best approach where we pick our battles, so to speak, and find a way to constructively point out the things that bother us the most and try to let go of the less significant things. Otherwise, we run the risk of having to decide if we are willing to let go of the friendship or relationship that has become toxic instead.

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Taking Time To Heal

 body, mind, soul

Healing is a process that is very unique to every individual, whether it’s physical or emotional healing, or both.  But in any situation, the common denominator is that it will likely take time and patience, some support from others, a little determination, and probably some set-backs along the way.

There’s no right or wrong way for someone to recover from the loss of a loved one, a broken relationship, or any other type of emotional hardship.  Some people find it healing to talk about the situation and what they are feeling and experiencing, while others find it best to keep their thoughts to themselves or maybe write them down in a journal.  Not everyone finds a constructive way to deal with negative emotions and may end choose a path that is not a good choice physically. I’m thinking about those who drown their sorrows in alcohol or food, for example.  Many people turn to their faith for healing and acceptance of the situation, or to make sense of it.  That seems to be key for many, to figure out the “why” and be able to move on.

Physical healing can be just as emotional, depending on the situation and what is involved in recovery.  A diagnosis or unexpected injury can be very stressful and emotionally draining.  So can a recovery that doesn’t go as well as expected, which makes it difficult to mentally stay in the game.  That, in turn, can affect the recovery process.  So the two go hand in hand for both kinds of healing.  If we don’t take care of ourselves physically, healing from an emotional situation will be more difficult, and vice versa.  Spiritual healing can be an important piece of the puzzle to keep everything in perspective and balance.

Even the day-to-day struggles and stressful situations we all deal with (our spouse or significant other, kids, job, responsibilities, finances, etc.) can require some form of healing or at least keeping ourselves grounded and on track.  We need to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of those around us.  And that means both our physical and emotional well-being.  We can’t let one go for the sake of the other. Keeping ourselves physically healthy is definitely important, but we also need to make time for all the things that keep us feeling “emotionally full”, such as laughing with friends, being creative, meditating, spiritual connections, or any number of other things.  It’s all about balance and figuring out what works best for you.

Comments are always welcome!  Clicking on the “Home” page tab will allow you to scroll through other posts, or you can select a category or tag word to find similar topics.  If you would like to read future posts, please follow the blog or my Facebook page.

Success

success - confucius

Everyone has his or her own idea of how to define success.  It could be measured by how much money you make, what kind of house and car you own, how many friends you have, how good of a parent you are, how far you have gotten in your career, how much of a positive impact you’ve made on the world around you, how you have positively impacted and inspired the people around you, and so on.  No matter how you define it though, it always feels best when it has been earned, whether it be through hard work, dedication, time committed, good character and integrity, positive attitude, or however else.

Success, for most of us, is not something that comes easily or automatically.  It is usually a series of countless small achievements or baby steps in the right direction, or at least mostly in the right direction.  There are usually set-backs along the way, but overcoming those makes it feel even better.  In fact, Booker T. Washington even said, “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.”  I do believe that to be true in many instances because it is through overcoming obstacles that we build character and learn what our strengths are and what we can handle.

Success doesn’t always have to be difficult though, but it often requires focus and determination, belief in ourselves, willingness to fail, a positive attitude, and including others.  Not only do we usually have to rely on the help of others in order to achieve success, but it is also important to give back to those who helped us along the way.  If our success, whatever it may be, can somehow inspire others to be successful, that’s even better.

Sometimes finding success can be a very slow process, so much so that it doesn’t even seem to be happening.  But we need to remember that success can be like a tree.  You can see it at any point and time, but you cannot see it grow.  It’s important to keep that in mind when it feels like we are not making any progress in the right direction. Slow progress is better than no progress.  As long as we continue to take action without giving up, we can continue to achieve success.  It never hurts to remind ourselves that even though we might not be where we want to be quite yet, we’re closer than we were the day before.  Confucius also said, “It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.”  Even if we have to take a very round-about way, we will get there eventually.

Comments are always welcome!  Clicking on the “Home” page tab will allow you to scroll through other posts, or you can select a category or tag word to find similar topics.  If you would like to read future posts, please follow the blog or my Facebook page.

Agreeing To Disagree

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Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like more people are having a harder time dealing with other people who disagree with them than ever before.  People are increasingly set in their ways, unwilling to listen to anyone else’s opinion, and more easily offended by anyone who doesn’t share their opinion.

I’ve experienced this both personally with people I know about everyday life situations, and I see it in social media, in the news, and particularly with this presidential race.  I’ve touched on this topic before in a post called “Being Open-Minded” where I talk about not being judgmental, giving people the benefit of the doubt, and not being so set in our ways and how we view the world around us.  It is very difficult to communicate with people who are judgmental, who don’t give people the benefit of the doubt, and who get upset if someone doesn’t view something the same way they do.  Everything has to be worded so carefully and said just at the right time or it’s likely to evoke a negative response.  And it’s frustrating having my intentions questioned when all I am doing is trying to help.  Both can be very mentally draining at times.

People should be allowed to express their opinions as long as it is not being done in a way that is threatening or harmful.  I’m all for being respectful of others and feeling safe in my environment, but it seems to me that some people are so easily threatened or offended by anyone who doesn’t think the exact same way they do.   Continue reading