The Names We Call People are A Lot Like Post It Notes

For Better or Worse.. They Just Might Stick

I can still feel the impact of a musical friend who one day called me ‘musical.’ No one had ever called me that. I didn’t really play an instrument. I was no soloist. Yet . . . I instantly felt known and loved. . . . [He] noticed, validated, and appreciated something deeply true about me.”  These words were written in an article by Mark Labberton and beautifully remind us of the importance of “names” we assign to one another.

Whatever “names” or even “images” we assign to other people carry a lot of weight, and for better or worse, you’d better believe they stick.

Power of Names
Long before I considered myself a writer, I thought of words as little pieces of puzzles. The end result of piecing them together might be a letter to a loved one, an essay at school, or a few lines in my diary about the impossibly cute boy who worked at an arcade in town.

Naturally I never thought about my effectiveness with words. I simply knew I loved being in their presence.  I remember when I actually began to feel like, maybe… just maybe… they enjoyed being in my presence as well.

My aunt (one of the sweetest people in the world, by the way) was always one of my favorite family members to write letters to.  She loved to hear about my pets, friends, school, clothes, etc. If I had an interest in something, she wanted to know all about it.  One Christmas (I believe I was around 14-15), she and my uncle came home for Christmas. Right smack in front of the entire family, she launched into how much she loves getting my letters. She said I had a “gift” for writing.   She went on to say that she kept all of my letters.  Then my mom said that she kept all of my poems and short stories that I’d written in school.

I thought, “They KEPT all that crap???”

My aunt told me, “You should be a writer,” and my mom replied, “She already is.”

I have no idea what gifts I unwrapped under the tree that year, but I know that two of the most important people in my life gave me one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten – belief in myself.

Since that day, whenever I’ve written anything I’ve sat a little taller and felt a lot more confident.  Whenever I’d get anything less than an A+ on an essay, I’d think, “Well, you obviously don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m the writer here.”

Some might say my mom and aunt created a monster and I can’t say they’d entirely be wrong. But it’s a writing monster and that’s what counts.

Many years passed between the day my mom and aunt made me feel 10 feet tall.  I became a wife (to the cute arcade boy, by the way) and mother of three beautiful daughters.  I threw myself completely into these roles. The only writing I did was letters and curriculum for my daughters, who I home-schooled all the way from Kindergarten to 12th Grade.

When I decided that I’d very much like to be a web publisher and blog writer, I remembered what my family had said all those years ago.  Their words gave me confidence to try.  They stuck.

When I first began writing online, sometimes I’d read the work of truly great authors and I’d begin to doubt myself. I’d think, “I haven’t been doing this as long as them… I don’t have their education…” ” Right around this time, a friend of my husband’s who happened to have a great reputation online as a web publisher said that he was “in love with my writing.”

This compliment was like a shot in the arm and I felt positively sassy again.

Words carry so much weight! Whether they’re words we say to our children, our spouse, ourselves, or people we barely even know.

Power of Names
Think of words like this: When you call someone “dumb” or even say they did a “dumb” thing – it’s as though you’re writing the word on a post it note and pinning it to their top.  They WILL live down to your expectations.

When you call someone “gifted,” “smart,” “witty,” etc… they WILL live up to your expectations.

Think about things people have called you. No doubt both good and bad names come to mind.  That’s a perfect illustration that these labels STAY with us and a wonderful reminder to watch what words come out of your mouth.

Now for a harder exercise – think about the names you have called other people or the titles you’ve given them.  If you’re the sort of person who has pinned far more negative words than positive, make it right. If you think you’ve been particularly harmful to someone’s self confidence or fear that someone doesn’t think you believe in them – don’t let another day go by without clearing things up.

Words have the power to change lives.

“If you wouldn’t write it and sign it, don’t say it.” - Earl Wilson

 

Could This Be The Most Potentially Life-Changing Quote of All Time?

I Think We Can Make a Strong Case for It!

What you allow is what will continue
As you know, I’m an avid collector and great lover of inspirational quotes. I’m not sure I ever met one I didn’t want to sit down and spend a little time with. Over the years, I find that I always have a few “favorite quotes of the moment”  at any given time. The quotes that just seem to find their way into every conversation and seem to be applicable to whatever is going on around me.

Funny thing is, the quote you see above has been a favorite quote for as long as I can remember.  What you allow is what will continue. It never goes out of style, never gets old, and (as far as I’m concerned) should never leave your side.

This past week, alone, the quote came to mind in three different instances.

  1. My husband and I were at a favorite restaurant in town that often seems to have a problem with being understaffed. We’ve heard, on several occasions, that they have a problem with servers simply calling in at the last minute. As the manager ran around like a chicken in search of its head, I wanted desperately to write the quote down and slip it to him as he flew past our table on one of his rounds. If he keeps allowing his workers to treat him, the restaurant, and their co-workers with such blatant disrespect, they will.  It’ll continue.
  2. I heard about a girl (from one of my daughters) who has a ridiculously unhealthy relationship with her boyfriend. He treats this girl in a way that makes me want to smack him in the head… with an electric eel.  And she isn’t even MY daughter – I don’t want to even think what he’d be in for if she were! The relationship (if you can even call it that) has been going on like this for a few years and, by now, this unhealthy and abnormal reality probably seems normal to this young girl.  What I wouldn’t give for 10 minutes with her.  If she continues to allow herself to be treated like a doormat, this jerk will continue to trample on her.
  3. Okay, time to rat on myself. I try to eat healthy. Like most people, these days, I try to make the right choices in the store, in my kitchen, and in restaurants.  A few times this week (alone!) I messed up big time. Let’s see, I messed up in the grocery store by buying unhealthy snacks, I messed up at home by choosing the unhealthy ones over the beautiful fruit that was sitting on the counter, and I messed up in a restaurant (Seriously, Joi? Three rolls?  With Butter? Three?) I whipped out the beloved quote on myself last night in the grocery store. I had a bag of Doritos in my hand, licking my lips as I was thisclose to throwing it into the cart.  Then I realized that if I keep allowing my inner snacker (she with the rationality of a 10 year old) to call the shots, my downward spiral will continue.  I put the bag of crunchy goodness back on the shelf and got some celery instead. It was cheaper, healthier, and is one step in breaking a cycle I want to break.

The celery over Doritos choice may seem small – and I guess, compared to gleefully eating 3 rolls… with butter… it is small. However, we’d all do well to keep in mind that every choice we make either carries us one step forward, one step backward, or sinks us further in the ground where we stand.

As I’ve mentioned before, one of the most searched things on Google is How to Be Happy. Ironically, that fact makes me pretty sad.  The thought of so many people out there who may be so removed from happiness that they’re turning to a search engine to remember where it is… well, that’s sad.

The thing is, we’re born happy. When we’re babies and toddlers, we wear our happiness on our face for the world to see.  Think of the insanely popular videos on YouTube with nothing but babies laughing.  People (including me) love these videos and spend copious amounts of time watching them… laughing with the babies the entire time.

Why? Because pure joy is a beautiful, intoxicating thing.  If we allow the wrong things to keep playing out, we’ll continue to be further and further removed from happiness and joy.

Leave behind anything that stands between you and happiness and, while you’re at it,  tuck this life-changing quote into your pocket so you never forget it again…..

What you allow is what will continue. My wish for you is that you’ll only allow positive, uplifting, joyous things in your life because… mark it down.. they’ll continue! Pure joy is what I want for YOU – the kind you just can’t keep in or hide.

I Think We’re Seeing a New Breed of People Being Born Right Before Our Eyes

Frankly, It's Not a Very Pretty Sight...

Quote About Egotism

Picture it. A documentary is coming on the television set. The music sets a dramatic tone.  The narrator (let’s give him a British accent for effect) announces that a new tribe of people has been discovered in (surprisingly) a part of the world that isn’t even remotely remote. You lean in close, wondering how a new race of people could have hidden all these years, undetected.  You watch, expecting them to be draped in animal skins, living in caves, speaking in grunts, and sporting, possibly, nose rings.

You admit to yourself that maybe you watch too much National Geographic.

As you wait, literally on the edge of your couch, for the big reveal, the camera zeroes in on the new breed.

Wait… What???

It’s us. As images of social media, pictures on Facebook and Instagram, infidelity statistics, divorce rates, and so on flash across the screen, the narrator pauses dramatically then announces the name of the new breed:  the Self Absorbed.

Dum-dum-dum-dum.

Kidding aside, I just have to ask, what is with people these days?  Why are so many individuals as self absorbed as high-end paper towels? When I was in high school, the ancestors of the self absorbed were called “self centered.”  But the generation they gave way to has far surpassed their efforts.

Odds are you know at least one person (the odds are greater that you know quite a few) who is self absorbed.  Heck you may even be showing signs of heading that way yourself.  If that’s the case, take heart.  Maybe this article was meant for YOU and will prove as a life boat to keep you from drowning in a sea of YOU.

When something happens gradually, it becomes our NORMAL.  What we accept as the norm today would have mortified us 20 years ago.  As a comparatively small example, think about the commercials you see on TV today.  If you could transport yourself back 20 or even 10 years ago, can you imagine your reaction if you saw some of this crap come on? Something my husband used to do, when our girls were younger was probably the best way of handling idiot commercials I’ve ever seen.  He’d always have a “back up” channel in place during the show we were watching (especially during sporting events, where commercials really show their immaturity).  He’d flip over to the “back up channel” (usually the Golf Channel or the Weather Channel) as soon as the commercials tried to throw themselves into our living room.

Since he didn’t want three young girls exposed to stupidity and flirtations with porn, he’d simply opt out.  He was a dad who didn’t want to let what was becoming “norm” to the rest of  the world to become the “norm” for his family.

Unfortunately, the commercials – gradually – have become even worse.

Isn’t that how most things happen? Slowly. Gradually.  Then you sit there one evening while a commercial plays out that leaves your jaw on the floor as you ask, “America… what happened?!”

Like commercials (and magazines, movies, television, music…), the road to self absorption for so many people has happened gradually.  They didn’t set out to become narcissists.  But unfortunately, they didn’t set out NOT to become narcissists either.

nar·cis·sist

[nahr-suh-sist] noun

1. a person who is overly self-involved, and often vain and selfish.
2. Psychoanalysis . a person who suffers from narcissism, deriving erotic gratification from admiration of his or her own physical or mental attributes.

Signs of a Self Absorbed

In a nutshell, the self absorbed makes every single moment, every single situation, and every single experience about them.  What matters most isn’t who they are with, the beauty around them,  the moment they’re in, or what they can do for anyone else.

What matters most to them is… well… them.

A few questions that’ll help classify a self absorbed person:

  • Does the person talk, at length, about their health, their diet, or their appearance?
  • Does the person buy things only for himself or herself?
  • Does the person ever do “cool” things for others?
  • Does the person give to charities… could the person even name three charities?!?!
  • Does the person look at the world around them or are they too busy demanding that the world look at them?
  • On Twitter, is the person 95% about self-promotion?
  • On Facebook, are they begging others to LIKE them (or their product) or are they working hard, giving others a reason TO like them?
  • Does the person ask… and actually listen to the answer… how someone else’s day was?
  • Is the person friendly, respectful, and courteous to servers in restaurants or do they have the, “You are here to serve me and you’d better do a darn good job!” mentality?
  • Does the person have any idea, whatsoever, what’s actually going on in the world – or is the world, to them, literally what’s in the room with them?
  • The self absorbed individual is the one who, when talking about their success (something they’re always doing),  shows pictures of their car, their vacation, and sometimes even their home.  I’m never impressed with that – come on, just about anyone can buy a car or take a vacation!   To borrow a phrase from an old Shania Twain song, “That don’t impress me much.”  Show me what you’re doing to make THE world a better place, not YOUR world.  Show me how you’re helping precious children who need someone to care, show me how you’re saving a beautiful animal from becoming extinct, show me how you’re helping elderly people live out their lives with dignity, show me how you’re making the world a better place. Put your car in the garage, dude, it’s the least of my worries.

In Defense of the Self Absorbed

Before you start to think I hate self absorbed or self centered people – I do not. I don’t hate anyone.  In fact, I feel sorry for them because if you limit your world to YOU, you’re missing out on so, SO much.  If you make every situation, every day, every holiday, every moment all about you, you’re missing out on everyone around you. What’s more, you’re creating a void between you and everyone else. If your life is all about you 24/7, make no mistake about it, you’ll end up pushing everyone away and you will be left with your one true obsession.. yourself. How lonely does that sound?

As I said earlier, sometimes things happen slowly over time. Many self absorbed people slowly transition into being that way because of a health scare or other dramatic event in their lives.  A loss of a very close loved one makes some people become very self absorbed.

Over my lifetime, I’ve seen a lot of people become very self absorbed because of a health issue or because of  aging.  They become, literally, obsessed and preoccupied with the person they see in the mirror.  They’re every conversation and thought is channeled in that direction.

To me, that’s not LIVING, that’s simply TRYING NOT TO DIE.

There’s a big difference.  But, again, things happen slowly over time. The same person who would have been mortified by the idea 10 years ago is, today, discussing bodily functions with the hostess at Cracker Barrel and medications with a stranger in Target. Just because someone politely asks, “How are you doing?” doesn’t mean they want your medical history.

When you read interviews with people who have celebrated their 100th birthday, they look back over a life of living. They don’t look back over a life of trying not to die.

I think we have to cut our young people a little bit of slack, too.  Young girls and boys, today, have grown up with Facebook, Instagram, constantly taking selfies (pictures taken by oneself of oneself), reality TV, and with the mindset of “By gosh, it IS all about me!”  Sadly, it’s their norm.

And our future is in their hands.

Are you scared now?

Dangers Posed by the Self Absorbed

I am a positive person – very positive, in fact. However, even I am driven to say that the self absorbed breed could just be our downfall.  Think about some of the problems we face.

  • Divorce rates are through the roof.  Self absorbed people don’t think about the other person, all that matters TO them IS them. So what if they “flirt” online or go to websites that bother their spouse – it’s their life, by gosh, and they’ll do what they want.  And then they do…. all the way to divorce court.
  • People are falling for scams online left and right. The person they THINK they’re having a relationship with is completely different from what they think. Sometimes the other person is actually married and often they aren’t even the sex they believe them to be! Talk about awkward.  When people only care about themselves, they don’t care if they hurt another individual or not. They don’t even care if they wreck their world.  Remember, the self absorbed care only about themselves – all others are irrelevant.
  • Relationships are crumbling because men and women seem to have complete misconceptions about infidelity.  If you are in a committed relationship, your every e-mail, “tweet,” direct message, etc. should be able to be seen by your companion.  If they can’t be (without you wanting to run for the hills), you’re cheating. Plain and simple. I read a few days ago something that stood out to me. If you could not exchange phones with your significant other without panicking, you need to wake up.  Same can be said about e-mail and social media. Self absorbed people only think about what makes them feel good at the moment – they don’t have any respect or regard for anyone else.  And then they wonder why their relationship fails.
  • I don’t get shocked easily.  I always say the reason for that is I lived with three teenage daughters – how in the world could anything shock me?! However, I am shocked by what’s considered normal these days. During the Super Bowl, for example, there were about 3 different commercials that left me grasping for reality. Do advertisers not realize (or give a darn) that kids watch television? Do they not realize that the only people who buy their products aren’t 15 year old boys?!  Many companies are just as self absorbed as the individuals who run them.  They think, “I’ll do what I want to do, and if offends people… I’ll probably just make more money.”
  • Self absorbed people are the ones who text while they drive. The dangers they pose don’t matter – the only thing that matters is that they have something to say and… after all… their words are worth any chaos they cause.  Especially if they happen to have a picture of themselves to show off.
  • One of the biggest dangers of the self absorbed person is the fact that they’re keeping the breed going.  They’re continuing a “norm” that needs desperately to end.

Is There Any Hope for the Self Absorbed?!

If you had an uneasy, “Uh oh” moment when you read the words “self absorbed” and saw a bit of yourself in the descriptions, you’re lucky.  You’re probably cured already.  Sometimes all it takes is a wake up call. It’s kind of like taking a good look in the mirror before going out for dinner and a movie and seeing that your hair’s standing straight up.  It’s not a pretty sight, but thanks be to God you saw it before anyone else!

Personally, I think there’s hope for even the most self absorbed people.  If not… at least they provide the rest of us with a little free entertainment.  Just be sure you don’t buy into what they’re selling – it really isn’t any way to live.

 

Inspirational Quote of the Day: Don’t Take it Personally!

This is an Especially Great Quote

Alexa

Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering. – Miguel Angel Ruiz

How could I have gone through my entire life of being full on obsessed with inspirational quotes and not come across the one above before?

I even collect quotes!

This wonderful quotation is a perfect reminder to take everything others say or do with a grain of salt. NEVER let others define you or direct your world. There are people in the world who delight in trying to do both.

Live your life on your own terms, be the best you that you can be (as defined by YOU, not someone else), and never look in someone else’s mirror to see your own reflection.

As you know, I often tell you to write certain quotes down.  This time I’m ordering you to!  This one’s a life changer.

Why We Should Carefully Watch Our Words

Does the Word Boomerang Mean Anything to You?

Deliberate much before you say and do anything; for it will not be in your power to recall what is said or done. -Epictetus

  Be Careful What You Say Have you ever said something and instantly wished you could grab the words by the tail and eat them.  Or, better yet, go back in time and never let the words out in the first place?  Since we’re all human, we’ve all been there. It’s a downright sickening feeling when words come out of your mouth and you can’t do anything about it other than stand in the ruins.

Fortunately,  for me as well as those who have to listen to me, I’m one of those people who almost always lines my words up and quickly examines them before they come out of my mouth. This practice came about because of something I call “mommy speak.”  I was a “stay at home” mom to our three beautiful little girls (one of my daughters is pictured in this post). As you may know, I home-schooled each of our daughters all the way from Kindergarten to 12th grade.

That’s a lot of time spent with little people!

I quickly realized that the way I related with my girls might not be appropriate with an older crowd, so I got into the habit of examining my words before allowing them to make an appearance.

I lived in fear of telling a perfect stranger to brush her hair before someone thought she was a cave girl, or telling my husband to eat all of his vegetables if he expected any chocolate cake. While playing a board game with adults once, I was bumfuzzled when none of them knew who Snuffleupagus was.  I thought, Seriously, don’t these people watch tv? I instantly wished I’d used chocolate or an UPS truck to indicate brown – but to me, Big Bird’s buddy was synonymous with brown.

Mommy speak.

I’ve heard enough people (politicians excel at it) open their mouth, THEN examine their words.   Most people simply need to get into the practice of interrogating their words before allowing them out of the confines of their mouth.

Before inmates are released from prison, they have to face such an interrogation.  Given the fact that words can do as much damage as a convict who’s on top of his game, it’s obvious they need to face similar inspection.  A few things to ask yourself before the words come flying out:

  • Will this hurt someone’s feeling?  Some people seem to forget that people have feelings.  Just because the speaker may be hardened, doesn’t mean everyone else is.  No one deserves to have another person tear them down with words. It’s called bullying and it isn’t the least bit attractive. Even small children have feelings and unkind words can shatter them like glass.
  • Am I speaking out of anger? Speaking under the influence of anger is as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol.  Take deep breaths, calm down, then speak. It’s best for everyone, including yourself.
  • Are these words for ME or THEM? Most of the time, the things we say are self-serving.  A father will call his daughter’s boyfriend names to make himself feel good. He isn’t thinking of the young man, his daughter, or the rest of the family. He’s thinking of himself.  His words make everyone uneasy, but none of them truly matter. He’s only thinking of himself.
  • Will any good come from this? If nothing GOOD or positive will come from your words, why not just keep them to yourself?

It’s worth mentioning a special word to parents.  I never cease to be amazed by how much my daughters actually remember about their childhood. Sometimes one of them will be walking or having lunch, and they’ll come up with a memory from what seems like a lifetime ago!  Thanks be to God that they’re almost always positive, happy memories.  The point is, kids have excellent memories and the things you say to them (even in anger) STAY with them.  If you have children at home, make certain you’re giving them words you’ll want to revisit them time and time again.  Because they will.

Young parents go through A LOT of crazy things in life. Many times there are job changes, moves, family drama, and so on. Just remember, don’t take it out on your children. One day, they may be all you have.  Say words to them today that you’ll WANT them to repeat to you one day.  Even when disciplining them, do it with love and remain calm. As adults, they’ll respect that.

Whether it’s with children or other adults, watch your words because they’re very much like boomerangs.  They’ll come back to you and their sense of direction couldn’t be more accurate.

The Root of the Problem:

The reason people say things that’d be better left unsaid has more to do with their brain than their mouth or even their temper.  People who use words as bullets generally do so because their thoughts lead them to it.

No one’s good enough to suit them, no restaurant’s up to their standards, etc. If their thoughts were a tv station it’d be ONTH: Only Negative Thoughts Here!

Every word out of our mouth has a source of origin. This source is thought.

Guard your thoughts and, in turn, you’ll guard your words.

Quote About Love for All Girls to Memorize

Truer Words Were Never Written

Find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot, who calls you back when you hang up on him, who will lie under the stars and listen to your heartbeat, or will stay awake just to watch you sleep… wait for the boy who kisses your forehead, who wants to show you off to the world when you are in sweats, who holds your hand in front of his friends, who thinks you’ re just as pretty without makeup on. One who is constantly reminding you of how much he cares and how lucky he is to have YOU… The one who turns to his friends and says, that’s her. – Unknown

I wish I had a dollar for every time I put this quote in front of my daughters’ faces over the years.  I could buy my husband a boat and possibly Kentucky Lake to go with it!

More quotes about love.

Dealing with Rude People

When You Can't Run and Hide!

Thunderstorm

Rude, obnoxious people are like unpredictable thunderstorms. Running and Screaming in the other direction isn’t just my first impulse, it’s my first, middle, and last impulse.

As I’ve said before, I always welcome topic suggestions on my self help blog. I even have a contact form on my mental fitness website where readers suggest subjects they’re interested in “hashing out.”  After all, if I’m going to talk (cue my husband, “She most definitely is going to talk.“), I’d rather talk about what YOU want to talk about than what I want to talk about.

Anyway, a recent subject brought up in my e-mail was this: “How do YOU deal with obnoxious, mean-spirited, and generally unpleasant people?”   I replied that my first response was AVOID THEM LIKE SNAKES IN THE GRASS! Naturally, that’s not always possible, so we simply have to out-class, out-smart, and out-pleasant them… which, fortunately, is never very hard.

My new e-mail friend (bless her) works with the public and sees humanity on parade each day. She tells me that, at work, she knows how she has to deal with difficult people: She has to smile, be courteous, and try to resolve the situation as quickly and painlessly as possible. Her real problem was people who aren’t her customers (co-workers, neighbors,  etc.).

Just as she and I were about 4 e-mails deep in our discussion about difficult people, I got another message from someone else asking if I’d ever had to deal with “jerks” online. When I stopped rolling on the floor, laughing, I replied that I’ve seen enough “jerks” online to populate a small country. One I’d never want to visit, I might add!  This individual was tired of rude comments left on Facebook and Twitter from people who don’t even have enough guts to use their name.  You know the ones – the spell checkers, grammar police, and general know-it-alls.  The people who serve no real purpose in the world and never actually help anyone or anything.

Apparently this person (I honestly couldn’t tell from the name if they were male or female – it could go either way. I love the name, though, and plan to use it on my next cat) had ran into some of these online cesspools of negativity. They’d made the mistake of trying to reason with them.  Never. Do. That.  They simply aren’t worth your time.

Here’s my personal routine for handling these characters:  I smile (because I’m not them), I keep singing along with whatever song I’m listening to at the moment (without missing a beat), then I delete every proof that they ever existed in my world (they’re toxic).

When it comes to dealing with negative, difficult people, I think the most important thing to realize is this: They’re the ones with the problem, not you. Plus, as I’ve often told my daughters when they’re dealing with hateful people: To a certain extent, you kind of have to feel sorry for them.  After all, how much bitterness, anger, negativity, and downright misery must lie within them for them to be so disagreeable?

Difficult and negative people entertain difficult and negative thoughts.  That’s where it all starts. If they’d learn to cultivate positive, helpful, and generally pleasant thoughts, they’d cease to be snakes in the grass and they’d find more people gravitating TO them instead of running away FROM them.

Every thought is a seed.  If you plant crab apples, don’t count on harvesting Golden Delicious.  – Bill Meyer

Most of the time, the most miserable people you know are, indeed, the most miserable people you know.  If they behave in a miserable way, chances are the action springs from a miserable inner pool. If they mean something to you, I’d suggest trying to find ways to help them be happier. If you have to be around them any time at all, you’ll benefit from it at least as much as they will.  Try to avoid confrontations and do all that’s within you to keep conversations cordial and positive.  Arguing with difficult people only brings you down to their level and, in many ways, allows them to win.  They were able to ruin your day and, for a period of time, make you as miserable as them.

Refuse to give them that!

Simply ask them, “Is there anything bothering you? Anything I can help you with?”  The funny thing is, very often JUST the words alone will snap them out of their ugly mood.

Negativity is a very real, tangible, and hurtful thing. My husband once spent a few days with a colleague – on a golf trip.  When he got back home, he nearly threw himself into our house. I watched as he, literally, tried to “shake off” the experience.  The other man was, apparently, one of those people who is never, ever satisfied.  He complained about this, he complained about that… and when he got through, he complained about complaining.  The negativity was so thick, I suspect my husband found it hard to breathe!

Dealing with difficult people is tricky, make no mistake about it, and only you know for certain how to handle your own personal Oscar the Grouch.  However, since you are the person I’m worried about here, as opposed to O.T.G., I want to look out for you.  Below are the top 3 things to remember when handling the negative and rude crowd:

  1. Realize that THEY are the ones with the personality problem, not you. They’re the one with so much negativity inside that it’s oozing outside. Get away before it gets on you.
  2. Don’t mirror them by sinking down to their level.  You should never mirror anyone, of course, but if you ever DO try someone else’s “look” on, make sure it’s attractive. Why’d you want to be ugly too?!?!
  3. Never allow anyone to rob you of your happiness.  They say misery loves company. Just because the invitation’s sent doesn’t mean you have to accept!

What are your ways for dealing with difficult and/or negative people?!

Something for Human Spell Checks (and Grammar Checks) to Keep in Mind:
More times than not the individual you’re trying to “call out” is at least as intelligent as you. More times than not, they know very well how to spell the word in question. Even if they did not, berating them or trying to come across as their superior does nothing for them OR you. The individual who made the error could have been sick at the time or they could have recently lost a loved one, for that matter. Having said that, they may have made a good, old-fashioned spelling error! Human mistakes are something we all make, you included. Instead of stepping on someone in an effort to make yourself feel bigger, why not spend a little quality time with yourself and figure out why you can’t stand tall on your own two feet.

Beautiful Quote About Relationships

Something to Think About, No?

Bo and Adam

” If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?” – Stephen Levine

I don’t, as a rule, like to think about anyone or anything dying.  And when I say as a rule, I mean I never, ever do it!  I’d much rather focus on living. However, when you put things into the sort of context that the quote above chooses, you quickly realize that any loving words left unsaid are wasteful.  They could potentially be the most wasteful words, accompanied by the biggest regret, of your life.

We’re right in the midst of the beautiful holiday season. Thanksgiving’s on our front porch, Christmas in just down the road, and New Year’s Day is around the corner. Take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities around you to let the people you love so much that you can’t imagine life without them KNOW that you love them so much that you can’t imagine life without them.

What good do the words or feelings do if they stay in your heart and mind. Let them out and watch the magic begin.

More Inspirational Quotes:

Quotes about Love

Quotes About Family

Quotes About Friends

A Few Lessons from Last Night’s Episode of Survivor

Courtesy of a Few Unexpected Instructors

If you know me at all, you probably know what a big fan I am of Survivor. I’ve loved that show for so long I can’t remember life without it. Usually, it’s simply an enjoyably entertaining hour – spent with my family. We love to pick our favorites and battle it out along with them. Seldom do we ever pause the television to discuss something profound. Many great family conversations have been kindled by Survivor (as well as The Biggest Loser and similar shows), but they’re usually no deeper than a glass of iced tea.

However, last night, something one of the players said caused a few of us to sort of pause, look at one another and – literally – take a few minutes to allow it to sink in. The player in question is one of my, as well as my oldest daughter Emily’s, favorite player: Coach. He was nuttier than a squirrel’s breakfast when he was on Survivor before, but he’s coming across as intelligent, insightful, and Spiritual this time around.

And he wears it well.

He’s also thinking circles around the other players. Some of the things he has figured out has left us asking each other, “How’d he know that?” Anyway, it’s shaping up to be one of the funnest seasons ever.

Last night, Coach was talking to another contestant, Cochran. Cochran is a highly educated and intelligent young man. Athletic? Not a chance? On top of his social game? Far from it. He’s decidedly off beat – so far off that one wonders if he’d recognize a beat. On his team, Cochran was apparently picked on unmercifully. After the merge, Coach told Cochran that he understood what it was like to be superior to other people in some ways (such as being intelligent), and to KNOW you are. He went on to say, in his own way, that people will often perceive that you are intelligent and will, therefore, look for weaknesses in other areas to exploit – in an attempt to bring you down to their level.

Some of the guys on Cochran’s team knew he was smarter than them (OBVIOUSLY, given a few decisions, but that’s another story!). Rather than allow themselves to feel inferior to someone with a higher IQ, they found weaknesses and harped away at them.

It’s the sort of thing that happens in life on a daily basis, isn’t it? People automatically know when someone has something “up” on them, so they look for flaws and mistakes as though there were a reward for finding them. There’s no prize for fault-finding. If there were, there wouldn’t possibly be enough prizes to go around.

I think Coach’s assessment is important to realize, and to keep in mind, no matter which side of the equation we find ourselves on. We’ll sometimes be the one with more on the ball and we’ll sometimes be the one unaware there IS a ball. Been there. To a very real extent, we should focus the majority of our energy, time, and mindset on where we are in life. Are WE the best individual we can be and are we doing the best WE can. Don’t fall into the trap of worrying so much about what this person is doing or what that person isn’t doing.

Take care of the only person you can or even have the right to control… yourself.  Never try to pull anyone down to your level or try to lift yourself higher by stepping on another.  By the same token, if someone consistenly seems to pick at you..

  1. Avoid them if at all possible.
  2. If you can’t avoid them, realize that they may be trying to knock you down because, deep down, they feel inferior.

Another lesson most definitely played out last night as well.  Cochran’s original team seemed to be the team to beat. They had SO much going for them. But they failed to get along with one another. There was FAR too much fault-finding and dissension.  The way you treat people MATTERS, and if you don’t see it today, you will tomorrow.

A strong player was voted off last night and it all came down to the way he treated others.   One of the players on Coach’s team (Brandon) pointed it out after the votes were cast. What goes around comes around.

Our words, as well as the way we treat others, are like boomerangs.  We think we can hurl them into the air without repercussions – until, that is, they come back and smack us upside the head. The Golden Rule says to treat others the way you want to be treated.  I take it even further than that.  I try to treat others as I’d want my family to be treated. When an older person is driving in front of me, I never get on their bumper because I wouldn’t have wanted anyone to do that to my older family members.

If a young cashier or server is struggling with something, I’m as patient as I’d want people to be with the young people I love.  This morning, a man at my grocery store was as lost as Judas, wandering aisles, looking at his list, then blankly at the aisles.  It occurred to me that if my husband were in that boat, I’d want someone to lead him to the shore – especially if I were waiting to make supper!  So I asked him if he needed help finding anything. He said, “Where would vinegar be?,” and I pointed him in the right direction.  The grateful guy (with a wife at home sick) said he’d been walking in circles for 10 minutes.

I wondered how many people had seen him without helping.  Granted, I also wondered how you couldn’t find vinegar in 10 minutes, but I didn’t tell him that. He had a Chicago Cubs jacket on, so he has suffered enough.

It boggles the mind to think what the world would be like today if everyone treated others as they’d want their spouses, children, and parents to be treated.

One final word. Our every word and our every action have the same origin: Our thoughts. Before one person is a complete jerk to another person, he harbors negative, mean thoughts. Before one person says something completely mean and hurtful, he thinks mean and hurtful things.  When we learn to plant positive and constructive seeds in our mind, we’ll grow positive and constructive words and actions.

Shouldn’t that be everyone’s goal?

A Few Thoughts About Tolerance

With Quotes That'll Grab You By the Face

If you approach each new person you meet in a spirit of adventure, you will find yourself endlessly fascinated by the new channels of thought and experience and personality that you encounter. — Eleanor Roosevelt

Tolerance. Beautiful word. One of my favorite words, actually.  When I think of tolerance, I think of acceptance and compassion. I think of tolerance as living in a state of NOT over-expecting, hyper-criticizing, condemning,  judging, or looking down on individuals or causing them to feel “beneath you”.  Of realizing that you may not be as far-removed from the one you’re standing in judgement of as you may think.

Intolerant people turn me off faster than my husband turns off Rascal Flatts music.  When it comes to him and their music, one “note” and he changes the channel.  With me and the intolerant crowd, one word and I, too, tune out.

Some things are simply in our nature.   My nature, to its very core, hates to see one individual believe himself or herself to be above another.  I fully understand condemning certain behaviors – there are behaviors I abhor all day long and twice on Sundays.  There are also certain thought processes that make me wonder if an individual has all their marbles.  However, I don’t feel hatred or condemnation for the marble-less crowd.  I generally just thank God that they don’t live under my roof.

I started thinking more about tolerance and it’s mindset recently. Within one day I heard of parents who were over-reacting to a mistake their teenage daughter had made. Over-reacting to the point that the young girl wanted to take her life.  The parents made her feel as though she had failed them in every conceivable way and that she’d, basically, ruined their lives.  It was too much for a 17 year old girl to handle and she began looking for a way out.

Later, that same day, I saw a woman (50ish) LITERALLY yelling at a woman (80ish) who was driving in the car in front of her – apparently much too slow for her liking.

Always try to maintain complete tolerance and always make an effort to give people more than they expect. – Scott Hamilton

Let’s take the parents first… we’ll get to the screaming banshee in a minute.

Parents oftentimes panic.   Mind you, we have the most stressful job in the world.  As the mother of 3, I understand this as much as anyone.  Someone once told me that I was probably the most emotionally strong person they knew. I told them, I lived through the most stressful period of time a human can endure: Three teenage daughters AND an over-protective “daddy” all under the roof at once.   It’s a wonder I don’t have residual tremors.

I’m all for strong parenting. You’d have a tough time convincing me that (in this day and time) there’s a such thing as being too strict. I’m also all for having a set of house rules and sticking to your guns.  However, I’m not for panicking or for making your children feel as though they’ve disappointed you or failed to live up to your high and mighty standards.  Something parents have to remember about their child is this: It’s their life.  It’s not yours’. You brought them into the world but that doesn’t give you the right to try to live their life for them.

Parents, today, have to keep something in mind. Something very important.  The world young people live in, today, is vastly different from the one you and I grew up in.  What’s more, we have NO WAY to say for certain how we would handle these times. Think about it – our “world” was different from this one.  The media, the music, the television shows, the clothes… everything. There’s no way we can say, with absolute certainty, WHO we would be if we had been born 20 years later.

For all we know, some parents today would be a lot worse than the kids they gripe about.

I thought about this very thing recently and, to be perfectly honest, as a teenager, I’d have been as big a Facebook flirt as anyone.  This much I do know!

Here’s what really frustrates me. The same father who wore his hair long in the 70’s criticizing his daughter’s nose piercing or his son’s tattoos. HELLO… earth to dad!   If he could travel through time, he’d see self-righteous people sneering at him, talking, behind his back. Then, if he traveled back to the present, he’d see that he’d BECOME those people.

And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve had more of a tendency to look for people who live by kindness, tolerance, compassion, a gentler way of looking at things. – Martin Scorsese

Bottom line:  When you’re thinking of judging, criticizing, or condemning, think about how it makes you look.  Ask yourself if you think anyone’s ever done it to you.  Finally, ask, “Do I really want to be THAT person?”  And when your kids mess up, be there to catch them… not throw them down.

As for people who get overly agitated with older people…. like the screaming banshee…. again, tolerance comes into play.  Our reactions (in our 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s) are different from the reactions we’ll have when we’re older.  I wanted to ask the screamer if she really wanted an 80 something year old woman speeding down the road.  And… pet peeve alert… what does getting on an older person’s bumper accomplish? Are you that heartless that you want to put them into a ditch?

Tolerance.  Realize that, first of all, this is someone’s mom, dad, grandmother, and/or grandfather.  How would you want someone to treat this person if it were your family member. Would you want them to scream at them, get right up on their bumper, and give them the stink eye.   Of course not! You’d think, “Keep your distance dumb a$$, they have as much right to be out as you do.”

If we’re lucky, we’ll one day BE the older person driving carefully down the road.  And, I don’t know about you, but the last thing I’d want would be some smart alack youngster making me feel like I was nothing but a nuisance.

Finally,  I just want to end with this:

  • Smile more at people.  Instead of sneering at a young girl or boy who look ridiculous to you, smile at them. You may be the only adult who does all week.
  • If someone is driving slowly in front of you, look at it as a reminder from God to slow down and enjoy the ride.
  • When you see an older person in public, smile and speak.  I go out of my way to do so and the smiles returned to me make my day.
  • You never know what’s going on in another person’s life or what they’ve been through.
  • Make tolerance and compassion your buzz words.
  • Karma is simply God’s sense of justice.  I firmly believe that how you treat others will come back around to stare you in the face.

Human beings seldom step outside of themselves to really grasp the needs and fears of others. We often project our own thoughts and beliefs upon strangers, and make judgments based upon how we think they ‘should’ be living their lives. If only we could experience a few moments inside the feelings of another person, the world would be a much more compassionate and benevolent place. – Chelle Thompson