R U OK? Day

R U OK? is an Australian not-for-profit suicide-prevention organization founded by Gavin Larkin in 2009.

I love this a-conversation-could-change-a-life initiative as I love its US counterpart of Hi, How Are You? Day.

Today, in the States, Hi, How Are You? Day reminds us to show genuine concern for “how people really are.”

Because “How are you?” is too often a mere rhetorical question rather than an expression of a legitimate desire to know, being willing to ask the deeply sincere version and really listen (rather than talk) can be a life-saver for those who struggle with suicide ideation.

Not being too busy or too frightened to take such an initiative is the critical point.

I hope many will find “we are ear” for them today.

Best Skill on Earth?

Communicating without offending.

People who have this best skill on earth, have…

  1. Enough awareness to recognize their communication dysfunctions
  2. Enough humility to apologize for, and adjust, counterproductive communications
  3. Enough commitment to practice listening, insight, and proven techniques of highly effective communicators

Whatever other skills we might want to acquire in life, nothing will help our digestion (and the digestion of those who have to live with and around us) more than better communication skills (along with our social lives, success, happiness, and mental health.)

Are You a Zapper or a Sapper?

I don’t like to listen to someone complain. Do you?

I don’t enjoy hearing someone obsess over something that should not have happened to them. Do you?

I don’t want to spend my time with someone who is criticizing, judging, or pontificating. Do you?

We have better things to do with our lives.

Then, why is it so difficult for us to remember not to subject our listeners to our own monotonous monologues?

Making sure to “zap” instead of “sap” people of energy is a good way to jog our memory.

 

Why This Is Not a Joke

When resources are sparse and our circumstances are bleak, this poster feels like a cruel joke.

Yet, when we dismiss our cynicism, we’ll experience why visualizing unlimited abundance is worth the effort:

1) Dreaming puts a smile on our face. (Ask your friends, family, and coworkers which they prefer, the smile or the grimace?)
2) Visualization is scientifically proven to change our body chemistry, disarming harmful toxins that feed dis-ease. (Ask your body what it wants, angst or relaxation?)
3) Relaxing into hope stamps out doubt, worry, and anger. (Ask your past which worked better, despair or faith?)
4) Stopping long enough to recalibrate gives us the energy to take positive steps forward. (Ask anyone which works better, giving up or gearing up?)

(Original post 2013)

How I Justified Exaggeration

When telling a story…

  1. It wouldn’t sound interesting enough if I didn’t exaggerate just a little
  2. Otherwise my story wouldn’t get the cred it deserved

When I was a kid…

  1. I didn’t want to get in trouble
  2. I didn’t know how to get attention

When I was hurting…

  1. No one seemed to understand
  2. I didn’t know how to communicate my pain

Finally learning to accept myself with all my flaws, brought…

  • freedom to tell nothing but the truth
  • healthy detachment from how others responded to me
  • new, unaffected ways to describe inner pain, boundaries, and needs

It is also the rule of…

  • relationships that thrive
  • good nights’ sleep
  • uncomplicated lives
  • the best definition of success (even if telling the whole truth gets us in trouble, at least we will have a clear conscience)

The Misguided Quest to Save Time

I made a promise to myself years ago to reflect, pray, and meditate daily before I started my task list. Sometimes I cheat. Like today. I decided to get started on my list and paint my toenails before I sat down on the floor to center myself. Oops. There is now a permanent royal blue stain on the carpet to remind me to keep my commitments and do things in order.

So often, I think I am too busy to put first things first until I waste my time doing it my own way. This mistake was minor. Some mistakes permanently damage others and take a whole lot longer to repair.

The following Bruce Lee quote reinforces that nothing is as important as the time we use for personal growth.

Am I Missing Something?

A smile is an opening

For the right words

But also for the right thoughts

Which create the capacity

For receiving 

What we could not receive before

“Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it.” -Tagore

Create the capacity. Enjoy what you have been given. Get ready for amazement.

Steps for creating capacity:

  1. Smile at the future
  2. Forgive yourself
  3. Be gentle with others
  4. Relax into now
  5. Open your arms to give and receive
  6. See the gifts
  7. Feel the joy

Steps for shrinking our capacity:

  1. Feel cheated
  2. Mourn the loss
  3. Resist reality
  4. Hold grudges
  5. Worry about not having enough
  6. Be selfish
  7. Keep talking trash about ourselves, others, and the world

Setting an Intention to Win instead of a Resolution

At the beginning of 2018, I decided I was sick and tired of hearing myself complain about my weight (which I had been doing for many years). I made a plan: try Weight Watchers or hypnosis. I had tried everything else. Counting calories since I was 18 years old, I thought I knew everything about weight loss.

I reluctantly enrolled in a WW program that would pay me back if I lost 10 lbs. in two months. That was not a resolution, it was a challenge. And, I wanted to win it.

To my surprise, it was fun and rewarding. I didn’t have to starve myself. I learned new tricks and new habits, got my money back, and started 2019 at my lowest weight since High School! Who knew I loved winning more than I loved wine?

Tell Ourselves Good Stories in 2019?

We  constantly explain others’ behavior by making up stories about who they are and why they do what they do. Its much easier to think people are just plain idiots or jerks rather than people with scars, such as ourselves, who make mistakes or who are just trying to get by with limited courage, insight, or character-development.

I am not advocating naivete or letting others take advantage of us, but. since we are all making up stories anyway, why shouldn’t we try out the good ones before the bad ones?

I certainly appreciate that kind of mercy when I am a character in the story.

I challenge you to try. Let’s see how much less angst, anger, and frustration we can have just by starting with mercy in 2019.

(Modified original post from 2013)