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)

Ban Excuses!

Whatever happens, take responsibility…instead of blaming, shaming or making excuses for ourselves and others.

Even if wronged, ask…

  • How do I move forward productively?
  • How do I keep from doing the same to others?
  • Have I ever done the same to others? (Be humble enough to entertain the possibility, keeping in mind that it is easy to forget how we hurt others but difficult to forget how others have hurt us.)
  • Besides my own perspective, what are others’ viewpoints?
  • What can I learn from this experience?
  • How can I avoid wasting my energy on blame and shame?
  • What narrative will I choose about this experience? The narrative of a victim or the narrative of an overcomer?

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.

Searching for a Heart of Gold?

Searching for a heart of gold is a worthy quest, and not just for Neil Young. Neil Young might have been singing about a romantic connection, but we are all searching for hearts of gold in people we meet. It is like a quest for home.

A heart of gold is about honesty and authenticity. It is about loyalty and honor and about refusing to become small or vindictive in our words or actions.

And people with hearts of gold are not doormats, they are strong people who refuse to stoop to hatred.

To show respect to all people, even those who have disrespected us or treated others disrespectfully, is sometimes torture and often counter-intuitive. Yet, the reward of having that caliber of character is worth the exertion.

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)

It May Be an Angel

On the days when I am broke or sick

When people are not responding

Or technology is trouble

When I misplace or forget my phone

Or say the wrong thing and mess up an opportunity

Or when my body (or my car) refuses to be reliable

When I can’t find my keys or traffic is brutal

Or the weather (or a relative) won’t cooperate

It is on those days I am forced to let go

Of the illusion of my control

And give honor to the Angel standing in my way

Slowing me down for my own good.

If Guilt Creeps Stealthily in

If guilt creeps stealthily in

Or breaks violently into your home

It will not help to hide behind a door

Or appear dreadfully busy on your phone

 

Guilt cannot stand to be ignored! (Trust me, history is my witness)

Dare to play dumb or talk smart

He (and you) will stab your dear one (oh yes!)

Straight through their unsuspecting heart

 

Or, he’ll double you over with a kick to the gut

Then condemn you to endless nights in a restless bed

After pouring poisons into your body and

Terrifying fears into your head

 

Your only chance is to look fiercely into his heartless eyes

Let him say what he has to say

Then, you, you fix what can be fixed, and

Then, bravely banish his pathetic impotence away

Don’t Wait ’til Someone Dies

Don’t wait ’til someone dies

To say of them something nice

To give them appreciation 

Versus the ubiquitous smirk or shrug

(All could use a little love)

 

Don’t wait ’til people die

To appreciate their unique lives

And what they have done best

Instead of judging all the many things

They were not…as very human beings

 

I wasn’t a big George H. W. Bush fan while he was president. I probably should have appreciated his character more and criticized a bit (or a lot) less.

We Don’t Have to Make Others Look Worse to Feel Better about Ourselves

Resist the urge.

Resist the urge to spout blame, shame, accusations, and comparisons.

To do so is as common as oxygen but as toxic as cyanide.

Image result for comparing quotes

Trying to balance the scale by bringing others down is often driven by guilt and always steals your gravitas.

Noble people know their own value and do not have to defend it.