I See You

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“To love is to recognize yourself in another.” – Eckhart Tolle

The good and the bad

The unsavory elements of ourselves we have stuffed in the closet

Out of sight where we hope (with racing heart) no one will think to look

For what we have denied or blamed on others

 

The best love is an honest love

Full of responsibility for the mixed bag of who we are

Neither better nor worse than any other

“I Was Wrong”

Kelly Corrigan’s brutally honest book about twelve hard things to say includes great apology instructions.

Saying, “I was wrong” makes an “I’m sorry” so much more potent. “I’m sorry” gets thrown around so often that it tends to trigger cynicism.

“I was wrong” (combined with the specific error) brings relief to those who desperately need to know we get it.

It’s not easy to say. But, it is easier when we remember being wrong isn’t the same as being bad. We are learning. We are erring. We are sometimes blinded by our selfishness or our ego. We are human.

Let’s make June 2018 our best June ever…beginning with the apologies people long to hear.

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Dysfunctional Equations

Judging and blaming others = Hiding our own screw-ups

Hiding our own screw-ups = Internal pain, dissonance, and self-betrayal

Internal pain, dissonance, and self-betrayal = Being sick and tired

Being sick and tired = Missing out on the love and joy for which we long

Missing out on the love and joy for which we long = More judging and blaming others

 

The only way out of this sick cycle of dysfunction is to interrupt it with the unconditional acceptance of others just as they are. The tricky part is that we have to start with accepting ourselves, especially the not-so-admirable, very human parts, just as we are. And…finally…the right equation:

Delighting in, and accepting others = Peace, happiness, and hope

The change is so worth the effort.

Giving or Taking Energy?

We often kid ourselves into thinking that we are not guilty of taking energy from people even though it is so very common for others to steal our own.

When we lapse into negativity, nagging, self-centered behaviors, or playing the victim (by complaining about people and circumstances), we inevitably join the ranks of the “energy thieves.”

Even when we judge another’s motive, expect everyone to be energized by the same things that energize us, or fail to value someone’s feelings and opinions as much as we value our own, we have become a drain versus a fountain of refreshment.

It is easy to detect the “drain” in others. More difficult to see it in ourselves.

Sometimes other people “suck.” Sometimes it is us.

Do Everyone a Favor and Keep My Ego out of It

These truths are self evident (to the thoughtful):

  • Our opinions are merely “junk mail” until they are requested.

  • People who know us can predict the content of  our “lectures”( and translate them to “Blah, blah, blah”).

  • Appreciating someone and showing that appreciation by stopping, listening, and keeping my ego out of it, trumps everything else I might say or do.

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Please Don’t Try to Help Me out or “Serve” Me If…

So, back to the dishes.

If we do them or do any other act of service with resentment, superiority, complaining, bitterness, distaste, or a judgmental attitude we are probably doing more harm than good. Kahlil Gibran compares this behavior to a baker putting poison in the bread that he bakes.

Even the “love chapter” in the Bible labels acts that are done without love, however impressive they may be, as noise, bad music, counterfeit money, and a waste of time.

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Most humans have “antennas” up for insincerity, arrogance, anger, and condescension. Nobody is really fooled by our “service.”

Maybe we should just do everyone a favor and quit kidding ourselves.

“I’m the Only One Who Ever Does the Dishes Around Here”

I whined about my workload more times than I can count. Once, when I said, “I’m the only one who ever does the dishes around here,” someone responded, “So, don’t do them anymore. I’d rather have a dirty kitchen than be around a martyr.”

Although, not the answer I was going for, he had a very good point. No one enjoys the poor-little-me martyr. Setting boundaries and agreements is a much better option.

In offices and homes all over the world, people are getting bitter about other people not shouldering their fair share of the work and carrying around bitterness about it. That bitterness infects and dismantles relationships, contributes to ulcers and illness, and sucks the fun out of any environment. I’m not advocating rewarding irresponsible behaviors, only managing them productively.

Solution:

  1. Tell people what you need.

  2. Agree on a plan.

  3. Set contingencies for exceptions and failures.

  4. Follow through without drama.

Goodbye martyrdom!

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When It Is Not the Hap-Happiest Season of All

If you’re not hurting and not alone this season, don’t assume everyone is sharing your joy. Don’t assume it’s the hap-happiest season of all.

Invite people in you normally wouldn’t.

Ask more genuine questions.

Have honest conversations.

Value the people around you enough to ask about the ways they’re hurting.

Listen well, love well.

And regardless of your situation: lean in to relationships, to other people.

Adapted from Robert Vore (from The Mighty newsletter)

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Wonder

Today I was thinking about this book and how difficult it is to feel like a freak. Most of us have things about our appearance that embarrass us or that we wish were different, but Augie’s face caused people to run, cringe, look away, or ridicule. How petty our concerns are in comparison to those who deal with debilitating deformities.

I’m glad the movie comes out in November. It is a good thing to be reminded of what really matters, what bravery looks like, and how genuine love expresses itself to those who feel unlovable.

The people I want to be around are the people who look beyond the outward appearance; not those who parcel out acceptance and approval to the “elite” (however they have chosen to define it).

So Many Broken Roads We Don’t Know About

My niece, Susannah, found an archived Decatur, Illinois newspaper article about an accident my mother was in at the age of 22. The name of the driver was a man my mother would marry the following year. Another article revealed that man drowned in Vegas at the age of forty-eight. My brother was sixteen when this stranger died. He wouldn’t know the man was his father until years later.

The info triggered an uncomfortable realization; I didn’t give my mother enough credit for her difficult life.

Or, my brother for his disjointed life.

Or, so many others for the painfully broken roads they have traveled.

Maybe the realization will help me be nicer to my fellow screwed-up traveling partners.