Monthly Archives: September 2014

Negativity SUCKS!

Have you ever been around someone that never has anything positive to say?

Everyone has the right to be negative at some point in their lives.  There will be circumstances and relationships that could play a major role in affecting someone’s attitude.

The question is… when those times come in your life, would you rather swim in the murky waters of negativity or work your way to the clear waters of a positive perspective?

OH NO!  Not another POSITIVITY GURU!!!  I get it.  You do not wish to hear another person talk about how you should be positive no matter what the cost.  You are sick of having someone point out that if you “just have a positive attitude, your day will get better.”

Not to worry!

This is not a “Let’s Get Positive” speech.

What I will attempt to do here is to help us focus on our relationships, how important they are, and why it is important for each of us to be a part of someone’s life helping them to be positive.

This is a “It Takes Work and Relationship to Be Positive” exhortation.

Let’s think about a clear glass of water.  This clear glass of water is a representation of pure unadulterated positivity.  There is no negativity in a clear glass of water.

clear-glass-of-water

Over a person’s life, negative things will happen. Negative people will infect them. Negative thoughts will arise. Insecurities, imperfections, troubles outside of their control, and rejection can take their toll on someone. These negative experiences stay with us. If we are not careful, they can cloud our judgment and especially hurt our relationships with others.

Each time something negative happens in our lives, imagine the same cup of water with blue food coloring dropped into it.  The blue food coloring is a negative event, word, or thought.

Clear-glass-of-water-BLUE

Over time, many negative events begin to taint the clear water and turn it blue.

Clear-glass-of-water-More_BLUE

If we are not careful, the entire cup of clear water can turn blue.  This is when we allow negativity to take over our thought processes and it infects everything we do.

Negativity produces more negativity in relationships.  Have you ever been in a conversation where someone shares a negative story, and all of a sudden the conversation takes a giant leap into who can share the most negative information?

So how can we be a positive influence in our relationships with others to stop or even reverse the negative cycle?  There is a tendency in some where we just want to avoid any negative people, circumstances and relationships.  However, this just adds more blue food coloring to the already tainted water in someone’s life.

How do you take a negative person or relationship and turn it into a positive one?  How do you remove the blue food coloring from a cup of water?

Please forgive the water and coloring analogy, but this is where it gets interesting!

You could poor out the water, wash the cup and fill it up again.  This would be unrealistic in this case because no one can undo something negative that happens or that is said to them.

The best way to rid the cup of water of blue food coloring is to stick it under a faucet of clear water and continually fill the cup to overflowing until all the blue coloring has been washed out of it.

This is where we come in.  If we begin to pour into our relationships encouragement, love, caring, respect, dignity, a listening ear, appreciation, affirmation, gratitude and anything that lifts a person above their circumstance, eventually the negativity in their life will slowly begin to disappear.

Unfortunately you cannot stop negativity in this life. You and I CAN keep the faucet of positivity flowing so we do not allow the negativity to cripple us or those we are in relationship with.

This can be applied at work, at home, at church, with your friends, and with your family.

Recently on Facebook, there have been friends that have been challenged to share three things they are thankful for, I’m assuming in order to focus more on the positive side of life than the ever-so-prevalent negative side of life. This is a great way to begin to change the color of the water back to crystal clear fresh perspective!

The next time you have a friend or co-worker that is being overly negative, take some time and feed in some positive encouragement – not in a fake way. Instead of shying away from them, decide to be the positive flow in their life.  You may earn a deeper friendship in the process.

Take caution though! Beware that in your desire to take this on, you too can allow the negativity you are trying to overcome to overtake you. This is counter-productive.  Look for your own source where you can refresh yourself, gain a more positive perspective in your life and flush out the negativity that can cloud your thinking, your decisions and your relationships.

Try an experiment at home with a cup of clear water, any color of food-coloring, and a faucet of clear water. Start with the clear cup and drop as many droplets as you can into and allow the food-coloring to overtake the water completely changing its color. Then begin to slowly turn on the faucet and watch the color change back to clear.

Let the experiment be a reminder of how we need to keep refreshing our minds, have an outlet and develop our relationships where negativity can be flushed on a constant basis.

Take 10 minutes and watch this video by Alison Ledgerwood (Social Psychologist) called, Getting Stuck in the Negatives (and How to Get Unstuck).

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please post a comment below. If you like the article, share it with your friends.


GRATITUDE: More than just a “Thank You”

GRATITUDE: More than just a “Thank You”.


GRATITUDE: More than just a “Thank You”

Today is a gift. This moment is a gift.

Those who are in your life are a gift. You are a gift to those around you.

My best friend once told me about his father. His father had a heart for giving to others. He also let me know that the only thing his father asked for in return was a thank you.

Have you ever given a gift to someone and instead of receiving a grateful response, you received silence?

Gratitude is more than just a “Thank you.” It was not necessarily the “Thank you” my friend’s father was looking for. It is not the silence that incenses you after you have given a gift. It is the lack of gratitude. It is the act of someone taking for granted the gift that was given, or the person who gave it.

In relationships, there is an aspect of humility that says we are to give without expecting anything in return. This would be the best response of the giver. Yet, it still hurts when the one who gives does not receive a grateful response.

All of us play the role of the recipient. Whether it is a gift at a birthday party, a job, food, a place to sleep, the air we breathe, a moment that changes us, a relationship that encourages us, etc. – we are ALL recipients.

What is our attitude when it comes to receiving? When we take a breath, we expect that we will receive the air necessary to keep us alive. But what happens when those breaths are hard to come by?

When we turn on our faucets, we expect that water will flow from the faucet so we can drink and be refreshed. But what happens when the water doesn’t flow? It has been said that only once you have carried your own water will you learn the value of every drop – meaning carry it from the well to your house.

Another expression is, “One does not understand the value of something until it is gone.”

When time passes and we live in gratitude, each moment is a gift. The question is, how do you wish to spend it? Would you rather spend it as if you deserved it? Or spend it as if it was a gift to be treasured?

How about the people in our lives? Each person is a gift (yes, even the ones that require more effort to love). Are we expressing our gratitude for the people in our lives?

I challenge you today and this day forward to be intentional about every moment, and every person. As you go through your day, write down at least once a day for thirty days something you are grateful for. Make it different each day. Put some thought into it. Write what makes you grateful and why it makes you grateful.

After thirty days of gratitude, I guarantee you will look at your life, what is in your life, the people in your life and your time much differently.

It is so easy to get caught up in what we do and how we do it. It is so easy to begin to think we deserve what we have as opposed to being grateful for what we have. It is so easy to take for granted the simple pleasures and the beauty that surrounds us. It is so easy to stop noticing the value of what is right in front of us, especially in our relationships.

What is gratitude?

It is a perspective. It is a viewpoint.

When you are walking the streets of New York City, you see the streets, the concrete, the people, the cars, and the busyness of life. It can be easy to think only on the problems that surround you, the difficulties you are facing, and the mundane nature of each moment.

However, when you go to the top of the Empire State Building and look in any direction – your perspective changes. Sure your problems, difficulties and the insanity of the mundane are still present, but your perspective above it all changes.

You realize you are part of something much bigger. Your life DOES matter. The people in your life DO mean something. Each moment IS a treasure.

There is a video that does the best job of explaining gratitude, with visually stunning time lapse photography. Be encouraged today. You can watch it here.

Take some time and show gratitude for what you have. Show gratitude to the people that are in your life. Be grateful for the air you breathe. Take a deep breath and exhale slowly. As you do, slow down your thinking and find something to be thankful for.

If you are reading this and thinking, “This guy is nuts! He obviously doesn’t know what I am going through! I don’t have a reason to be grateful with all of the problems I am facing!”

This post is for you. You especially should “CLICK HERE” to take 9 minutes and 55 seconds of your life and shut out the issues you are currently facing to be reminded of what you can be grateful for.

Once we change our perspective to one of gratefulness, we can then focus on our relationships with others and how we can exemplify gratitude to others.

It is another aspect of the “Lost Art of Relationship” that can be reignited in us and through us. What would it look like if those around you appreciated what they have? Were grateful for YOU even?

Exemplify gratitude to others, and watch the attitudes of those around you begin to adapt to yours.

Thanks for reading… I appreciate the time you take to read my thoughts, watch the videos and share them with others. I’m just one man on a journey to find “The Lost Art of Relationship” and put it into practice.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this! Please comment below. Share this on Facebook, Twitter, or even email it to someone you feel may need to hear this message. I’m grateful.


TIME……………………………….

“Time is money.”

Have you ever had someone use this phrase on you?

This is one catchphrase this author takes issue with. I’ll explain just a few paragraphs down.

Steve Jobs once said, “My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.

Time is the one thing we can never guarantee for ourselves. No one knows exactly when we will pass from this life. I’m not trying to sound macabre. It is just a reality that we ALL need to come to grips with.

Why?

How we choose to spend our time reflects what we value.

Now, I understand that all of us need to work in order to provide for our homes, families, and lifestyle. There are always going to be demands on our time when it comes to work. Let’s just admit from the beginning that a certain amount of time MUST be allotted for provisional reasons.

Let’s get back to the “Time is money” statement. I take issue with this catchphrase because our lives are not measured by how much money we make, spend, or need.

When we were born, our lives were shaped by the relationships around us. As we grew, our relationships determined our view of the world. When we went to school, we discovered there were others in the world we could be in relationship with.

When we became teenagers, we started to place ourselves into groups or clicks where we felt most comfortable or at the very least we were accepted.

When we became adults, we desired to set our own course and determine whom we would spend our time with, agree with, and align our beliefs with – all through relationship.

We learn throughout our lives, there are people who we would rather NOT spend time with, and there are others where we wish we had spent more time.

We can be thrust into situations where we are forced to spend time with people we would not normally choose to hang around (for most of us, this is called the workplace). However, if you decide to take that time to get to know someone personally, you might be surprised at what similarities you have, or the value added to your life from this time spent.

What is your time worth? Is it worth a specific amount of money? Or would you rather have your life measured by the relationships that surround you? 

When someone is dying, it is very common for their thoughts to be directed to the people in their lives who have meant something to them, or to the few they wish they had more time to get to know, or regrets of not saying “I love you” more often.

Even as I write this, I am thinking about those in my life I should call today or tomorrow and spend time talking with them, encouraging them, and praying for them.

What is time in reference to relationships? Time is the means that allows us to develop relationships – whether in our families, in our workplaces, businesses, clubs, groups, friends, church and anywhere there are people involved.

If you do not take Time to develop relationships, then the question is, do you value people?

The best of friends can be found, but only over time can the friendship be tested, grow and develop into a lifelong bond. The best of marriages can be cultivated, but only in the context of quality time.

This brings up another aspect of time that is critical in meaningful relationships – Quality Time.

What does this look like? It can be different for most people. Over time you and I will discover what quality time looks like for us, and for others. When we discover our own definition for quality time, it could be a mistake to transfer that definition to someone else in our lives. It is very important to communicate what quality time means to those in your life.

We should be tuned in to the relationships around us to see how quality time is defined for them. This will only enhance our relationships.

Time is relentless. It stops for no one. Why not put time to work for us? It is a precious resource, of which we have no knowledge or guarantee of the amount of time we have. Using it wisely then becomes that much more consequential.

May I suggest that we all become more intentional about our time – not just for provisional purposes, but also for a relational purpose? Increase your relational capacity by deciding to take time to develop meaningful relationships with others, starting with your family or friends closest to you.

Then branch out into the world of people. Seek relationship. Do not be afraid of rejection. Spend time investing your life into the lives of others.

 

What are your thoughts on Time in regard to relationship? Use the comment area below and share them…