Tag Archives: connection

Jealousy

My dogs crave attention. We have three – a Basset Hound, Mini-Dachshund and a Chi Hua Hua mix (with what, we haven’t figured out yet).

I can call one of them and all of them will come. I can also start to pet one of them and the others will jump up and come over to get the attention.

This will not be a post teaching about dog behavior, but there is some value in trying to understand this concept through their example.

Dogs are pack animals. There is an alpha, and all the other dogs will vie for the attention of that alpha – if even to be considered higher in the order. In the house, they would consider me the alpha. If one of them is getting something from me, the others become jealous and come over to receive it to.

The Chi Hua Hua mix is the worst offender – but also one of the most loving creatures. She will literally push herself into the mix and place her head under my hand in order to get the affection over the other dogs.

A smile and a chuckle is the only response I can give as I equally spread the love to all three.

What is it that causes this response in dogs?

What is it that causes a similar response in people?

When someone receives an award…

When someone goes on a vacation to a place we have always desired to go…

When someone gets a promotion at work…

When one of our closest relatives makes more money…

When someone gets the job we wanted…

When someone buys a 60-inch television and all of a sudden our 55-inch is not good enough…

When someone has the affections of a person we desire to be with…want

Most of us have said the words, “I’m jealous of…” at some point in our lives. We become jealous because we observe someone who has an object, job, relationship, etc. we would like to have, obtain, purchase, love, own, enjoy, etc.

Jealousy can be very ugly. One of the main issues with jealousy is – it focuses on what we DO NOT have and on what we perceive someone else DOES have.

Jealousy usually rears its ugly head in a romantic relationship. A man or a woman can become jealous of the object of their affection’s time, or of any other person who has their attention.

Jealousy becomes the response and ultimately breaks down trust between the two. Jealousy will have the adverse affect – in that the person with whom you have the relationship feels so restricted in their other friendships all they desire to do is break free.

What causes jealousy? In a phrase – wanting what we believe someone else has.

Jealousy is entirely focused on ourselves. It can wreak havoc on your relationships.

It has difficulty, however, thriving when we become focused on the needs of others. Jealousy cannot survive when we are grateful of what we do have and celebrate when others have successes. It cannot destroy your relationships if you decide to be thankful for what you have.

Jealousy can present itself almost instantaneously when we start to believe we deserve something. It can tempt you to do things dishonest, to spend more than you have, to pass blame when the blame belongs to you, to put others down to lift yourself up, and also to enter into a self-deprecating perspective that becomes a vicious cycle of “woe is me”.

When our motive becomes “others” focused, and we begin to allow humility to permeate our thoughts and our actions, then our desire can be shifted to helping others.

What would it look like in this world if we were all more aware of the needs of others around us? What kind of society would we live in if the goal were to give rather than to receive?

Imagine what would happen in our own lives and attitude toward others when we share in the joys of another person’s achievements, showing honor, being dignified in our relationships, and trusting God will take care of our needs.

When Jealousy begins to creep into your thinking or your heart, recognize the self-induced emotion that wants something someone else has. Take that thought or feeling and transform it into an act of love and humility.

 

For more on the Lost Art of Relationship – read the archived articles at www.LostArtOfRelationship.com

I welcome your thoughts and comments!


Structural Integrity

…The ability of something to hold together under its own weight and whatever load is placed on it or in it. 

Each building is designed to hold its own weight of construction as well as whatever is placed inside of it. 

I’m sitting in my home right now and trusting that those who built the house followed the design of the architect, put enough screws and nails in place and built the house without “cutting corners”. If the house was not built to withstand its own weight, than a strong wind, or furniture that I put inside would weaken its connections and cause it to crumble – with me inside of it.

There is a challenge that was designed by Tom Wujec called the Marshmallow challenge. Teams of people are given 20 sticks of spaghetti, one yard of tape, one yard of string and one marshmallow. They have 18 minutes to build the tallest free-standing structure that will hold the weight of the marshmallow on top. The marshmallow cannot be eaten, divided up into different parts, but you can utilize all the other items to build the tallest structure that will hold the marshmallow. The TED Talk can be seen below…

Sound easy? This challenge has been given to executives, CEOs, teachers, college students, and even kindergartners. Which group do you think scored the best?

The ones who scored the highest were …

The Kindergartners!

Why is it that children understand that the structural integrity of the spaghetti/tape/string tower is best when the structural integrity of the team is sound? No one is trying to gain power. No one is trying to be the one who gets the credit. There is the task, the team and the goal to be the highest tower to win the prize.

There is something to this…

Have you ever thought of the blueprints to meaningful relationships would help build a strong team in order to reach a goal – together – without one person rising to the top as the “winner”?

Relationships are only as strong as the structure the relationship is built upon. So often the leader of a group gets the “glory” or the “credit” for the completed goal, or the ongoing success.

Don’t get me wrong It takes creative, inspirational leadership to keep a team moving in the right direction, but that is only one part of the structure. The entire structure needs to be built in such a way that the team can withstand its own weight (all of the personalities on the team), a strong wind (pressures from outside influences, unforeseen setbacks to the goal, people leaving the team, new people coming on) and the furniture that we put inside (the systems and processes we put in place to set the scene when we work together).

When relationships are strong, mutual respect is shown, each person working in their strengths and complementing the weaknesses of others, there is a harmony that happens. That harmony creates the environment by which people can work toward a common goal and not worry about who rises to the top or who takes the lead. It is an environment where people understand that the integrity of the team is necessary and protected.

Are there perfect relationships? Absolutely… NOT! However, there are relationships that can withstand the test of time, adversity and emotion.

Why?

The principle of Structural integrity – the ability to hold together under its own weight and whatever load is placed on it.

Trust, Vulnerability, Love, Hope, Support, Respect, Honesty, Forgiveness, Gratitude, Good Communication, Connection, Purpose, Authenticity, and a host of others are the building blocks to a relationship that can last a lifetime.

This kind of relationship was designed by the Great Architect – God Himself. His purpose in creating us was to be in relationship with us and us with each other. If you desire a strong, structurally sound relationship with anyone, it will need to be built with these characteristics so they can hold together and withstand whatever load is placed on it (whether externally or emotionally).

To learn more about the Lost Art of Relationship, keep on reading at www.LostArtOfRelationship.com .

 


8 LEVELS Of Relationship – Part II

First you see or hear of someone. Then you meet them. Then you become an acquaintance. Then you do the hard work (or sometimes easy depending on who it is) of getting to know them.

What comes next?

Know What They Are About

When you enter this level, you have not left the level of Getting to Know Someone. Actually, the last four levels are only higher stages within that level.

You never really stop getting to know an individual. Why? Because, as your relationship grows you both change. It is inevitable that you and the other person are going to adapt to certain situations.

Also, people usually do not lay all their “personal cards” on the table. There is some area or areas they continue to hold close to them. We will get back to this.

While you are in this stage, if you are attentive to it, you will begin to understand what makes this person you are in relationship with tick. What gets them up in the morning? What do they enjoy? What frustrates them? What kind of hobbies do they have? What are some of their pitfalls?

What do they define as success in their life? What kind of friend do they need? What are the goals they have set for themselves? And the list can go on…

The key word here is “WHAT”.

It is all part of understanding the person you are adopting as friend. You will find similarities you have – whether it is in opinion, history, philosophy, faith, etc.

You will also discover traits or characteristics you are not in agreement with. When you do discover this, you need to make a decision as to whether you will simply accept this negative trait or influence this friend and help them overcome it.

CAUTION: Your friend must know this negative trait and they must desire to work on it or change it. Otherwise, it may cause a rift in the developing relationship.

Know WHO Someone Is

This level is one step above knowing what someone is about. At this level you start (and continue to learn) to get an understanding about why this person does life they way they do it.

Why do they respond in certain ways to specific events or circumstances? Why is it they may react positively or negatively to the same situation someone else may normally react opposite?

What is their thought process?

At this stage it may be common for you both to finish each other’s sentences. It may also be common for you to be able to speak on behalf of that friend, because you know how they may respond.

CAUTION: Just do so with great care. A mistake here could set back your relationship or even stall it.

This level is where you have the realization they are what and who they say they are. There is a revelation into the nature of your friendship and the feeling that as long as we maintain healthy communication and boundaries, we could be friends for a very long time.

Someone you can call FRIEND

This is simple. If you have made it to the Knowing WHO Someone Is level, more than likely you have already started calling them “Friend”.

A friend is someone who accepts you just as you are, but is not afraid to call you on your issues. There is a trust that has grown to the point where you can share personal, confidential information and believe it will stop there.

You can also rest assured they will not judge you for your actions, but share their opinion in love to give you a healthy, balanced view of you.

We throw this term around WAY too often. It is a term that should only be used when it is understood mutually that this is the nature of the relationship.

When you vouch for your friend, you believe they will represent your opinion of them well and represent themselves in an honorable way. Besides, your own reputation is on the line when you call them friend.

A friend at this level will sense when something is amiss in your life. When you are down, they know it. When you are happy, they celebrate with you. When you are sad, they listen and allow you to cry – but not for long. When you are in need of a push, they provide motivation.

Then, at some point – and no one can really say for sure when this happens in any relationship – you move on to the highest level of relationship…

Someone You Can Call Family

At this level, the boundaries are all but removed. Sure, you still respect the relational boundaries, but truth, honesty, opinions, issues; NOTHING is off the table for discussion here.

You know that even if you yell, get into a disagreement, or even become separated by circumstance or miles, if they needed you, you would be there for them. This doesn’t mean you will fly 2000 miles, but it means you are there for them emotionally.

If it is possible to be there in person, then you do it. However, miles should NEVER be an excuse not to pick up a phone, talk about your feelings no matter how irrational.

There are some people in our lives that describe family as only those who are blood related, or married into. I would like to blow that definition right out of the water. Sure, being blood related or related by marriage technically makes you family. It does not mean you have developed the relationship through all 8 of these levels.

For example, I found out last summer that I have a cousin whom I have NEVER met. I just heard about her and saw her on Facebook.

I cannot expect her or her expect of me that we are at the highest level of relationship simply because we have a common bloodline. It will take time and a mutual desire to walk through the levels of relationship.

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts about these 8 levels of relationship. Offer your opinions about the levels, share with us. Or email me at TheSophosGroup@gmail.com. Thanks for reading!


Please Forgive Me?

Ever hear that expression, “I forgive you, but I will not forget!”

IMG_6986

There are still others, that say if you don’t forget then you have never really forgiven.

There are problems with both of these statements.

The first statement I would doubt forgiveness was really given. It sounds like a veiled threat. The second statement is impossible. You can never really forget what someone has done to hurt you.

Forgiveness…

The only One that can truly forgive and forget is God Himself.

Let’s unpack the act of forgiveness.

We have ALL been hurt or offended by someone, whether it is something they said or did directly to us, or if it was indirect (gossip, throwing us under the bus, etc). Frankly, it feels horrible.

Not one person I have met likes to be hurt or offended. However, I will say there are those who may are quick to be offended (these are the ones we would likely say have “thin skin”). I know, because I used to be one of them.

There was someone in my life that came alongside me as a mentor who taught me how to have thicker skin – who taught me about forgiveness.

He taught me there are two responses to being hurt and/or offended. We can either allow bitterness to set in because we choose not to forgive them, or we can release the person from the offense or hurt by forgiving them.

When we hold a grudge (bitterness) the only person who is really being negatively affected is ourselves. We continually remind ourselves of what caused the offense and open the wound that was inflicted over and over again never allowing it to heal.

I have seen bitterness literally begin to affect someone physically causing sickness, headaches, and poor health.

Bitterness is a terrible thing. It is like a festering wound that never heals. Bitterness causes someone trouble and begins to stain the relationships with those they are close to.

With bitterness, it blocks us from truly loving others. It is a scab that when picked it begins to remove the healthy skin around the wound.

Distrust is one of the major results of bitterness. Insecurity is another. It can strangle out the healthy aspects of any relationship.

Have I gotten your attention yet?

Living with Unforgiveness in our hearts toward others will slowly dismantle any healthy relationship piece by piece. I have witnessed it destroy marriages, destroy family relationships, destroy friendships, and slowly eat away at the health of two of my family members.

Bitter people – those who have never let go of a past offense or hurt – have built up walls in their hearts toward others. Whether they were hurt by…

A family member

A church

A pastor

A friend

By someone of another ethnicity

By a co-worker or employer

By someone in leadership

When offenses are not dealt with in a healthy manner – walls are built.

Bitterness can stain our relationships. We begin to see others through the lens of the grudge, distrust grows into a stalwart tree and blocks us from experiencing the warmth of other relationships.

Bitterness is the root that grows to become that stalwart tree that cannot be moved. The only way to get rid of bitterness is to UPROOT it. It needs to be completely removed.

How do we do this?

One word – Forgive.

But, you don’t know what they DID to me! You don’t understand the level of the hurt, or the result of the offense!

You are right. I can only tell you in my own life what Forgiving someone has done. It has freed me to love again. It opens up the door to reconciliation on my part. It shows another the strength of your character, the depth of your love, and the power of mercy.

Forgiveness is a powerful tool. In any relationship, you will need to utilize this tool especially if you desire to keep these relationships.

It is difficult to understand the magnitude of the power of forgiveness if you do not realize the need for it and how it can help you develop deep meaningful relationships.

When you forgive – or ask for forgiveness – the weight of the offense and the responsibility is now off your shoulders. It frees you to trust others again, understanding that people are imperfect and so are you.

It is a great feeling when a debt you owe has been canceled. Debt can feel like a weight around your neck.

It is the same way with unforgiveness. It is a weight you carry with you.

There is no better way to describe this than to interject in the conversation a topic that I know many may shy away from. It is that of Jesus Christ.

My faith has been the best example to me of what it means to forgive. In my mind it is easy to harbor bitterness. Then I am reminded of how much I have been forgiven of. I have lied, taken jealousy to places it should not have gone, and I have failed others in relationship.

Worst yet, I have failed to follow the greatest instruction ever given – To Love God and Love others as I love myself. Breaking these commands has placed me in the category of someone in need of forgiveness by God. And Jesus bridged that gap in relationship, forgave me and has shown me that it IS possible to live in relationship with others, to have deep meaningful friendships, and to love others as I love myself.

You too can experience this kind of relationship. If you would like to know more about how, please message me at Daniel_Chrystal@yahoo.com.

The bottom line is that forgiveness can uproot bitterness and open the door to deeper relationships with others.

Forgiveness is a LOST ART, but one that can provide wonderful results when exercised.

Thank you so much for continuing to read week after week. I would love to hear your thoughts. You can email me or respond to this post by Commenting below.


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”

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…


SHOW ME SOME RESPECT!

My mother would occasionally shout this command at my brother and I when we were younger.

Respect is expected in most arenas of life.

Jackie Robinson once said, “I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me…All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.”

Respect does not automatically require agreement nor does it require a commitment on our part to another person.

Respect is defined on different levels. You can have respect for someone’s ideals or beliefs; respect for someone’s property; and respect for someone’s person (their life, body, etc.). You can also respect someone’s opinion (without having to agree).

Other areas where respect can be practiced are…

…When you hear or see an ambulance coming from any direction, your response is to respect their need for space by moving out of their way. Someone’s life may depend on it.

…When you see the police car behind you turn on their lights and siren signaling to you to pull over, hopefully you respect their authority and do as they ask.

…When you attended or while you attend school, you show respect for the teacher’s knowledge even if you do not agree with them.

…When you visit someone else’s home, you show respect for their possessions and are extra careful in order to take care not to break anything. You also respect their time and try not to stay past your welcome.

Respecting Nature is another area. It is not difficult to respect the power of a storm, but it takes discipline to respect nature on a consistent basis by doing our part to protect it.

Regarding Respect in Relationships

It was taught to me from the time of childhood – and I still try to teach my daughters this lesson – to respect your elders and those in authority.

When I lived in inner city New Jersey, while spending my time mentoring some youth trying to leave the gang life, we had an ongoing discussion on respect. The common phrase I would hear was, “You expect me to show respect to others before they show respect to me? I’ll get beat up if I don’t demand respect from others.”

Unfortunately, this is not uncommon among people in any area. There is a prevalent, unspoken philosophy in society that secretly says, “I’ll respect you if you respect me.” The only trouble with this when it involves relationships is respect depends on how an individual defines it for them.

With over 311 Million people in the United States alone, that is potentially 311 Million different definitions of respect. How is anyone even going to keep up with respecting others if each person they meet will have their own definition of how they desire to be respected?

First, let me say that it is okay to have a unique idea of what respect means to you as an individual. However, let me also add that there are several universal rules when it comes to respect between individuals in relationships.

  1. Respect Time: There are only 24 hours in a day. I know this is not new news for you, but we all have obligations and TO DO lists. When you are in relationship with someone, respect his or her time. Be aware of their time constraints.
  2. Respect Opinions: Everyone has an opinion. Remember that respect does not equate to agreement. Agreeing to disagree can be the utmost in respect for another individual – along with not continually trying to convince them of your point of view.
  1. Respect Property: When you are in possession of someone’s property, treat it as if you are personally invested in it.
  1. Respect Space: Not everyone desires to allow people into their personal space. If you are in business with an individual like this, only call them during office hours. If someone spends time with their family in the evenings or weekends, do your best not to take them away from that family space.
  1. Respect because that’s what YOU expect: the golden rule says that we should treat others how we expect to be treated. If we want respect, we should show respect. We should show respect without expecting the same in return.

Ultimately respect is about YOU and I as individuals. The rule we should consider following is this…

Show respect for others, even with no guarantee it will be reciprocated. We will attract respect when we show respect. 

For those who do not show respect in return – try to discover what it is in their life that could be holding them back from doing so. They may need an extra measure of respect, because of difficulties in their life, family or job.

This can be a difficult task.

You may be thinking, “Does he expect me to get rolled over and just take it?”

The answer to this would be, “absolutely not.” You can stand up for yourself and still show respect. You can rise above the level of disrespect someone shows you and present yourself with dignity.

Simon Sinek was quoted as saying, “If you want to be a great leader, remember to treat all people with respect at all times. For one, because you never know when you’ll need their help. And two, because it’s a sign you respect people, which all great leaders do.”

What are your thoughts on respect? Use the comment area below and share them…


Do You Trust Me?

Your answer to this question may be in the form of another question…

“To do what?”

You would do well not to answer the question, “Do you trust me?” without understanding the focus of the question.

Trust is often misunderstood, and by relatively intelligent individuals. Onora O’Neill (philosopher) postures that saying we need more trust is a “stupid aim” and that we should not be focused on building more trust, but trusting those who are trustworthy, more and those who are untrustworthy, less. **

Would we even need to ask the question “Do you trust me?” if we simply proved we were trustworthy by our actions and our words?

One of the building blocks of a relationship is Trust. So often we expect others to trust us without proving we are trustworthy first. We expect others to give us their trust simply because we ask for it.

However, Trust is the result of trustworthiness.** How can you prove trustworthiness?

O’Neill believes trustworthiness will have three components present: competency, reliability, and honesty.**

I used to tell my daughters while they were growing up (still do actually) that lying is wrong because it has the power to destroy a relationship very quickly. Lying and being caught in a lie is like napalm – it can flare up and burn out a relationship charring it beyond repair. Honesty is a key part of trustworthiness.

Competency literally means you have shown skill and ability in a particular area. I trust my ophthalmologist to treat issues and illnesses of my eyes, but I would not trust him or her with treating the issues I have with my knees.

Reliability means you are dependable, devoted, faithful, truthful and loyal. There are those in your life that are competent at a certain skill, are honest in their words, but you may not trust them to keep an appointment because they are forgetful and therefore not reliable.

Trust is tricky. We try to generalize it, however, in reality it is complex and multi-faceted. There are different levels of trust. You wouldn’t trust a ten-year old to drive your car. You wouldn’t trust someone you just met to house-sit, unless you did a background check and had them sign a form stating they are 100% responsible for all of your belongings while you are away (of course, that’s not trust at all, is it?).  

You wouldn’t trust your dog alone with your fried chicken dinner. You certainly wouldn’t trust your mechanic to fly a jetliner on your trip to another country.

When you give trust to someone in some particular area of expertise, it is usually because they have proven they are willing and able to fulfill a certain task, assignment or a need.

This speaks to competence.

Why would you go get a second opinion from another doctor? Why would you get a second opinion on your car for a particular repair? Why would you talk to another friend regarding a situation you are facing after you just asked advice from the first one?

This is a test of honesty.

When you give a time and a place for someone to meet you, and they don’t show up, you are more likely going to have difficulty trusting that same person when you give them another place and time to meet.

This refers to reliability.

When trying to build a relationship with someone – whether it is a work relationship, friendship, romantic relationship or a family relationship – in order to develop trust between you and someone else, you need to prove you are trustworthy before you can be trusted. You would not expect anything less from someone else in order to for you to trust him or her.

Perhaps trust is so difficult to give and trustworthiness difficult to determine because there are many counterfeits vying for our attention, our money, our time and talents. To what end are the objects of our trust trying to obtain? Does the person or group we are placing our trust have our best interests at heart? For that matter, do we have the best interests of others in the forefront of our minds?

There are tens of thousands of attorneys in this country. There are lawsuits literally filling up dockets all across the nation. Why are we such a litigious society? Could it be that we have given up on proving trustworthiness because it is so difficult to prove?

I used to give trust more readily than I do now. Skepticism is the result of broken trust throughout the years. I look more toward a person’s trustworthiness before I give trust. Unfortunately, it is possible to sway more toward the skeptical side of thinking when you get burned too many times.

When building relationships with others – I am now trying to focus more on proving my own trustworthiness before expecting others to trust me. It doesn’t mean I automatically trust others. In the process of proving my own trustworthiness, I am surprised at how someone’s true colors become known and show whether they are trustworthy as well.

Trust depends on the other person giving it to you. Trustworthiness doesn’t depend on others; it depends on you and I. What would it look like if we lived in such a way with each other where we proved our own mettle before expecting to be given their trust? Would we even need so many levels of accountability (which are in place because of those who have proven untrustworthy)?

Also, when we take the perspective that we need to prove our trustworthiness before trust can be exchanged, we may even be accepted sooner than later. Just remember, proving trustworthiness takes time.

It is an extremely valuable part of relationships.

Just one final thought: referring back to the most recent posts on vulnerability – O’Neill also points out that if you show a level of vulnerability, it has a positive effect on your ability to prove trustworthy**.

Reference:

**Onora O’Neill. (2013). What we don’t understand about trust. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PNX6M_dVsk


Vulnerability – Part Two

“You’re the captain of this ship. You have no right to be vulnerable.” Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock on the TV Series Star Trek (1966-1969).

Being vulnerable means admitting we have fear and shame. Admitting we have fear and shame make us feel vulnerable.  The cycle drives us to pretend, to put up a facade and to act like something we are not. 

According to Brene Brown (researcher and storyteller), there are several reactions we have to the fear and shame of vulnerability…**

We make the uncertain, certain”: rigid ritual (instead of relationship), which says, “I’m right, you’re wrong, shut up, that’s it.”

We blame others for why we feel the way we feel.” When we blame others, it is a way to discharge our own shame, vulnerability and discomfort. If we highlight the fault in others, we believe it will take the focus off of our own faults.

We perfect. We try to look perfect, act perfect, and teach perfect.” But what we NEED to do is understand we are IMPERFECT, and teach others and ourselves that even though we are imperfect, we are worthy of love and belonging because we are human.

We pretend that what we do does not have an affect or impact on people.” We do this in our jobs, our families and our friendships. Sometimes all we need to do is be vulnerable and say we are sorry – to help build connection with others. Every action has an affect on someone else. 

The fear of vulnerability separates us in relationship from others. Embracing vulnerability strengthens our relationship with others, when done in a trusting setting. In order to create a trusting setting, each person needs to prove they are “trustworthy.”

According to Brown,** with my thoughts added to her instructions from her research, there are ways we can build connection with others. This will deepen your relationship with those you choose to build it with.

 “Let yourself be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen.”

This requires confession. You cannot hide who you really are if you desire a deep meaningful connection with someone else. Confessing to each other requires vulnerability. Vulnerability may even eradicate hypocrisy. Wouldn’t that be something!

Vulnerability is necessary when building relationships others. Everyone has issues. When you let someone see you, vulnerably, you become more accessible emotionally.

Love with our whole hearts, even if there is NO guarantee. This is hard, even excruciatingly difficult.”

Loving another person requires that we come to a place of loving ourselves, forgiving ourselves, caring for ourselves, and understanding we are worthy of love and belonging.

Practice gratitude and lean on joy.

Gratitude is another lost art. The human condition has turned inward and we expect gratitude without freely giving it to others. It’s the thank you provided for a small random act of kindness. It is the tip you give because you see your waiter or waitress has gone out of their way to help you.

When you practice gratitude, you actually begin to feel more joyful. The constant intentional focus on gratitude will eventually guide your thoughts away from the negative and allow you to be more vulnerable.

How? If you are grateful for what you have, you become content in whatever state you find yourself in, because it could always be worse.

Understand that we are enough.”

It is a dangerous place to find yourself when you are constantly thinking you don’t have what it takes to make a difference.

Who you are NOW, what you have learned up to NOW, has given you everything you need to make a difference, NOW. It doesn’t mean you stop learning and growing. It does mean you don’t have to wait to build meaningful relationships with others.

 

Embrace vulnerability.

Let your actions be a catalyst for LIFE CHANGE in someone else’s life.

What we do DOES have an impact on those around us.  If we hide our vulnerability, we will only develop surface relationships. If we embrace our vulnerability, we might be surprised at the strength we feel in relationship with others who are trustworthy and develop much more meaningful friendships.  

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.  How has embracing vulnerability been a strength for you?  Have you experienced a negative experience when you were vulnerable with someone you could NOT trust?  

Leave a comment, and let’s start a discussion.  

 

References

**YouTube. (2010, June). Brene Brown: The Power of Vulnerability [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability#t-19066