Tag Archives: friends

Watch Their Eyes

It’s so easy to walk into a room, to ask someone how they are doing, and hear the quick “Fine” response and then move on.

There are secretly so many people who are emotionally hurt, silently in pain, and relationally struggling. OR, They may have just experienced a difficult conversation, trying situation, and/or confrontation that has taken their internal focus.

When I was raised, I was taught early on that when someone speaks to you, look them straight in the eyes. Some cultures see this as an insult. However, in the States we have become proficient at looking down: looking down at our phones, looking down at our computer, looking down and avoiding eye contact.

In a society that uses apps, email, text, and computers for social interaction, we are probably one of the most socially isolated societies. This is not a slam on social media. This is our issue. Social media is a great way to stay connected to people that we do not see very often or to see what good things are happening in people’s lives.

Here is the caution: remember, social media is usually the highlight reel in people’s lives. it has become even easier to hide what we are truly feeling inside. Let’s not spend too much time talking about what is wrong with us.

Here are a couple of encouragements and practical steps we can take to enrich our relationships and bring light or speak life into others’ lives. The great thing about these is you will feel even better when you do them and possibly surprised at the response.

  1. Stop and ask someone around you (co-worker, friend, family member) and ask them how they are doing.
  2. Look them straight in the eye and focus intently on their response.
  3. When they answer, watch their eyes and their facial expressions.
  4. If you sense any hesitation or emotion other than what they are saying in return, let them know you sense that things may not be okay.
  5. Don’t spook them out!
  6. If they respond and open up about how they are truly feeling, listen intently and offer encouragement.
  7. If they say they are fine, but you still sense there is hesitation, let them know you are thinking about them and praying for them,
  8. If they let you know things are going very well, ask them what the best thing happening for them is and celebrate with them!
  9. Be prepared to respond to them if they ask you the same questions.
  10. After you are done talking with them, jot down or take a note on your phone a reminder to pray for them.

These exchanges will become easier and easier the more you put them into practice and it will also become easier to spot in others what is known as their “countenance” and whether it is bright and light or tentative and down.

This is such a valuable skill to learn as you will begin to become more aware of others, attentive to their needs, and in the process, you will find your own fulfillment.

For more on relationships, you can get my book on relationships called The Lost Art of Relationship. You can get it in paperback, eBook and AUDIBLE!

www.LOSTARTBOOK.com


THE BEGINNING… (excerpt from the book, The Lost Art of Relationship)

Below is an excerpt from the book The Lost Art of Relationship: A Journey to find the lost commandment. Paperback, eBook, and AUDIBLE available at www.LOSTARTBOOK.com

The Beginning

I had my first “job” when I was twelve years old. I remember going to church one Sunday, and my father introduced me to a man named John Kafka. He held out his hand to shake mine, and as a twelve-year-old, I simply took his hand, but he shook mine with a death grip. He said to me, “Danny, it is nice to meet you. May I tell you something that will help you with your future?” I said, “Yes, sir.” He replied, “Whenever you shake someone’s hand, show confidence. You squeeze that person’s hand, so they know you are confident. A good, firm handshake says a lot about who you are to others.” I will never forget that first lesson he gave me.

My father had always taught me to show respect for others, not to lie, and to work hard. I still think my dad talked to John Kafka beforehand twelve. John Kafka was the president of Pollock Johnny’s, a polish sausage restaurant chain based in Baltimore, and he owned a house in a more expensive neighborhood. He was a wealthy man who had worked hard to get to where he was, yet he still wore clothes from the thrift store. He gave me a job at his house making twenty-eight dollars every Saturday to weed the rock garden behind his house and on the hill behind the in-ground pool. It was a tough job, but it strengthened my hands and arm muscles, so I didn’t have to work so hard to give a firm handshake. My dad dropped me off before he went to work and picked me up nine hours later.

I would not realize it until later, but John Kafka taught me so much about the importance of relationship. I learned that every relationship needs to be mutual; most of the time, we need to work hard at maintaining healthy relationships; and some of the most beneficial relationships can happen through tragic circumstances.

I will never forget the night. It was a Thursday night, and I had just finished taking a shower. My dad knocked on the bathroom door and asked if he could come in. I asked him to tell me through the door since I wasn’t decent. He said to me that John Kafka had just died that day. He was playing racquetball and fell dead in the middle of a game. I took the news pretty hard. I sank to the floor leaning on the door of the bathroom and cried.

Not only was he the first person to give me a job, but he was the first person (other than my father, who I consider my hero) to teach me valuable lessons about hard work, discipline, and the importance of relationship. I did not know it then, but the lessons on relationship would deepen in the coming year.

John’s wife, Marge Kafka, asked me to continue coming and helping around the outside of the house. I weeded the rock garden and all around their flower beds. It was a lot of territory to cover. I was now thirteen, making fifty dollars every Saturday.

An unexpected thing happened while I worked there for Marge. She invited me in to have lunch, and we spent two to three hours every Saturday just talking and keeping each other company. She had become very lonely with her kids out of the house and her husband gone. I always worried that I wasn’t getting the work completed, but she reassured me that her money was being well spent.

What I discovered later was that she desired relationship and companionship, conversation, and a feeling of belonging. She found it in a thirteen-year-old teenager. During a time when a teenager’s life typically becomes more about them than others, I was learning the importance of time well-spent with someone who needed connection. I’m convinced she saw me as her adopted grandson. She even let me swim in her pool on the hot Saturdays after I got done working until my dad came to pick me up. I only worked for Marge another eighteen months until I was old enough to get a job in a bookstore closer to home.

I learned many valuable lessons, such as the significance of putting others first, that matters, the importance of a firm handshake, the value of hard work, and the necessity of seeing value in others. These formed the basis of almost thirty years and counting of learning about relationships that continues today and will until my life is over. I am forever grateful to the Kafkas for teaching me so much.

To read more, go to www.LOSTARTBOOK.com


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!


SUPPORT __/\___/\__ and Relationships

I am still blown away at the strength of two people who feed off each other’s strengths and complement each other’s weaknesses. Healthy tension is GOOD for a relationship. It is NECESSARY to support the relationship! This video gives an analogy that I pray encourages you to “bridge” the gap of relationship with those in your life.


Christmas Relationships

What IS it about Christmas and gift giving that causes SO MUCH STRESS on the one giving and the one receiving?!?!

Here is what I mean…

The one giving the gift has the pressure of “getting it right” – making sure they give a gift that the other person either needs or really wants. BUT – is it the right color? The right kind? The right size?

And if it is not the right size, if I get it too big will they think I think they are fat? If I get it too small, will they think I am trying to tell them something?

If I spend too much, what will others think about their gift from me because I didn’t spend the same amount?

Or are you like so many others who say, “I’m just going to get them a gift card, because they are SO HARD to shop for!”

OR, “I really don’t have enough money, but I can make them something…I wonder if they will think I am cheap for not buying them something.”

The one receiving has the pressure of “responding the right way” to the gift given. Do I act surprised even though I know what they are giving? What do I do if I don’t like the gift, or the color?

What if it is the wrong size, how do I let them know? What if I give the wrong facial expression, they might think I don’t appreciate their gift?

What if I didn’t get them the same cost value gift as they are giving me? They may think I don’t think of them the same way!

Christmas can be the most deceptive time of the year when it comes to our relationships.

Should we put on an act? Or should we just be thankful someone thought of us at all?

Is it necessary to get a gift for someone I consider part of my life?

Lots of questions haunt this time of year because of our tradition of giving and receiving gifts. The sad part is, we have a tendency to place more emphasis on the gift and what it means about our relationships that we forget showing love and appreciation for someone should happen all through the year, not just on Christmas day.

We do not need to give physical gifts to show someone how much we are grateful they are in our lives.

Sometimes, just a warm hug and letting them know verbally how much and why we are thankful for their relationship with us can mean more than any physical item that is bought, given and received on ANY day of the year.

I am not a proponent of NOT giving gifts. Not one iota. I love seeing the expression on someone’s face when they truly to receive something they need or desire. Just look at this video of people receiving puppies for Christmas…

We truly put more pressure on ourselves than is necessary. We should never compare our friendships, family and any other meaningful relationship to the size or cost of a gift given and received.

What makes the relationship meaningful is the fact that even if NO gifts were ever given, you know you can rely on that person for support, love, caring, a listening ear, acceptance, respect, forgiveness, encouragement, appreciation, affirmation, and time well-spent.

Maybe this imbalance in gift giving and receiving is the reason why SO MANY people cannot accept that Jesus was a free gift to the world…

He was the gift that God know we needed. He wasn’t a gift that came wrapped in the best, shiniest wrapping paper with a perfect bow. He was the gift that came wrapped in strips of cloth lying over hay.

He wasn’t a gift that was accepted by many because he wasn’t what they were expecting or hoping for.

Still today, Jesus is a gift – His birth, life, sacrifice and coming back to life IS the most free gift anyone could ever receive. However, many of us don’t give the gift to others of how He has changed our lives and transformed our thinking.

This Christmas – go ahead and give your gifts, receive your gifts, and provide as many warm hugs as you can. Just remember, it is not the value of the physical gift you give someone that makes the relationship. It is the value you find in the relationship that makes the difference.

Show someone that you value them – even those you do not know – and recognize they are there, that they are valuable – not because of the gift you are giving them, but because they are one of God’s creative masterpieces.

Merry Christmas to you and may God fill the rest of this year with joy!

I am very curious to hear your thoughts on this topic. Thank you so much for continuing to read. You can email me or respond to this post by Commenting below.


I Love You, but I don’t Agree with You…

Is it possible to love someone and not agree with them on deep beliefs?

At face value, we would probably say “yes” immediately. However, when put into a position to live it out… we might have difficulty showing that love.

Take a minute and think about the relationships you have in your life.

Think about how many people surround you that hold the same basic fundamental beliefs as you.

Think about a family member that has taken a path or made a decision that you just cannot reconcile or agree with.

Think about a friend that announced to those closest to them and this announcement went against your core beliefs.

I will not offer any examples of what these items can be. I am sure you can fill in the blanks with many different ideas, paths, beliefs, life choices, etc.

Now… what was your response?

Did the announcement, discussion on beliefs, action, decision, or even argument cause you to make a choice about your relationship and how you would approach them going forward?

Did they keep you from loving them?

How did your attitude change due to any one of these issues? Did you find yourself talking, calling or responding to the family member or friend less because of the disagreement?

It is a difficult situation. It is so much easier to avoid someone you disagree with even though you love them, than it is to confront the situation, disagreement, belief, and come to a place where you agree to disagree.

The question is, do you really ever stop loving that person? Is it possible to love someone you disagree with on a fundamental level?

My answer is – it really depends on you. It is possible. It comes down to how you define “love” and how you decide to live your life in relationship with others.

LOVE is probably one of the most misunderstood, miscommunicated words in history. When you see someone overcome adversity and forgive others that have wronged them – you will begin to understand that LOVE is more than just a feeling.

Love is an action, a behavior, a daily decision to be committed to another human being no matter what the obstacle in that relationship. There are no criteria that have to be met in order for you to love someone.

“What? I don’t believe you! What about the difference between marriage and friendship? What about the difference between loving your child or loving your spouse?”

Let me explain.

At the beginning of any relationship – whether it is a friendship with a colleague, a neighbor, or whether it is the beginning of a marital relationship or raising a child – you have a choice to make. That choice is to dedicate your time, talents, and a part of your life to spend for the benefit of another.

The only difference in the relationships I just mentioned is how you manifest them. In a marital relationship, the level of intimacy shared will be completely (or should be) from a friend that you spend time with on occasion and share some of your life with. The love you show your children will be stronger in its manifestation especially when it comes to protection.

Each day, whether we realize it or not, we are making a decision to love. Does this mean we can decide not to love others?

That would be correct.

This may be an elementary description of love and some may even think that I am WAY off base. Even though this sounds simplified, its execution is much more difficult.

Bringing us back to the question at hand – Is it possible to love others even if we disagree with some fundamental belief they hold or with a decision they have made?

If you define love by your feelings, then any situation that brings a bad feeling your way will make you second guess your relationship with anyone.

If you define love by your level of commitment to someone, then when a difficult conversation needs to happen and you cannot find any middle ground, agreeing to disagree may be your only option. However, this should not stop you from loving them.

The closest we can get from truly understanding this concept of love as a commitment and being able to love even in disagreement is a parent to a child.

When you have a child, whether by birth or adoption, you raise that child, care for that child, and want the best for that child. When your child disobeys you, or makes a decision that puts them and maybe others in jeopardy – you don’t stop loving them.

You may be disappointed. It may even hurt you to see them make a decision you believe is detrimental to them or their future. But you don’t stop loving them.

You may have to have a confrontation or a difficult conversation. Because of this you may even drive that child farther from you emotionally.

A consistent decision and behavior that shows you love someone even in disagreement will win out in the long term. You may never see eye to eye on whatever it was that tried to come in between you, but loving someone (as a decision or an action – regardless of their response) will release you of any responsibility for their own reactions.

This takes an extraordinary amount of discipline. We would rather have people around us that don’t take as much work to love. You know what I am referring to. These are people who hold the same common core beliefs, have the same values, and may even look like us.

Having others around us that believe what we believe, think in similar ways, and in whom we have much in common is so much easier than developing a friendship or relationship with a friend or family member, that believes in order for you to love them – you need to agree with everything they believe in.

Love is sometimes described as a “two-way street”.

Although I believe a relationship is so much more meaningful when the Love you show others is reciprocated, it is not necessary when it comes to Loving another human being by our actions.

“Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”

Put these principles to work in your love toward others. It is a daily continual decision that in the end will benefit you inwardly. What you will find is that you will develop meaningful relationships with many people… and not just those that you are most comfortable being around.

Please forgive me for not posting the last several weeks. Thank you for reading! Please post a comment and share!


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…