Tag Archives: gratitude

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 .

 


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.