Tag Archives: honest

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.


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