Tag Archives: love

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 .

 


HOPE and Relationships

Do you have any relationships that have been damaged?

My bet is your answer is YES.

How it became damaged probably happened one of three ways…

  1. You were the cause of it because of something you said, did or are doing currently
  2. Your friend, family member, or co-worker was the cause of it because of something they said, did, or are currently doing
  3. An unfortunate misunderstanding occurred and neither of you have tried to reconcile yet

Damaged relationships cause hurt. We can respond to the hurt in a couple of ways…

  1. We can become resentful and pass the blame on to the other person (whether we were the cause of it or not). Not recommended.
  2. We can allow the hurt to negatively affect our other relationships. This is when we focus so much on the pain of what happened our other relationships suffer. Not recommended.
  3. We can try to see our responsibility in the hurt and do our best to reconcile the relationship. Recommended.
  4. We can understand that sometimes the other person needs to go through their own trial, that we were not the root cause of the hurt but possibly the unfortunate target. In this response, we determine to allow time to pass and pray the other person comes around. Recommended along with #3.

There is one response that will help us stay on the path to reconciliation.

Prayer and HOPE.

Prayer is simply put… communication with God. Talk to Him. Let Him know what is going on in Your relationships. I guarantee you, He knows and can handle whatever issue you may have. Ask Him for the wisdom in how to deal with the hurt of a relationship and to help mend whatever damage was done, no matter who was the cause.

Hope is very powerful.

Someone could be swimming in a sea of despair, floating in the dark night of the soul – and then a word of Hope and encouragement comes. That hope can be a lifeline they or you can hold on to.

Hope gives life to a relationship. The hurt is still there, but Hope helps people to say, “I’m not giving up on this friend, family member, or co-worker.”

Here are a few verses and descriptions to encourage you and bring you HOPE for and in your relationships.

Psalm 147:3

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

This scripture is specifically addressing the hurt that comes from relationship. You CAN be healed emotionally and psychologically. You WILL get through this.

Proverbs 10:12

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.

Allowing hatred or harboring a grudge is like a cancer. Not only does it kill the cells in infects, but it causes damage to the surrounding cells. In other words, hatred, bitterness and resentment will only drive you further into despair and it will infect all of your other relationships in a negative way.

Ephesians 4:32

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

No matter what someone has done or said to you or what you have done or said to someone else, forgiveness releases you from the continued hurt that can affect you and others around you.

2 Corinthians 5:18-19

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

If God can forgive us, and we have much in our lives and hearts to be forgiven for – then we can in turn share that forgiveness of wrongs done against us. Also, this should compel us to seek forgiveness and reconciliation when we have done someone wrong.

When going through a hurtful situation in a relationship, it can feel as if it will never be made right again.

Trust can be broken.

Words can leave emotional scars.

Thoughts can take you captive to the hurt.

However, there is HOPE!

Love for someone can cover over a multitude of wrongs.

Forgiveness can heal wounds left by words.

Trust can be rebuilt.

Thoughts can be forced into submission.

Resolve to reconcile can strengthen a relationship even through the difficulty.

We all have a responsibility in our relationships, even if we are not the one causing the relational damage. It is up to us to show love, model healthy conflict, and to do our part to make things right.

You will not be able to control the response of the other person. You CAN control your response – whether you are the hurt-er or the hurt-ee.

Sometimes you have to allow the other person to separate themselves for a time. They may need to go through a process before they can be ready to re-enter the relationship. In that time period, pray for them. Ask God to bless them, be with them, and to help them in their relationships.

I’m not someone who says that positive thinking will change anything except your attitude. However, there is a quote by author Robert H. Schuller that has helped me…

Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future.

Hold out Hope. It is a powerful motivator.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. How have you walked through the pain of a broken relationship? Shoot me an idea of another aspect of relationship you might want to hear about.


Driving and Relationships

What does Driving a car have to do with relationships? Are we just a bunch of driving hypocrites? How we drive when alone may say a lot about how we really feel about others.

Let’s see what we can learn about relationships through Driving a Car…

Please share your thoughts and comment or reply below!


LOVE…

LOVE

Ahhhhhhh! Love!

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear this word?

Romance? Emotions? Honeymoon? Funny feelings in your tummy?

Kissing? Hugs?

Interestingly enough, I put this phrase into Google “first thing you think of when you hear LOVE,” and the first link to pop up for me was a Yahoo Answers link. On it were answers such as these – in no particular order:

Fairy tale

Anger, pain and sadness

…being hurt

It’s an illusion

What IS it?

What was your first thought?

For the most part, we have allowed our society to dictate to us what LOVE is.

The first thing we must realize is that LOVE has no working definition. WHAT?!?! Try to define it and someone else will come up with another definition totally different than yours. Also, some of us define love based on our own experiences – whether positive or negative.

Some would define love as “hugging your children” while another might say what you feel on your wedding day. The two are VERY different emotions/feelings, but is that love?

Some may even define love as a sexual relationship or attraction.

Here is my answer to all of these. LOVE is not ANY of these things!

So, what is love? And cue song… “baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more…” (By Haddaway)

Great question! I’m glad you asked!

First let me describe what LOVE is not

It is not an emotion. It is not a feeling. It is not sex. It is not getting what you want all the time.

LOVE is a behavior, an action, a decision, a commitment. Let me be more specific:

Love is a choice. You cannot fall IN to love.

Let’s say you are standing on the edge of a cliff and down below about 20 feet is a pool of water. You are contemplating jumping off into the cool water, but you hesitate. Finally you decide it is worth the risk and you make the decision to jump in.

NOW, imagine you are on that same cliff, looking at the same water. You trip and fall tumbling over the side into the cool water. What is your first reaction? Is it one of elation? Or are you unsure of what is happening and how it will end up? Will you be pleasantly surprised? Or will you wish you had not fallen in, and you claw your way out of the water?

Which do you have more control over? YES! The first one!

At least if you make the decision to jump in, you have some idea of what you are getting yourself into. You make the commitment and you jump, understanding there are some things you may not be aware of, like how cold the water is, but nonetheless, you go for it.

We choose who to love, when to love, where to love, and how to love.

The best example I can give to you is this – Jesus. I know, I know – there he goes again talking about Jesus. Well, get over it!

Jesus gave us the best example of LOVE in the face of a most certain painful situation that was imminent should he choose to go down that path to become the sacrifice for our sins.

He had the opportunity to walk away from what would become an extremely painful death. But He was driven by love. That’s right! Why would someone choose that kind of pain and torture for love? Because He realized that from that painful circumstance it would pave the way for us to have a relationship with God.

So what is LOVE?

Love is Patient. When you are faced with a situation where you just want someone to realize you are there for them – patience is an act of love.

Love is Kind. When you would rather respond in vengeance, you decide to show kindness.

Love does not envy, does not boast, is not proud. You make the choice to be content with what you have, to be thankful for others and to look at yourself with sober judgment.

Love is not rude. When your first reaction is to be sarcastic and snarky, you decide to lock up the lips.

Love is not self-seeking – on the flip side, this means you actually look out for the needs of others.

Love is not easily angered. Ouch, that one hurt a little didn’t it. It takes a decision to suppress the anger that rises so quickly to an unwelcome event or comment.

Love does not keep a record of wrongs. When you are in a disagreement, this is the decision to NOT bring up all of the past hurts or offenses the other person has done against you. It is a continual choice to forgive.

Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. Have you ever heard gossip that you know is not true? This is when you decide to push away the lie and gossip and stand with the truth.

This is where we need to discuss the qualities of LOVE that should ALWAYS be present. If these qualities are NOT present, then it is not love!

Love ALWAYS protects.

Love ALWAYS trusts.

Love ALWAYS hopes.

Love ALWAYS perseveres.

If you love someone, you choose to protect them, choose to trust them, choose to hope for the best, and choose to persevere through the difficult challenges.

If we put all of these into effect, than we can always count on LOVE, it will not fail us. Now how many of these are dependent on the recipient of your love?

If you answered none of them, you would be correct! Just as much as you decide to show these qualities, others must also decide to show them toward you. However, you do not need them reciprocated in order to love someone.

This means we can choose to love a complete stranger and provide a need for them. We can choose to love someone that has been rude to us.

LOVE is a choice: a choice to be committed; a choice to place ourselves in a vulnerable position with someone else. When we look at it this way and not as if we are “falling in love” we recognize if we choose to love, we can choose not to love.

Emotions come and go. I WISH I could stay happy all the time, but inevitably something will happen where I will become sad.

LOVE does not have to be as unstable as our emotions. As a matter of fact, Jesus showed how stable it really is, by loving us before we ever accepted Him as the Son of God and the One that takes away our sins. He loved us while we were denying His existence. He loved us while we were living our lives for ourselves.

Maybe this is how we are to love others. With the example Christ gave us, we can love others.

Choose to love.

This is such a big topic. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Shoot me an idea of another aspect of love you might want to hear about.


COMPARING – Don’t Do It!!!

I have had a lifelong issue with comparing myself to others, except I usually come out on the short end of the stick in my mind. Comparing is dangerous and can hold you back from accomplishments or damage meaningful relationships.

It’s just not a good idea! Either you will be full of pride in yourself, or you will be self-deprecating. For more, click on the video below…

I welcome comments, remarks and suggestions for future articles/videos. Please reply or comment below…


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.


Relationship EXPLOSIONS!

Some of the most intense moments I have ever watched on television or even in the movies have been when a bomb is found and it needs to be disarmed.

Can you picture it? The timer clicks down in red numbers like an alarm clock from the 1980s; someone who knows more than the average Joe about disarming a bomb comes across THIS one that has motion sensors, wires that all look the same and hidden booby traps that would trigger its early detonation.

No matter how many times I see them, I find myself clenching my teeth and I find my hands in a fist because of the tension.

I am sure there are more bombs being set than we would care to admit, but we never hear about them because of the incredible talents of men and women who have made it their lives to know how to disarm bombs, learning the countless ways someone could build one and being familiar with just about every technique ever developed.

For most of us we will never actually come that close to an actual bomb. The closest many of us will ever be is when we go to see the fireworks during the 4th of July or a New Year’s celebration.

However, many of us – if not all of us – will be faced with incendiary relationships at some time or another. There are issues that arise in relationships that are explosive in nature.

Someone you know could be having a particularly bad day and their internal “I can deal with this” clock is ticking. You may just be unlucky enough to be in their general vicinity when that ticking time bomb goes off. You get caught in the blast of your friends frustration, anger, rage, or venting diatribe.

You may be at the grocery store and a customer in line is giving you or the cashier an extremely difficult time.

How about if you’re married? The argument (excuse me – discussion) can escalate to code red proportions because the blast of a disagreement can destroy an evening, week, month and unfortunately a marriage.

I can think of hundreds of situations where relational explosions take place. Sometimes it only affects two people. Other times there can be innocent bystanders (friends or family) negatively affected and there have been organizations that have split in two due to a relationship time bomb – affecting hundreds of people.

The imagery is meant to grab your attention.

So when we are faced with escalated situations – or potentially explosive relationships – how do we handle it?

We can respond in several ways…

  1. We can turn and run like crazy to avoid the conflict
  2. We can ask a close friend or family member to speak on our behalf to settle the situation
  3. We can go in with a verbal arsenal and detonate the relationship
  4. OR, we can follow some steps – that may work or may not work – depending on the situation.

First and foremost, when we are faced with a potentially damaging situation in one of our relationships, remember this…

When someone escalates – it is NOT the time for debates!

Arguing, getting angry, blowing up verbally NEVER defuses a relational bomb – unless in a controlled and safe, mediated environment.

Then we can do our best to follow some steps in order to de-escalate the situation.

  1. Defuse: This means to make a threatening or dangerous situation safer. In a relationship this involves calming a potentially damaging verbal exchange to minimize the damage. Plus – you cannot negotiate or rationalize with someone who is in a fit of rage or anger.
  2. Deflect: Meaning to cause (something, someone) to change direction by interposing something, or to cause someone to deviate from an intended purpose. In this step, we are interposing an objective point of view to deflect away from the argument or verbal explosion in order to change the direction of the conversation to the underlying issue.
  3. Direct: In this step we aim (something) on a particular course, at a particular person, or at a particular issue. When you have routed out the underlying issue, which would detonate the relationship into pieces if not disarmed, you then want to direct all your energy or the energies of those involved toward addressing that issue. Once this issue is addressed you have the best chance at de-escalating the relationship explosion and in most cases deactivating a potentially harmful conversation.

Will this work all of the time? No. It will not. It truly depends on the people involved and how long they have allowed this underlying issue to click away on the relationship time bomb.

Here is the cool thing. Most relationships can be reconciled. However, this takes great effort, work and daily choices in order to piece the relationship back together.

Oh and one more thing! When you place God at the center of your relationships, spend time praying with and for each other, encouraging each other, you can grow in your ability to Defuse, Deflect and Direct.

I would LOVE to hear your stories and how you may have worked through an escalated, explosive relationship issue – whether work or personal. You can leave a comment on this blog OR email me at TheSophosGroup@gmail.com. Thanks for reading!


Relationships: Christians and Our Responsibility

This goes out to all my Christian friends, pastors, churches, denominations and leadership teams of ministries…

Post your comments, whether you agree or disagree. I’d LOVE to hear from you!


Hostility in a Relationship

Are there really people in this world that are hostile in how they treat others? Is it possible to be in a dysfunctional relationship and be trapped in a conversation and/or environment that is damaging to your spirit and emotional state?

The answers to these questions are a RESOUNDING YES!!!

The outcome of these types of situations usually drives the target of the hostility into a tailspin emotionally; they begin to feel as if the issue is their fault; and they spiral into this cycle where they feel trapped and as if they will never be able to break free from the manipulative grip of the one who is presenting the hostility.

This happens more than we would care to admit. We would rather not think about it hoping it will go away, or acting like it is not really an issue. We can be afraid to speak up or confront the person who is covertly or overtly causing the distress, because it may actually make it worse.

The only word for this behavior – is bullying. Bullying is hostility in relationships. Bullying and hostility happens when someone has crossed the line and begins to direct their abusive behavior or talk toward a particular individual that has not done anything to merit that behavior or talk.

There could be MANY reasons behind this kind of behavior or malicious talk. Maybe the personal life of the bully is a tornado of circumstance. Maybe they have a valid reason (at least in their minds) why they have chosen to direct their abusive behavior outward.

What I have found is no matter what the reasons are, there is absolutely no grounds to target an innocent individual, simply because they are different, have differing viewpoints, or may be a threat to your power or control.

I used to believe that everyone has good intentions and that there is a reason for their bad behavior or manipulative treatment of others. Through personal experience and research into this, I have discovered it is possible for an individual to have malicious intent toward another human being. There is no simple explanation as to WHY someone would do such a thing.

I would like to think it is an anomaly, but unfortunately it happens all too frequently in this world.

The question is…how does someone who is the recipient of bullying behavior to respond?

First of all, we could respond out of fear. This is a tough one. The fear this person is experiencing is usually a fear that if they confront the issue it will only elevate the negative behavior against them driving them further into depression, questioning themselves and keeping them from moving forward in their life.

Another response is to lash out. The recipient of this behavior can press down their feelings for so long that they become like a ticking time bomb. A person can only take so much pressure before they break. This breaking point can manifest in several ways. No matter how it manifests, the outcome is not positive.

Another response is to direct your anger towards those that you love. In other words, bullying can beget bullying. The way to stop this vicious cycle is to get the recipient of the bullying or hostility to open up in a safe and trusting environment – address it and provide a way out of it.

Still yet another response is to shut down completely and enter into a depression that affects you and those around you.

Any one of these responses has one thing in common. The recipient has allowed the source of their pain to have control over their heart, their emotions and their immediate future.

This is unacceptable.

I have been the recipient of this manipulative controlling behavior. It doesn’t feel good. I lost sleep. It affected my health. I allowed it to affect my family relationships. I even entered into a depressive state for a while.

Then a couple of things happened.

  1. Someone in my life saw what was happening and helped me to see what I was allowing to happen to me
  2. I realized that I needed to confront the issue or it would continue to drag me down.
  3. I understood (with some counsel) that I was yielding control of my life, emotions and heart to someone that did not truly have my best interests in mind.
  4. I realized my life, emotions and heart need to be protected, if only for those I love to have the best of me, and not the broken pieces left from a dysfunctional relationship.
  5. I decided not to willingly walk into any situation where this person could possibly manipulate me, control me or drag me down with their hostility.

None of these things were easy.

There is a way to frame this that I have found is the best possible way to deal with hostility in relationships.

I have a relationship with God that helps me understand that my identity is not the sum total of all my experiences, my life is not defined by the negative people who wish to step on me in order to get to a higher level.

My identity is found in my relationship with Jesus Christ. If God would send His Son for the express purpose of providing a way for me to have a relationship with Him – God sees value in my life – His creation.

I am not perfect. I am far from perfect. I make mistakes. I mistreat others on occasion.

The difference? My relationship with God helps me to see where my flaws are relationally and to work on them. If someone decides to treat me unfairly, with malicious intent, or with narcissistic tendencies – whether they know it or not – I decide how I am going to respond.

My first response now is to pray. My second response is to understand that Jesus is my source of strength. Everything that comes out of that is framed around my relationship with God.

As long as I maintain my integrity, honor and dignity in a situation – I believe God will protect me, avenge me, and provide what I need to make it through the relational emotional storm at the words and actions of someone else.

Besides, even though I cannot control or even change someone who treats me with hostility, I do not have to allow them to control my heart – because it belongs to God. I can confront the situation and rest assured God will give me the courage and the words to say.

One young man decided to take control over his emotions and heart after being bullied and treated with hostility. His example can become a catalyst for us to effect change in our surroundings – to help others to become less “me-centric” and more “you-centric”.

Watch this video and then feel free to post comments, email me directly or share your own story of how you overcame a hostile relationship.

I would LOVE to hear your stories and how you may have worked through a hostile relationship – whether work or personal. You can leave a comment on this blog OR email me at TheSophosGroup@gmail.com. Thanks for reading!