Tag Archives: respect

F.I.R.E.

California is ablaze. It is surreal to see pictures of an entire town decimated by flames.

No amount of water could stop the Valley Fire from chewing up every piece of timber, plastic, metal, or anything else flammable that was in its path. It is shaping up to be one of the most destructive and costly fires California has ever seen.

Seeing the images and smelling the smoke has churned my thoughts. How does a fire relate to our relationships? Here are a few…

When you are antagonizing a friend – you are “playing with fire”.

When you are making amends – you are “putting out a fire”.

When you want someone (namely your spouse) – you are “burning with a passion”.

Fire has many uses. You can warm your entire home with a fire in your fireplace, wood stove, or gas heater. You can use it as light for your path (torch) or as lighting for a romantic evening with your spouse (candles). You can use it to cook, roast marshmallows, bend metal, heat glass to create beautiful art, purify virtually any metal, boil away contamination in water, and the list goes on…

Fire, if left unchecked, can destroy virtually anything. Have you ever had a spark fly off of a campfire and burn a hole in your clothes, your camp chair, or even your hair? Have you ever gotten too close to a fire and burned your skin? Have you or someone you have known lost a home to a fire unchecked?

In our relationships, FIRE is not the flame, smoke and ash we would normally see.

Two applications of FIRE in our relationships could be the following:

  1. The FIRE we have in our hearts for those we love. We often hear we need to “keep the fire alive” when it comes to our married relationships. A fire cannot sustain itself without something to fuel it. Therefore, relationships need to continually be fed with the right combination in order to keep it alive.
  2. The FIRE of anger and resentment when faced with a difficulty in relationship. Think about it – if an issue in your relationship with someone goes unchecked, gossip, resentment, conflict, bitterness and hurt can rage on to not only damage the relationship with the one you are having the difficulty with, but other relationships around you as well. Remember, though, fire needs fuel to continue to rage. You can stop this kind of fire in relationship by battling it with forgiveness, grace, mercy and seeking reconciliation.

The other kind of fire that comes to mind is that of our own tongue. There is a passage in the Bible that says the following: “Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” ~James 3:5-6

Well, can you be any more blunt?

I don’t know about you, but I would rather have a fire that warms, comforts, purifies, and incites passion than one that rages, destroys, burns and leaves wounds that take a long time to heal.

Here are four ways you can keep a fire in check and useful for keeping your relationships alive and healthy…

  1. Forgiveness
  2. Integrity
  3. Respect
  4. Empathy

Of course, there are many other positive elements we can focus on, but I can guarantee you, with these four you are well on your way to creating, maintaining, and even growing meaningful long-lasting relationships with others. All of them take work, humility, love and a willing heart.

Keep the healthy FIRES of relationship alive.

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


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 .

 


You’re My Favorite…

Do you have a best friend?

What constitutes a “best” friendship?

Take a look at this short clip (32secs) and then keep on reading…

2 Year-Old Best Friends

The kids in this clip are freakin’ cute! But that’s not the point. The interviewer (probably one of the moms) asks them if they are best friends. They look at each other and then answer yes.

Then they proceed to argue over which one was two or five, as if they both cannot be the same age and one of them owns that age.

The two two-year-olds have no clue what a “best” friendship is. At this age, they spend most of their time together because the parents facilitate their playtime. They haven’t experienced enough life yet to really say they are best friends.

Has one of them gone through something traumatic where the other one doesn’t judge, but consoles, listens and carries the burden of the other? Have they been tested in their friendship and shown they can overcome any external circumstances and become closer friends through it?

Of course not! The cool thing about this video is the fact that they are different ethnicities, and they are clueless to this fact other than they probably see they look different.

There are so many different ways we could go with this conversation, especially after watching this video. However, we are going to view this from the angle of how relationships go from surface to deeper friendships and what would cause us as adults to say we have a “best friend”.

Hopefully, those who are married would say this of their spouse. However, although married, each one could have someone else in their life that they would consider a best friend. The trouble with this, is how can you have two best friends?

Doesn’t the phrase “best friend” literally mean there are no other friendships in our lives that compare?

How does a “best friendship” develop?

The only answer we can give to this is time. I would like to suggest that we can only look back over time and assess whether a relationship is a “best friendship” by the tests placed on that relationship.

My wife and I have been married for almost 18 years (in March). We have often said of each other, that we are best friends. I can assure you, there is NO ONE else in my life that I can share as deep and meaningful a relationship than my wife.

We have been through many difficult circumstances and situations. We have shared some of the most wonderful experiences together. We have learned how to communicate (well, I’m still learning). There have been situations we have individually gone through where the other has had to step in and be the strength when the other was weak.

We have had to care for each other when either one of us was sick or had surgery. We have had to comfort each other when we have experienced a loss. We have “been there” just to listen, be a shoulder to cry on, encourage, and cheer up.

We have called each other on our weaknesses or mistakes (this one took a while).

We have certainly not developed a perfect friendship (because we are imperfect and still have a lot to learn), but with all we have experienced, positive and negative, we can say our friendship with each other cannot be compared to any other friendship in our lives.

Take a look at your list of friends. Who has been a constant, consistent, persistent person in your life who has influenced you and that you have allowed in your life to speak into the darkest parts of your past and the brightest areas of your life?

I have had friends over time that met these criteria. However, there are only a handful of people I can say have truly never judged me; have seen potential in me where I could not see it; have corrected me when I was being stupid or needed to be drug out of my negative emotions; let me vent until I was done and then didn’t tell me I should feel differently; allowed me to be the same for them.

There really is no other way to determine a “best friendship” unless it has been tested over time.

If we take it one step further, a meaningful relationship can only be determined through the test of time.

It is possible to have more than one meaningful relationship. As we have mentioned in previous posts, having a deep meaningful relationship with another person involves vulnerability, trust, love, good communication, respect, and many others we have yet to explore in this blog.

Is it possible for someone to be a best friend, but the “best” part is not reciprocated? Some may immediately answer no. In a marriage, which I believe should be the “best friendship” you ever have, the answer is definitely NO!

However, in other friendships it is possible. If we live our lives in such a way as to benefit others, treating them as we would want to be treated…then it is possible you or I could be someone’s best friend without them responding in kind.

Why would I want to be in relationship with another person where it was not reciprocated? Great Question!

The answer? Because we should strive to treat all people we come in contact with as we want to be treated.

Of course, you cannot be present, consistent, and persistent with everyone. You are only one person.

Nevertheless, there are fundamental attitudes and actions we can have with everyone that would be the basis for any friendship, and especially a “best friendship”.

They are…

Integrity, Honesty, Respect, Listening, Supportive, Generosity, Honor, Forgiveness, Truthfulness, and Encouragement.

I am sure there are others I could add to this list.

Our relationships are built on these and other fundamental qualities. When we exemplify them others will see authenticity in you.

So what is our goal? Are we to search and find that ONE person to be a best friend with? That depends on whether you are looking for a spouse.

I would encourage you to BE the friend you desire to have with others. Practice the fundamental qualities of relationship with others. Watch for those who will only take from you and be cautious in your vulnerability with them.

When your relationships are put to the test, you will discover which are meaningful and which are not. I am in no way saying you should allow yourself to be rolled over and taken advantage of.

I am saying that if you are looking for deep and meaningful friendships, you will find it difficult if you don’t at least take the risk.

With the person you consider to be your “best friend” – make sure you are respond in kind, otherwise you will jeopardize the relationship.

Do not be like the kids in the video you watched. Let time be the test of any friendship you have with others. In the meantime, BE a friend.

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


Negativity SUCKS!

Have you ever been around someone that never has anything positive to say?

Everyone has the right to be negative at some point in their lives.  There will be circumstances and relationships that could play a major role in affecting someone’s attitude.

The question is… when those times come in your life, would you rather swim in the murky waters of negativity or work your way to the clear waters of a positive perspective?

OH NO!  Not another POSITIVITY GURU!!!  I get it.  You do not wish to hear another person talk about how you should be positive no matter what the cost.  You are sick of having someone point out that if you “just have a positive attitude, your day will get better.”

Not to worry!

This is not a “Let’s Get Positive” speech.

What I will attempt to do here is to help us focus on our relationships, how important they are, and why it is important for each of us to be a part of someone’s life helping them to be positive.

This is a “It Takes Work and Relationship to Be Positive” exhortation.

Let’s think about a clear glass of water.  This clear glass of water is a representation of pure unadulterated positivity.  There is no negativity in a clear glass of water.

clear-glass-of-water

Over a person’s life, negative things will happen. Negative people will infect them. Negative thoughts will arise. Insecurities, imperfections, troubles outside of their control, and rejection can take their toll on someone. These negative experiences stay with us. If we are not careful, they can cloud our judgment and especially hurt our relationships with others.

Each time something negative happens in our lives, imagine the same cup of water with blue food coloring dropped into it.  The blue food coloring is a negative event, word, or thought.

Clear-glass-of-water-BLUE

Over time, many negative events begin to taint the clear water and turn it blue.

Clear-glass-of-water-More_BLUE

If we are not careful, the entire cup of clear water can turn blue.  This is when we allow negativity to take over our thought processes and it infects everything we do.

Negativity produces more negativity in relationships.  Have you ever been in a conversation where someone shares a negative story, and all of a sudden the conversation takes a giant leap into who can share the most negative information?

So how can we be a positive influence in our relationships with others to stop or even reverse the negative cycle?  There is a tendency in some where we just want to avoid any negative people, circumstances and relationships.  However, this just adds more blue food coloring to the already tainted water in someone’s life.

How do you take a negative person or relationship and turn it into a positive one?  How do you remove the blue food coloring from a cup of water?

Please forgive the water and coloring analogy, but this is where it gets interesting!

You could poor out the water, wash the cup and fill it up again.  This would be unrealistic in this case because no one can undo something negative that happens or that is said to them.

The best way to rid the cup of water of blue food coloring is to stick it under a faucet of clear water and continually fill the cup to overflowing until all the blue coloring has been washed out of it.

This is where we come in.  If we begin to pour into our relationships encouragement, love, caring, respect, dignity, a listening ear, appreciation, affirmation, gratitude and anything that lifts a person above their circumstance, eventually the negativity in their life will slowly begin to disappear.

Unfortunately you cannot stop negativity in this life. You and I CAN keep the faucet of positivity flowing so we do not allow the negativity to cripple us or those we are in relationship with.

This can be applied at work, at home, at church, with your friends, and with your family.

Recently on Facebook, there have been friends that have been challenged to share three things they are thankful for, I’m assuming in order to focus more on the positive side of life than the ever-so-prevalent negative side of life. This is a great way to begin to change the color of the water back to crystal clear fresh perspective!

The next time you have a friend or co-worker that is being overly negative, take some time and feed in some positive encouragement – not in a fake way. Instead of shying away from them, decide to be the positive flow in their life.  You may earn a deeper friendship in the process.

Take caution though! Beware that in your desire to take this on, you too can allow the negativity you are trying to overcome to overtake you. This is counter-productive.  Look for your own source where you can refresh yourself, gain a more positive perspective in your life and flush out the negativity that can cloud your thinking, your decisions and your relationships.

Try an experiment at home with a cup of clear water, any color of food-coloring, and a faucet of clear water. Start with the clear cup and drop as many droplets as you can into and allow the food-coloring to overtake the water completely changing its color. Then begin to slowly turn on the faucet and watch the color change back to clear.

Let the experiment be a reminder of how we need to keep refreshing our minds, have an outlet and develop our relationships where negativity can be flushed on a constant basis.

Take 10 minutes and watch this video by Alison Ledgerwood (Social Psychologist) called, Getting Stuck in the Negatives (and How to Get Unstuck).

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please post a comment below. If you like the article, share it with your friends.


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…