It is a choice.
I stopped at a sandwich shop for lunch. The young man helping me was kind and courteous and did a great job with my sandwich. I noticed another young man who was waiting behind me. I got my sandwich and drink and sat down. Then I heard a commotion. The young customer was yelling and cursing as he walked out the door. He stopped at the door and continued taunting the young worker. He continued calling him awful names and invited the worker to settle it outside. The young man b
How do we look when we offer excuses?
An excuse is a reason to explain why something has, has not, or will not be done. Excuses for failures can be used for not taking responsibility. Excuse implies a desire to avoid punishment, rebuke, or look bad in another’s presence. Excuses create opportunities for others to doubt or not believe. They dodge the issue and can create frustration during a conversation. Taking responsibility creates a very different conversation. It allows honesty and genuineness, and believabil
We Teach People How to Treat Us
How subtle can that be? We continually teach people how to treat us with every action and conversation in which we engage. Ralph and Robin are enjoying a wonderful day together. Life is good. They have been together for years, and there have been no recent arguments. They are watching a movie together in their living room, and Ralph asks Robin to please rub his back. Robin balks and declines his request. What?! He thinks? She usually does this with no resistance. When he asks
Some of you know but some may not know, I have written a book, Blind Spots in Relationships What I don't know I don't Know about Myself.
It's easy for us to present happiness and contentment—it is generally how I portray myself to others. However, sometimes "the critic" inside continues to remind me of all the wrongs I've done, all the mistakes I've made, and all the self-deprecating statements I've spoken. I know every wrong that I've done better than anyone, and I have proof of my shortcomings. It is not difficult to recall them; the times I failed, the times I embarrassed myself or someone else. Others know
Be Your Hero
I don't know about you, but when I wake up without an agenda, it's effortless to doddle around, get my coffee, and plant myself in front of the TV. I melt into what someone else decides to fill my mind with. I see the ugly side of the world and call it news. I get drained because I'm helpless to stop the war, shootings, white-collar crimes, DUIs, political polarization, and the like. Hearing interviews where people are asked terrible questions like, "What is it like for your
What will they say?
They were at a large gathering of friends and family. It was a spring outing, the weather was picturesque, there were lots of joyful people visiting and enjoying conversation. Ralph stood up and asked all to be quiet. He wanted to tell them about Robin. It took him a few seconds to gather his composure. He said, “We have been together a long time. I have been blessed with a companion that has stuck with me through thick and thin. She has always taken the best care of me even
Ralph and George are talking in the coffee shop about a coworker who has cuts on her wrists. Without any concrete knowledge, they are speculating about what must be happening in her life. Regardless of the reason behind the cutting, she is not portrayed favorably to them. The speculation or stories they are telling themselves become their truths and they will spread these stories whether true or not. Because it is presented as truth now it becomes easy to share their conversa
The Hazard of Defensiveness
Last week I relayed the story about Ralph and Robin having difficulty expressing themselves in a way that the other could understand and appreciate. Hearing what could be construed as a complaint or fault from the one you love can stimulate the feeling of defensiveness. I see that it can be challenging to identify or acknowledge defensiveness in some circumstances because doing so requires admitting you are wrong or the need for change. The level of defensiveness is related t
Be the Guardian
I was speaking to a good friend the other day about being a guardian, not some judge or holier-than-thou kind of person. Subsequent to his chat, I was reminded of the following stories. I was in Houston traffic a while back. Some people stand on the street corner and ask for money, known as panhandlers. They get contributions and rebukes. Some are called winos who want money for alcohol. Others are seen as the down and out of society and resort to pleading. Most are more igno
What is the secret to advancing at work or building a better family? It is easy to spot the things others are doing wrong and impede my success at home or on the job. I hear these questions or comments related to work, "Why do they do it that way? Why don't they include me more?" My suggestions are ignored. I am disregarded while things are going well, but I am constantly involved when things derail. In families', similar questions are asked, "Why do they argue so much? Why d
Where is my thinking? It is easy to get caught up in today’s news. The world, government, politics, and polarization on these important topics can poison us and push us toward negative thinking. Who are the bad guys today? What are they doing to cause my clan aggravation? It is easy for us to put our 2 cents in and contribute to the problems, justifying our position by stirring up chaos but not contributing to any solutions or contributions to create opportunities for connect
How will it end? I like to read my friend's letters when they are giving an account of the past year. It is wonderful to see what they accomplished, where they have been, and all the things that they celebrated. What if you write your 2023 letter recap this week. What?! You might say…go to the end of December '23 and look back in your mind and write the future?! Seems out of place, out of your normal rhythm. But I believe it has the potential to be fun, inspiring, and impactf
Yesterday I sat in church for our Christmas morning service. It was a festive service. There were many bible passages read forecasting the birth of Jesus and then in the New Testament announcing his birth. There were Christmas carols and beautiful choir singing. All of this was very spiritual to me. Then I began watching a family to my left in front. It was a young mom and dad with three children, about 8, 6, and 4. The dad reverently prompted the children to stand during the
I was talking to a single mom many years ago. She reported that her15-year-old daughter told her everything. She knew, who was doing drugs, drinking alcohol, skipping school, sneaking out at night, and so many other things going on in her daughter's life. I was amazed at her honesty with her mom and immediately began to think about when my sons were 15. Had they even told me their friends were smoking cigarettes, I would have said, “I better not catch you smoking cigarettes.