Several years ago, we were invited to have Thanksgiving dinner with our neighbors. During the meal, the host ask us to talk about what we were thankful for. It was a great experience to declare our thankfulness and listen to others. I understand this is customary in many families. We live in a world of negativity and sometimes don’t recognize it. One of the best lessons I learned, was when I was picking up my friend from dialysis. I sat in the waiting room and listened to dia
Practice what I preach.
Some time back, I was going to work. My route included a five-point intersection with a gas station sitting on one corner. I traveled this route for many years. As I made my turn and was about to pass the gas station, this old man (get this, me calling someone an old man) was exiting. Obviously, he was just pulling out without regard to my right of way and proximity. He had his blinker on and without stopping, proceeded into my lane. I thought he saw me after all he was enter
Entertain or Equip
I was talking to a gentleman whose son, Al, lives in his father's house alone. He lives about 15 miles away and comes over two times a week to buy groceries, clean, and cook for Al. Al did not finish high school, and at the age of 23, is legally allowed to drive but has chosen not to get a license. His only social connection is entertaining himself by playing video games with friends online and on social media. “I just don’t have time to do any chores like cleaning, trash, wa
Adjust your mirror.
I was reminded of a mother who complained of her son’s behavior, “I don’t know why little Horace is so violent—I’ve smacked him for it a thousand times.” We have a lot of blind spots that come from our childhood. After all, that’s where we learned about life from our family and we hang out in what is familiar. Feelings of being ashamed, less than, or unimportant, are all derived from our formative years, and we carry those things into our adulthood. We then protect them witho
Try or Train?
I often hear statements that have to do with trying to accomplish something—trying to find a new job, trying to lose weight, or trying to be a better friend. For some reason, whenever I hear the word "try," I immediately think of "an attempt," "to make an effort," and "search.” All of these may result in positive outcomes but are more hopeful and less intentional than truly making a difference. I have “tried” many things in my life. In some, I succeeded and in others, I did n
I talk about blind spots in relationships because I feel so many relationships can be salvaged. It is so easy to look at the other person and see their mistakes but is very difficult to truly own our culpability. Have you ever thought of the price we pay for relationships that don't work or work minimally? With broken family relationships, when parents divorce, the collateral damage ripples throughout the family and friends. One of the things that I see that is most disturbin
Jody and Dawn gossiped a lot about their friends in their group. When recalling their pals' "inadequacies" and "oddities," the two of them laughed heartily. The gang had known each other for years, and for whatever reason, the gossip had persisted. They didn't stop to even consider why they gossiped or the repercussions of gossip. Recently, Jody realized that her pals may also be gossiping and spreading rumors about her. It is easy to project onto others the things we are doi
You got this, you're a natural!
I want to write about something a little different, another kind of blind spot for you to uncover. It is the blind spot of “natural gifting.” One of the joys of what I do is to assist people to recognize their natural gifts. When I point out these natural gifts I see in them, they don’t think there is anything special about these qualities. They are such a natural part of their personality and character, they just see them as “who they are.” “He or she is a natural…” it’s bui
The Confidence Thief
I know the importance of reminders and today is a reminder of a blind spot that I see rear its ugly head day after day in my office. SHAME [SHām] NOUN 1. a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior: As I have mentioned, I grew up in West Texas in a family of six children. I was the fifth in line. I was small in stature, and we were not the wealthiest family around. Within the family, there was a lot of teasing, s
I must admit my own judgment, or misjudgment has gotten me into trouble too many times. I developed a false preconception due to bias, prejudice, and stereotyping. I hate it when I am wrong, especially about others. A couple of weeks ago, my friend Kevin asked to hear more about respect. I certainly appreciate these requests. I find it easier to relate to these types of inquiries by explaining what it means to me, and for me, it is easier to identify what things are by first
Pride versus Grace
There are many definitions of pride. In this case, I’m using pride as related to being haughty or arrogant. This could mean that I'm better than you, that what I have is superior to what you have, or that I'm more important than you are, so please step aside. Yes, pride can be related to, I'm proud of my family or my team or my contributions, but I'm talking about pride that relates to arrogance, egoism, and a holier-than-thou attitude. Grace is the opposite. I'm referring to
Resentments are the quiet thoughts or feelings we harbor against another person because we consider them responsible for an act of indignation, animosity, or ill will. Susanne and Jeff, you may recall, have been married for about ten years with two children and have grown resentful of one other over time. Resentments surface when we are hurt or offended, and when we try to convey them, there is a refusal to listen. As a result, we go silent. Jeff has been attempting to let Su
An invaluable resource...feedback.
Happy Wednesday. I want to thank you for joining me on this journey. For the better part of a year, I've been selecting topics to post about and guide us toward discovering and exposing blind spots and building a better you. Wow, the time has flown, and what a pleasure it is to share with you my story, strategies, and principles. I am reaching out to see how things are going and to see if there are any issues, concerns, or challenges you may be facing that you would like addi
I was speaking to a woman many years ago before cell phones became so popular. Judy was complaining about a family member (I’ll call her Sandy) who had very caustic mannerisms when she called. Judy stated that Sandy's comments were rude and attacking and that she continued to hold her own and make the conversation uncomfortable. Judy claimed that every time the phone rang, she would wish it wasn't Sandy and that she felt humiliated after the call. I told her about the princip
I call it Rationalize, Minimize and Justify
People who rationalize minimize and justify are almost impossible to communicate with and do not know it. They can appear self-righteous, unattractive, and totally unaware. (I have been guilty of this, you?) For example, Suzanne and Jeff have been married for 10 years and have two small children. The relationship, like so many, has its ups and downs, but Suzanne seems to be pulling away. She's not feeling as close as she once did and withdraws emotionally from Jeff when she a
Poverty—the absence of presence.
At times, our lives are busy, and time is in short supply. Many of us live far away from or have strained relationships with spouses, family, and friends and many people feel lonelier and more isolated than ever before. We live in an age of ultra-connection, yet we have an absence of closeness. We can be together, but not close or present. What a contradiction – right? I frequently ask this question, “How do you evaluate your ability to perform your roles in relationships?” I
I don’t know if you have ever gone out of control to gain control. I have and it was my intention to try to control others or situations in which I had no control. In the TV series, Funniest Home Videos, I am reminded of the man who is trying to start his weed eater. After pulling the rope multiple times and it not starting, he began to bang the weed eater on the concrete, turning it around, hitting the non-compliant engine as hard as he could, and bending and breaking every
I remember a debate in college. We were debating whether there was a heaven. I recall one person who spoke up and said, “The proof is in the older and wiser men and women whom all seem to focus on their spiritual life.” Another quickly retorted, “Yeah, they're just cramming for finals.” Perhaps that is true for some, but I have this strong desire to live my next 20 years leaning forward and making a difference in the world around me. At my age, it is customary to implement th
Blind Spots Series 2—Bay Harbour UMC
This Sunday was the second in the series of co-presenting Blind Spots at my home church, Bay Harbour UMC, League City, Texas. Sr. Pastor Stephen spoke on blind spots from the perspective of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42. I addressed Global Thinking, what Pastor called "mental bouncing"—identifying life’s issues that key up anxiety, stress, and worry. Global Thinking is a wicked paradox, but there is a simple exercise that can help. "Martha, Martha, you are worried and trou
The double bind.
Sandy and Rex have been in a relationship for about 18 months. They have a fun relationship and enjoy each other’s company. Rex likes to use sarcasm and it is offensive to Sandy. She confronts him with the statement, “You are very sarcastic, and I don't like it.” He retorts, “What’s the matter can’t you take a joke?” She turns away in frustration and emotionally steps back from him. Nothing gets resolved and the relationship continues in a damaged state. This is the slippery