How To Treat Others: 5 Lessons

One of the greatest lessons you can pass on to your kids is how to treat someone else. When you know how to treat someone properly it’s like being given the keys to the kingdom. So what are the important lessons to teach?

1-Respect-it’s important to have respect for those who are older or wiser than you, which could be anyone, so it’s best to try to respect everyone. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with them, it just means that you can’t try them for treason (or worse) because they like the color blue and you don’t.

2-Politeness-this is about knowing how to act around others and what’s not appropriate for the group that you’re with, but it’s also about some of the basic tenets that you should follow when you’re in the company of others, whether physically or virtually. Yes, it’s good to have fun and games, but a kind act or word goes a long way beyond one of hatred or rudeness.

3-Listening-we’re pretty good at talking but not so good at listening. We’re a world of people who talk at work, online and all day long. It’s how we express ourselves so it’s not something we can avoid. But we’re not so good at being patient and listening to others, which is just as important as talking.

4-About Ignorance-unless something has changed that I don’t know about, you don’t know everything and neither do I. To assume that you do could have serious repercussions depending on exactly how ignorant you are and what you do that shows that ignorance.

5-Forgiveness-this is one of the most important lessons because it’s about the future. It’s not really about the past or the present, but about how your future and the future of someone else will go. Forgiveness isn’t always easy, but I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that it wasn’t the right choice for everyone.

These are some of the lessons I learned growing up, what about you? What lessons did you learn and what ones are you trying to pass on to your kids?

“My parents would always say, ‘It doesn’t matter if it’s a guy picking up the garbage or the President of the United States, treat everybody as you would want to be treated.” Dan Marino

Forgiveness for Future Freedom

Forgiveness isn’t a topic to be taken lightly. Sure it’s easy to say the words and not mean them, but what good is that? Then you remain hurt and you hurt the other person or people as well. No, you can’t change the past or forget that it happened, but that’s not what forgiveness is about. Forgiveness is about seeing that what was done was wrong and enabling you (and the other person/people) to move on to the future. Maybe that future means changes, maybe it means counseling, maybe it means punishment for what was done wrong, but whatever the future holds, forgiveness is about choosing to move on to the future rather than staying stuck in the past.

Forgiveness is a healthy part of our world, a part that many people choose not to participate in. We all know it’s there, but sometimes we let our stubbornness and hurt feelings get in the way of what’s best for us. Forgiveness is like so many of the other healthy living topics we’re talking about this month: it’s a choice. Sometimes you don’t have a whole lot of control over your health and lifespan, like in situations of Chernobyl or the Titanic. But I would estimate that 75% of the time or more you do have a choice in your health and we don’t always make that choice.

It’s important to note that forgiveness isn’t saying that you agree to forget what the other person/people have done, forgiveness is recognizing and accepting what was done and the resulting consequences and choosing to move on anyway. Maybe that means you’ll move on together and work to resolve the issues, but maybe forgiveness means choosing to go your separate ways because that’s what’s best.

I encourage you to take time this weekend to consider if you’re withholding forgiveness from anyone or refusing to accept if from anyone and why that would be. Also consider what your life would be like if you chose to accept or offer that forgiveness.

Family Failures

Last month we spent a lot of time talking about family because it was our theme. It’s an important and challenging theme for our lives, one that many of us struggle with throughout our lives, whether we’re close literally or physically or not. They’ve seen us on our best and worst days, and always bring up these really fantastic memories. Today I wanted to bring up a painful topic: failure and what happens when your kid isn’t all you expected them to be.

It’s not easy as a parent to see them sick or see them fail, so our job is to do the best we can to help them be strong enough to survive when we can’t be with them. We need to teach them manners, what qualifies as good food, how to react to celebrities, how to survive in a professional environment, what it means to be street savvy, how to read people, a love for learning and an overall passion and respect for life.

When they fail, and yes they will fail at some time in some way, you will yell at them and get frustrated. It’s OK, it’s necessary and they expect it, so just get it out of the way. But then move on to helping them heal and make better choices the next time. Don’t keep berating them or guilting them for failing you or making you look bad. While that may have been their intention, that’s not what you should focus on. Instead focus on them and helping them do and be better.

Finally, make it OK to celebrate when they do better the next time. I’m not just talking about physical/tangible rewards, but praise and words that let them feel your pride in who they are becoming. I don’t believe there is any value in bringing up the bad unless they aren’t doing a better job or becoming a better person. Moving forward will make them better people, and you too.

“…not everything has to turn out exactly the way you planned in order for you to call it a success.” Neale Donald Walsch

Mistake Mentors

In life we all make mistakes, I discovered a few of mine in the past few days and have been working to rectify them, so today I thought I’d share some inspiration about not being perfect, about working with what went wrong and about accepting yourself for who you are, mistakes and all.

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” Marilyn Monroe

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”  Judy Garland

“If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire—then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience. Life is inconvenient. Life is lumpy. Learn to separate the inconveniences from the real problems. You will live longer.” Sigmund Wollman

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.” Elbert Hubbard

“It was when I found out I could make mistakes that I knew I was on to something.” Ornette Coleman

“That’s not serious, it’s just human.” Jerry Kopke

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” John Powell

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” Albert Einstein

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.” Walter Elliott

“Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.”  Harriet Braiker

“It is very easy to forgive others their mistakes; it takes more grit to forgive them for having witnessed your own.” Jessamyn West

“Make bold choices and make mistakes. It’s all those things that add up to the person you become.” Angelina Jolie

What are your wise words on making mistakes?

The Choice of Hurt

On Monday I shared a little about whether or not we’re letting our fears get the best of us and our relationships and our success.  I want to continue that discussion today, but take it in a bit of a different direction.  We’ve all been hurt by our partners before, they’ve said something or done something or forgot something and it really got to us.  Maybe because it seemed like the thousandth time they did or forgot, and no amount of reminding seems to do any good.  Dealing with hurt is a natural part of our lives since we’re not perfect, but on the other side of things, we’re not always able to be the absolutely amazing person we know we are capable of being either.

So once we’ve been hurt we’ve got a couple choices: one to hold onto the hurt and let it ruin our lives, two to share the hurt with the person that hurt us to clear the air, or three to just let it go and love them anyway.  None of these are an “all the time” solution, they’re situational and depend on the person or people involved as well as what happened.  However, I don’t recommend the first choice as a real solution to any of your problems because it will only cause more pain and suffering rather than help anyone.

The thing I always come back to when deciding how to handle a situation is a question: can I still love this person if they never are able to resolve this particular issue?  For example, if my partner never remembers my birthday can I love them anyway?  Or if my partner never remembers that I have a standing appointment every Thursday can I love them anyway?  Or if my partner always leaves the seat up can I love them anyway?  Or if my partner doesn’t like my favorite TV show can I love them anyway?  In my mind the answer to all of these questions is a definite yes.

It’s when we get to harder questions about money, our physical relationship or kids that the answers aren’t so straightforward.  I believe that the harder questions should have the ability to make or break our relationships: no one should be in an abusive relationship or one in which the partners are so far apart in goals and desires.  So when it comes to the smaller things I tend to air on the side of love and forgiveness.

Each day we have to make the choice to stay with that person and keep sharing our lives with them.  What should be a rewarding, and occasionally challenging, relationship is often much more stressful than it should be because we’re not able make a choice one way or the other.  What choice are you making in your relationship?

5 Relationship Rules for 2014

Today to help you get your relationships off to a good start in 2014, I have 5 rules/guidelines to share with you:

1-communciate more concisely and completely

2-complain less

3-date more

4-love more

5-forgive more

Of course there are many things that could make 2014 the best year of your relationship, but not only will applying these 5 rules in your relationship help you, they’ll overflow into other areas of your life.  When you and your partner practice better communication you’ll find you communicate better at work too (promotion anyone?!). When you complain less your friends will like you more.  When you date more your relationship will be more balanced and your kids will learn from others.  When you show your partner you love them more you’ll find that you see things in a different, better, light.  And when you forgive more you’ll feel lighter and better about your life.

Making any of these changes will be like going on a diet: it takes work.  You can’t just choose to give up complaining and expect that you’ll never complain again.  You have to be very attentive to what you’re saying and thinking if you want to give it up.  But the benefits of adopting these 5 rules in your life for 2014 are endless.  Even better, the only “expensive” one is the dating more, because you’ll probably have to pay a babysitter.  The rest are things you can do for free, without any tangible payments.

As I’ve already said, I want 2014 to be the year that you choose what’s best for you.  I want you to be in the relationship that is the healthiest for you, support your kids in ways they need as well as ways that grow you as a parent and set and accomplish goals this year.  What are your relationship goals for 2014?

Free to Be Mom

Sunday is Mother’s Day!  It’s a great opportunity to recognize the motherly figures in your life who have made a difference.  It can also be a tough day for mothers who don’t feel so, for lack of  better words, successful.  If you’re feeling a little down, join me for a little chat.

First, allow yourself to accept that no mother is perfect.  It’s not easy to accept that you don’t have to be perfect, but you don’t.  The world may trick you into thinking that you have to live up to some perfect TV mother image, but the truth is that you don’t.  You’re only human and allowed to make some mistakes.

Second, know that you’ve done the best you know how so far.  Yes, you could sit and nitpick all the things you did wrong, but that would ruin the chance that you’ve still got to be a great mother.

Third, it’s ok to be a mother who has rules and grounds kids.  Yes, that’s technically in your job description.  It’s a big opportunity to be able to help raise a child (of any age), and part of that opportunity is helping them know what’s good and what’s not so good in life.  Yes, there will be moments that they have to try things out and learn for themselves, but if you’ve shared some good insights along the way they should come out ok.

Fourth, welcome the future.  You’ve still got some time to make a difference as a mom or mom figure in someone’s life.  You can still learn how to be a better person.  You may even be blessed enough to repair any relationships that haven’t gone as well as you would have liked.

Mother’s Day is as much an opportunity for kids to appreciate their mothers as it is for mothers to accept a new lease on motherhood.  Mother’s Day is celebrated one day a year but there are 364 other days that you can do good, learn from (and change) your mistakes and make a difference.

Remember in November

As we wrap up our look at forgiveness this month and look forward to November, let’s take a look at what November holds.

November starts with Veteran’s Day on the 11th.  Each year I like to take time to remember those who have served the USA in the armed forces.  My grandfather was a veteran, and I always love seeing the photo we have of him in his uniform before he deployed.  Whether you agree with the concept of war or not, these men and women have agreed to go into battle for each of us, to put their lives on the line and give freely of themselves.  For them I am thankful.

Speaking of being thankful, we celebrate Thanksgiving on the 24th.  Here in America we’re blessed with one day each year to focus on being thankful for who we are, where we are and who we have in our lives.  Despite the challenges of the recent years I’m always amazed at how many things I can still come up with to be thankful for.  There is always something to be thankful for and I appreciate having a day where we can be thankful together.

Do we forget the veterans during our busy days or forget to be thankful throughout the day?  Yes, often we do, so it’s important as we wrap up our talks about forgiveness to ask for our faithful Veteran’s forgiveness for forgetting them and forgive ourselves for not being thankful enough.  Fortunately, each day is a new opportunity to remember the Veterans and other service members still fighting or protecting and to be thankful.

This week, and this month, make sure you thank a Veteran and find something to be thankful for each day.

Whole Living: Forgiveness

We’re talking about forgiveness this month on my blogs, Twitter and Facebook, why?   Because forgiveness is a big aspect of whole living.  When you don’t open your heart and mind to the concept of forgiveness, you’re limiting the life you can have, I’m not even talking about the other person.  If you want to live a whole life, you’ll have to learn to live with forgiveness.  If you’re not sure about forgiveness, check out what these wise individuals had to say:

“Forgiveness is the giving, and so the receiving, of life.” George MacDonald

“Forgiveness is giving up the possibility of a better past.” Unknown

“When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.” Bernard Meltzer

I don’t know about you, but I’m not about to let the pains of the past limit my future.  It may mean some discomfort now, but if I really want to live in the future, make an impact with my life and truly love and enjoy life, I’ve got to accept forgiveness’s place in life.  Even if you and I were to be absolutely perfect for the rest of our lives, never screwing up and needing to be forgiven, chances are very good with 6 or 7 billion people on the planet with us, one of those people will screw up and need forgiveness before the world ends.

The past does have a purpose, as do the pains.  Everything has a place and purpose in the past, but the past is not the future.  I don’t want my past to be my future so I’m going to do my best to ask for and give forgiveness to those in my life.

What about you?  Which is more important to you?  Your past or your future?