Relationships

The hurt doesn’t go away for a lot of folks.

It lies beneath, waiting for a hard moment when it will be invigorated and begin launching dull, persistent attacks on their fortress of emotional stability and hope. 

They believe that it can be ignored, that they can get by for a long time lying to themselves.

They turn their secret dormant longings for closure and acceptance to distractions and substances.

They replace their self-love with external validation and materialism, never learning to communicate effectively and live the fullest expression of their lives.

Goodness evokes kindness, empathy, and thoughtfulness. The actions of a good person are often thought to involve holding the door, being generous, and caring.

But goodness must extend beyond a kind of selflessness, which might be called a gentleness of character, to include a kind of resiliency, or strength of character.

This strength manifests as endurance, the ability to withstand the negative forces of life with courage, patience, and sureness – knowing that all things, good and bad, will come to pass.

Unfounded criticism is endured through steadfast conviction and confidence.

Irrational frustration is endured through equanimity, a calm balance of emotions.

And the pangs of loneliness are endured through the cultivation of self-reliance and comfort with solitude.

Relationships, personal and professional, will have conflict.

It’s virtually definite.

A lot of people take the conflict personally.

They presume there must be something flawed, something to be fixed.

There’s usually not.

Expecting the conflict as an inevitability gives you the ability to prepare and to appreciate the situation for what is: the natural result of diverse perspectives –and an opportunity to learn.

The forgiving heart sees mistakes yet acknowledges an understanding about the imperfection.

The forgiving heart recognizes that the intentions pursued on the road to hell mean something; it matters that they gave it their best shot.

The forgiving heart knows that most of us are still learning, and so we are bound to have faults, say stupid things we don’t mean (or things we do mean but don’t know we shouldn’t), and fail to consider the implications of our actions.

The forgiving heart, ultimately, recognizes that people are sometimes going to fail to live up to our expectations, and it accepts that as okay.

The trick to the correct application of the forgiving heart is to find folks who will appreciate it and grow with us.

Good things can wait.

Besides, how good are they if they take away from your happiness?

They say adulthood requires suffering. It’s a lie you’ve been told.

Sure, you’ve got to be disciplined, but don’t suffer regularly for a paycheck.

Take your time and appreciate what you have, particularly when your plate is full.

There’s so much wonder and excitement and good books and amazing experiences out there.

And so much to look forward to, even things you might not expect.

So quit worrying. Work will always be there. And a good life requires play and appreciation.

 

 

A few of the most important things I’ve learned in the past year are:

1. Cultivate a relationship where all feelings can be expressed openly, especially if they’re tough to hear.

2. Make your appreciation clear frequently by both your words and your actions.

3. Be respectful in disagreements by clearly stating that you are feeling like you might say things you don’t mean and by establishing appropriate ground rules. For us, it’s that neither of us are allowed to hang up, leave, or ask the other person to leave out of anger.

4. Don’t be afraid to walk away, and allow things to simmer down.

5. It’s basic but fundamental: listening, perspective-taking, and compromise are crucial.

Sorry for posting so late in the day, friends. I hope I haven’t lost your trust much.

I got caught up with living, and I completely forgot to write!

I want to share something a bit more personal with you: the things that I’m working on to be a better person right now. I’m sharing it because I’d like for you to know more about me. But if you find them inspiring, that’s great! I have a note pinned to the home screen of my Android phone to remind me regularly of the habits I’m trying to adjust.

All of them need work, but I can tell I’m getting better at them a little bit each and every day.

They are:

  • No social media (Reddit, YouTube, and Facebook) – This is one that I am not even close to ironing out, but it’s something worth striving for. And I can tell I’ve gotten much better.
  • Be patient, no frustration – There’s almost never any reason to get frustrated or angry. This is something I’ve nearly completed. I slip up once every three months or so. I quickly catch myself, though, and take a step back.
  • Talk little about yourself, be positive – I think a lot of folks have a tendency to talk about themselves or talk about negative things. They say what they don’t like and criticize others. Talking less about yourself makes you a more interesting person to others and being positive is just a good thing to do. It makes for a happier life.
  • No meat – I’m a vegetarian. I choose to not eat meat because it’s better for my health and the planet. Also, so many animals get treated poorly, and it’s hard to be a mindful consumer by avoiding purchasing from unethical farmers. But I do eat fish occasionally, particularly on days when I haven’t been able to get enough protein consumption.
  • Listen actively – This goes along with talking little about myself. So often we listen to respond. By keeping an open mind and avoiding asking ourselves what we’ll say next while someone is talking, we’re enabled to connect more deeply.
  • Be confident, don’t care – I have a tendency to care too much about what others think. I think the coolest people and the best leaders are folks who are just themselves.
  • Everyone is hungry for hope and encouragement – This isn’t a habit, but it’s in the note. I list it to have a regular reminder that, despite the cynicism I might feel sometimes about the world, everyone is just getting by and is imperfect. It also reminds me of the importance of creating art that feeds that need instead of contributes to the starvation.
  • Get feedback – Asking for feedback from people you trust can be tough. It might cause you to hear some uncomfortable things. But frequent feedback (particularly of the bold sort) is necessary to live a well informed, good life.
  • Meet people where they’re at – I have a tendency to go off the deep end with folks. While chatting with acquaintances I might start talking about intrinsic goals, dreams, and philosophy. I have to remind myself that a lot of people don’t like talking about that stuff, so before I get into a deep conversation, I should try to see where they’re at in their life.
  • Self-care – Enough said. My happiness needs to come before all else. I regularly ask myself, “What does a perfect day look like?” And I try to do the activities I describe in the response to that question as often as possible.

There are other parts of my life I’m working on besides what’s listed. For example, striving for creative and territorial thinking over competitive and hierarchical thinking; being more romantic, friendly, and kind; and taking myself less seriously.

I probably shouldn’t be doing so much, but for some reason, I’m not satisfied doing less.