Is Friendship  Conditional?

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A conversation with my daughter caused me to ponder whether or not my relationships are conditional. I believe love and friendship should be built on many things. The most important for me is respect. It is important to understand our boundaries and to be respectful of others boundaries at the same time. What does it mean to respect another human being? We all have to walk in some pretty heavy boots. They are ours to wear around and they will take us wherever we choose. Why do we feel we have the right to disrespect someone who chooses a path different from the one we believe they should be on? I remember a time a few years ago when my daughter switched swim teams. There were several kids from the old team that went out of their way to be mean to her. Why? Because she was trying a club that actually might make her a better swimmer? You would think that she personally offended those kids on the team. The truth is, her decision had nothing to do with them, she was simply doing what she thought was best for her at the time. Do we not have that right? Is that what friendship has become, not supporting decisions that better someone as a whole? I just don’t get it. A real friend would have encouraged any opportunity for her to grow inside the pool and out. She did end up going back to that team and it didn’t take long for everyone to come around.

I mentioned in a previous post that she decided to play volleyball first semester. She will swim eventually once volleyball season is over. Can you believe she is being mistreated again because of that? Who the heck do people think they are that their friendship is dependent on this or dependent on that? It saddens me especially because these kids are 16 and should know better by now.

Why am I griping about this today? I want you to go out of your way to support someone’s decision today. I want you to build them so high that they have total confidence in the decision they make. That’s what friendship looks like and that other thing? I can’t even put a name to it. Encourage people to do whatever it takes that will take them to the next level. Encourage people to follow their passions and live life in a way that truly makes them happy. That’s what friends and people who love you do. They respect your decisions and they support you too. It’s as simple as that.

Pave a New Road

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I’m starting to really believe that it is necessary to remove toxic people from my life if I want to be happy. The problem is there are some people that I cannot remove so I have to get the relationship moving in a different direction. Like it or not, we teach people how to treat us. If we drop everything we are doing to meet every immediate need of the people around us, we teach them we are not important. How do we learn to set up new boundaries and lay down the foundation for a new mutually respectful relationship? Things don’t change over night. That is the one thing I know to be true. How do we set even the smallest boundary when before there has been none? I have this visual of my little dog. He is so small that he can easily slip through the fence in the back yard. For years he has escaped and roamed freely wherever he chooses to go. What if tomorrow I put up an electric fence? Is that fair to the dog? Is that how we need to set boundaries in our own life, in a shocking way that will not slip from the attention of the person we need to respect us? Or, should we do it gradually, expecting a little more as time goes by.

Living with teenagers can be pretty hard. They are self centered and everything about them is a big deal. At least that’s what they believe anyway. It’s important to me that they do not take what I do for them for granted. Is it wrong to want to hear please and thank you and see a little appreciation from time to time? I am more than just mom. I am a woman with my own needs and a human being who does not want to feel like I am continuously at the mercy of the people around me. That is when the relationship goes bad. That is when you stop feeling love for the people in your life because you are bogged down with resentment and anger. Those feeling just don’t feel good and the aftermath is damaging for everyone involved. Time to set some boundaries. Time to teach people, with the way I treat myself, that I am important and I have my own separate life aside from the roles I have in this play of life. Where to start. I guess it is like paving a new road. Sometimes the road is so damaged, it is necessary to rip that one out and start anew. Oh, the back up that can cause. Weeks and months of being inconveniently stuck in traffic, but when that road is done….the drive is much smoother. Time for a smoother drive. It’s long overdue.

Tips On Getting Along

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Hindsight really is 20/20. As I sit here on the plane flying home from a visit with family, I can’t help but reflect on the last couple of days. Many fellow bloggers have posted about how difficult it is during the holidays with several days filled with so many different personalities. The bottom line is this, we love our family but often times we have become so comfortable around them that we lose our filter. We stop choosing our words wisely and before we know it we say some things we may regret. How can we avoid this? Everyone is working so hard preparing food and cleaning up and no-one really gets a break long enough to put their feet up and rest. Add fatigue to the mix and the constant need for something to be done and the scene is perfectly set for something to go wrong. Here are some tips that I really believe can make any gathering a more pleasant one. Ask yourself, how could I have acted differently to remove tension in the room rather than add to it? How could I have responded in a more positive way to keep the peace? Sometimes it’s as simple as choosing not to respond at all. So here they are, tips to be a positive contribution to any crowd.

1) Do not speak every thought that is in your head. Not everyone wants to hear everything you think.

2) If two people are having a discussion, mind your own business. If people want your 2 cents, believe me they will ask for it. Otherwise, keep your change in your pocket and save it for a rainy day.

3) Don’t insult another person in the room. You know what mama always says, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

4) Pitch in and do your share. At the very least clean up after yourself. No-one needs to do something you are more than capable to do yourself.

5) If someone is trying to get your goat, walk away and don’t engage. There are plenty of people to have a conversation with. Choose the ones who soothe your soul, not the ones who start a flame.

6) Keep negativity to yourself. Focus on the positive

7) Don’t point fingers. If your hands are that free, try washing some of the dishes.

8) Be kind. Try complimenting someone instead of insulting them. Before you speak, ask yourself if what you are about to say is kind or necessary. Think about how you would feel if someone spoke your words back to you.

9) Get over things. Let them go and move on to a better place. Sometimes we can only see what we allow ourselves to see. Try looking for something good.

10) Don’t judge. Just because you have an opinion of who someone is does not mean it is even a smidgen true. Put your own shoes on and walk in them. Let people be who they are. Accept them and love them for who they are. That is the kindest gift you could ever give.

11) Don’t be a know at all. Remember that kid that sat in the front of the class and always had his hand up? Nobody liked that kid….ever. You don’t always have to prove you’re right.

12) if you break all these rules, give yourself a break and do better next time. After all, we’re only human. It’s okay to make mistakes.

13) Respect someone’s boundaries. If you know you are doing something that is irritating someone, stop. If you just love to push buttons, the carnival is always hiring.

So there you have it, a guide to make any gathering less stressful and more enjoyable. Let me know if you have anything we should add to the list.