Well, last week was a week of lessons for me. While I’m certainly not perfect at it, I consider myself to be a friendly, upbeat, and positive person. I love that my words have been inspirational to some, and my friendship has been comforting to others as well. My sense of humor goes a long way most of the time and it helps me to make friends pretty easily wherever I go. And I’m grateful for that.
But last week I came face-to-face with a situation with a couple of people that took the wind out of my sails. My usual ‘charm’ clearly wasn’t working. And I found myself in a situation where my heart was hurting and I was sliding into a “funk” because of the repeated negative interactions. How the heck did I get here? How on earth was I going to make it better? And would it even matter if I tried?!
I have a strong faith and I certainly turned that way. I have a few dear friends who lent an ear and shined their perspective on the situation. All of these were good, but I couldn’t seem to shake off the funk. Then I started to think about that “law of attraction” stuff I have so often read about and certainly believe in. So I decided to try this … I started reading only positive things, speaking positive things, seeking and sharing positive things. And that’s how I found myself digging out. Today, I feel like the shift has happened. It wasn’t instant but it was profound. My smile is back. My optimism has returned. I feel like I found a tool that I knew about but never really had to utilize before. It’s not magic, it’s just the unarguable law of nature – you attract to yourself that which you put out into the world. And, as the bible says, “seek and you shall find.”
What do you use to dig yourself out of an emotional ‘funk’?
There are so many days and so many ways that I need reminded that I’m on the right path. I know what I believe, what I feel, and what I desire. And yet those things seem to find ways of falling short of what others expect or want from me. And sometimes, they fall short of what I believe God calls me to do and be.
And so, I stand humbly reaching out my hand in love, in friendship, and in faith. I seek to balance the spiritual life I live with the physical life I’m leading. What I know for sure is that is not an easy task. It stretches me to places I don’t expect. I sometimes need to choose something that is greater than the things I want. I must choose the things that align with a greater purpose.
To those I disappoint or hurt, I apologize.
To those I inspire, I pray it is enough to encourage you to keep moving on your positive path.
And for me, I will pray more, listen harder, and continue to seek to move in the “right” direction.
Yesterday I was graced to see a family of deer crossing by while at a SoulCollage® class. The entire group was delighted by the brief sighting, which included the smallest little fawn we had ever seen. It was about the size of a medium-sized dog. The legs were so fragile and you could tell it was tentatively and trustingly following mama very closely. It was a sweet moment in my day.
In addition to it being a tender moment of appreciation of the beauty of the animals it made me think of my role as mother. Right now I’m in that in between stage with my children. They are legally adults and starting to create their independent lives. And yet they are still within reach as they live at home. Well, ok to be clear, they sleep at home. While I no longer direct their moves there is comfort in knowing they are not too far yet. They can reach back to me in a moment of need. They are still close enough that I know their friends. I have some view into their daily lives. I am close enough to see their bold and courageous moves out into the world. I am proud that they have kept the essence of what I taught them. They are kind, morale young people with a creative spirit. They are so different from each other but I can recognize myself in each of them. There is something beautiful in awareness. I hope they have learned well and carry with them the best in me.
Yes, that little deer family gave me a gift yesterday. They allowed me to take a moment of awareness to look at my own family with appreciation and gratitude. Nature always seems to bring a gift when I take a moment to really see it.
We have an exercise we use at work called “The Valuing Exercise”. It’s simple, but quite effective. It is a good tool for managers when they want to recognize and reward employees in ways that the person will feel valued. It consists of a pretty comprehensive list of potential ways people tend to want recognition. The employee indicates their top 3 and bottom 3 preferences. The range of options vary from monetary rewards to public recognition to exposure of the work to leadership and everything in between. People new to managing others are sometimes surprised by responses because, as always with humans, people get in the habit of giving praise or recognition in the way they want to receive it. When they find out their “tried and true” methods are on the bottom 3 preferences for some people, it throws them off. And, if they continue to do so, it can backfire and be demotivating for their people.
One of the reasons I like the exercise is that it is a business tool that teaches managers how to relate to people in work-related forms of their “love language”. That phrase comes from the book the Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It’s a great book – actually one of the best relationship books I have ever read. There are now additional versions of the book for many types of relationships like kids, teens, and at work, etc.
As a certified Myers-Briggs facilitator, I appreciate that this concept allows for the expression of various personality types. I must admit, if I had known about and read this book when I was married it would have made a difference in that relationship. If the relationship had been salvageable, it would have made all the difference. I say that because I now recognize the signs that indicate we were decidedly NOT speaking each others love languages, even when we were trying to be loving. I’ve tried to learn and practice with my children, my family, and my friends. I have seen a difference and a strengthening in relationships in my own life because I decided to become fluent in other people’s love languages, and not just in my own. I’m not always perfect, but I am in a different world because of it.
Do you know your love languages? Do you know the love languages of the important people in your life? Do you practice the art of using them? I highly encourage you to put this book on the tippy top of your reading list if you haven’t already.
It’s Easter week – holy of holy days and the time of year that is split between the sorrow of Passion and the elation of the Resurrection. This is the week that always makes me pause and reflect on what my faith is all about.
So many people intermix the terms “religion” and “faith”. But in my mind and life they are very different.
My faith is my relationship with God. My faith is that state of being where I know who and what I am. It’s my awareness of my identity as a Christian. It’s that space in my life where I talk to God the Father as my Daddy, Jesus the Son as my best friend, and the Holy Spirit as my true and faithful guide. I don’t know who I would be or how I would survive this life without my faith. I have always lived my life steadfast in my faith. It is who I am.
My religion is my community. It is the place I go to worship and praise. Religion is where man (and woman) wrestle with and interpret the rules of engagement with life, each other, morals, society, and sometimes God. I must admit, I have not always been steadfast in my religion. I have spent days in my youth questioning the purpose of such an institution, particularly when I would see those who practice it in church, turn right around and disregard it in the street or in their homes. My religion is where I go and what I do. It is not who I am.
So, this Easter, as with all others, I am pleased to reflect and ponder on the greatest sacrifice and gift – the life of Christ, laid down for mine. I am looking forward to living my faith in my house of religion. May you find your peace and faith in the house of religion in your life.
Be blessed with the knowledge that you are loved, you are freed and you are saved in Christ Jesus.