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I believe this is the Real Purpose of writing. Some may see it is saying what God wants you to say, others what is in their hearts or playing around in their heads.  Then again, it might just be what your client or boss wants you to say.  One of the gifts of writing is to be able to express that which you yearn to say.

Many people, I think, get caught up in the notion that it has to be something terribly important.  But many times just getting out the trivial things can be a great relief.

This aspect of writing can be helpful in managing interpersonal relationships.  There are often things that so need to be said you can feel it.  When you speak, though, you can lose your place, let your emotions get the better of you, or run off at the mouth about something off topic.  Putting it down on paper (or on the screen), you can move it around, find the best way to say it and say what you really need to say, without a lot of extra bits.

Any kind of writing – personal, business, technical, fiction – is all about saying what needs to be said.  Whether that’s how you feel about someone or the benefits of the latest widget.

Like Michelangelo freeing the statue from within the marble, writing is a means to free the message.

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We all have them.  Doesn’t matter what you do – full time worker, unemployed, freelancer, mother, billionaire . . . we all have places where we waste or lose time unnecessarily.  Sometimes we may choose to do nothing or are forced by physical or emotional woes.  I’m talking about those that we are often unconscious of.

For instance, in the company I work for (which employs thousands of people), I happen to still be the delegate for two people who have left the company. Every time someone sends out an email to everyone, I am inundated with multiple copies that I must delete.  This is an energy leak.

How about an illustrative example?  Let’s say you have a leak in your roof.  Whenever it rains, you have extra work to collect and dispose of water that gets in the house.

Sometimes energy leaks occur for me when I say I’m going to do something and I don’t do it.  I expend a lot of energy remembering what it is I’m supposed to do, or reviewing it and transferring it from To Do List to To Do List.

If you pay attention, you can often feel the energy flowing from your body, though you are clearly not exerting yourself.

Items such as broken appliances draw energy from you when they don’t work properly. It certainly zaps your energy when things that are supposed to save you time and energy, add to it.

I often waste a lot of time trying to find the right socks.  I’m a working girl, so there is no reason why I can’t afford to buy myself a few more pairs of socks to stop this ridiculous waster.

There was a time in my life when I struggled day after day with a litter scoop that clearly wasn’t making my life easier.  I was at the store one day when I noticed a scoop that would do the job so much better.  I believe it cost $1.49.  I couldn’t believe I had wasted all that time and energy when all I had to do was spend this small amount of money to change everything!

Things like litter scoops and socks seem like small potatoes in the hurry up and keep up world we live in.  But they can add up and make you feel far less energetic than you should.

What I try to do is, once a month or so I take an inventory of places where I think my energy is leaking.  It’s important, I’ve found, to give myself a little quiet time to think about ways to plug those leaks.

Very often it’s simply a matter of taking a step.  Taking action to get what you need.  Maybe calling a repair person, or taking something back to where you bought it.  Remember that things on a To Do List can be very draining.  I know, it’s hard to find the time to do things as they come up, sometimes.  I often keep a list through the week, when I don’t have the time, and then deal with them on the weekends.  I reserve 30 minutes for doing all the little things that pile up through the week – like picking up and putting away, sweeping, sewing a button, etc.

The trick, really, is to deal with things, as soon as you can.  Taking even a small step can often cross the thing off your list or at least help to regain some of the lost energy.

Another place you may find energy leaks is in relationships.  There are some people who just zap your energy.  I admit, I haven’t figured out how to protect myself from this.  I suspect  preparing myself for it, knowing what will happen, and accepting that I’m going to leave some energy behind, I can at least keep it from compounding.

Maybe the leak is a matter of saying what you need to say to someone.  Things left out in the air can definitely drag you down.  A writing tip here would be to write a rough draft of what you want to say (even if you’re going to say it out loud).  Don’t hit the send button (or seal and stamp, or open your mouth) until you’ve thought it through a bit.  Just make sure you promise yourself to do it.  You’ll be surprised how much energy will rush back into you when you let that go.

I like to make a game of plugging energy leaks. Whenever I catch myself doing things more than once, or gritting my teeth and feeling like something’s a chore.  When I find I’m not comfortable with someone or some situation. When I say to myself, why am I doing this?  I challenge myself to come up with ways to make it easier.

It seems everywhere I turn these days, people are talking about relationships.  Books, seminars, lectures, and even classes on how to have better relationships.  Maybe I’ve been especially blessed as I’ve always had lots of relationships and feel fairly contented (at least at the moment) with my significant other.

I just don’t think it’s that tricky.  Relationships are what your life is all about.  The relationship you have with the people, places and things around you, defines who you are.  Every relationship is there to help you wake up and learn something new about yourself.  Everyone is your “Zen Master” as my teacher, Paulette Terrels says. 

So, why do people carry on so about them? Does it say something about our culture that people are so dissatisfied with the relationships in their lives? Or feel so separated and alone?  Can I say all my relationships are perfect?  That I wouldn’t want to tweak a few them?  Of course not.  But I try to use them all as a flashlight to illuminate things I need to learn and experience.

We are social beings and tend to congregate.  If there’s no one in your life, it’s probably because you’re not letting them in.

Here are my humble ways to have good relationships:

1)  Be more conscious in your relationships.  Know that you make a statement about who you are by how you relate to everything in your life.  Pay attention and take steps which reflect how you wish to relate, how you wish to be in relationship to whoever or whatever it is.

2)  Let go of expectations.  People are not put here to live up to your expectations and behave just the way you want them to. It’s a practice in peace to allow others to be who they are. It is also the greatest gift you can give them.

3)  Remember very few of us are mind readers.  Frankly, we’ve all got way too much chatter going on in our heads to allow in someone else’s.  If you don’t tell someone what you need or want, how are they supposed to know?  Be sure to let go of your expectations when you do, though.  Just because you ask, doesn’t mean they can deliver. But you’re surely not going to get what you want by being quiet and hoping the other will just know.

One of my favorite episodes of the old Dick Van Dyke show (from the 60’s) begins with Rob and Laura in the car, coming home one night.  Laura is obviously angry at Rob, but he doesn’t have a clue why.  He recounts the entire evening in flashbacks, trying to find the place where he messed up. They went to the theater with friends and then went for coffee and met some other friends. At the end of the evening, Rob picks up the check and we see that is what has gotten Laura’s panties in a twist.  She thinks he doesn’t love their 8 year old son.  Huh? Why would she think that? Finally she admits, she thinks Rob has jeopardized their son’s college education by  picking up the tab for everyone’s dinner when all the two of them had was dessert. I remember that scene when I am thinking someone should know what I want: Laura spent a lot of time feeling angry when all she had to do was tell him!  “If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you,” is a lame excuse and causes far more problems than just saying it. If he had known she felt that way, he wouldn’t have picked up the check to begin with.

4)  Allow your relationships to come and go.  What is the saying that people are in your life for a moment, a season or a lifetime.  When it’s time for a person to leave your life, let them go – whether that’s to college, another plane of existence, across town, or the next love. We cannot hold people with us.  It is the nature of relationships to change.

5)  Appreciate the relationships you have.  There is something to be found in every relationship. I’m in a position right now where I come in contact with a lot of people.  Each one of them offers me something different.  Each one is a gift in my life. Notice how even the smallest relationship – like the person behind the counter at the library – can make your day.

6)  Define the kind of people you want in your life and watch for them. SARK talks about “building platforms of support.”  If you want a strong system to hold you up in your life, order up a platform of support. Who are the kind of people that will bring to your life what you need?  Then just be on the lookout for them.

7)  Open to relationships.  Don’t be so picky about it.  Know that you can learn, grow and have fun with just about anyone. Open your heart to others and they will open theirs to you.

 

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