Tag Archives: relationships

INTERMEZZO: A Big Week to Start a New Tradition

I’ve decided to make this something of a big week. It’s pretty significant for me, but I wanted to do something different this year.  I’m going to take some time off and reconnect – with people I haven’t seen in a while. Visit graves of friends and family who loomed large in my life. I think on them often, but a graveside visit has been absent for too long. I’ll be on the road on-again, off-again, bouncing around and randomly dropping in and, hopefully, surprising folks, with a number of side trips to parks and beaches to just – unstick – from the world. I’m going to miss some folks, but I’ll actually plan for this to be a new tradition the third week of March moving forward. It’s my way of giving back of myself, something I should do more often.

I’m placing personal relationships at a higher priority than they have been. Somewhere along the assembly line that life became, friendships fell to second place. Sure, professional relationships remain well maintained. But it’s not enough for me. It’s the personal contacts, the touch points, the one hundred little conversations that hold more meaning than any hundred big work conversations. I miss my friends and I’m to blame.

It’s a balance I’ve missed. It energizes and invigorates and is a necessary part of a healthier, happier life.

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On the Importance of (Realistically) Knowing Your Own Worth

At what point did humility become not knowing your own worth?

This goes beyond not being able to take a compliment. Self-deprecation is all fun and well – I’m particulary good at it according to my friends. But there’s always a hint of challenge bordering on sarcasm that makes it work, I think. I’m not talking about humility either – a fair dose of humility is always a good idea. There’s always someone right around the corner waiting to kick your kettle up over your teapot, cupcake. I keep that firmly in mind.

What I am talking about is that you know you are worthwhile as a person just the way you are. No one ever has the right to judge you, even if they have walked a mile in your shoe, or been there done that, or any of the other countless silly amorphisms that exist to justify negative people criticizing you. No, you haven’t. Everyone lives a unique life. Sure, there are patterns to the weave, but no one sees it all. It’s not only impossible but the height of arrogant pride to think that someone can judge who you are.

Look, we’re not talking about courts and the law. You kill someone, you’re going to jail yeah. Don’t kill anyone. What we are talking about is the cess of negativity that some of us live with and keep around. Similar to my prior post on People who are Anchors, don’t stand for judgement when it does happen. Set limits. Enforce them. You deserve and are worth better.

Mr Rogers

Mr Rogers

In no way do I suggest not seeking out advice or council. Reach out to your friends, a therapist – ask for help by all means. But realize that help means a patient ear, hearing some uncomfortable truths and a heaping helpful hand extended in love, not a finger pointing in judgement. Never stand for that.

And don’t judge – you’ve never and will never earn that right.

If that’s not the truest definition of love, I don’t know what is.

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On the Importance of Cutting Away Anchors

Anchor on Shore

Anchor on Shore

Do you swim with an anchor tied around you? Snorkel? Scuba? Ok, how about running? We’ll settle on walking.

Why in heaven would you ever do any of those with an anchor dragging you down or weighing on you, always holding you back.

There are people in life who will compliment you, encourage you on and hold you accountable. They’ll hold you back when you’re about to make a rash decision, hold you close when you just need to wail a little and propel you from your shoulders when you’re trying to reach the next step. You’ll find them in all walks of life, at the oddest of times, don’t close yourself to the potential they bring.

But there are people we keep around like dusty tchotchke’s on the shelf of our life. We think them baubles not recognizing that they’re actually anchors. We all have those people – of mean minds and fickle jealousies. They are inconsistent at best yet we keep them around. I’ve heard of a gamut of reasons as to why we keep these people in our lives – I’ve as yet to hear a good reason.

There’s a variety of books on the topic, from those about safe people to watching out for red flags. While I encourage you to read them, this post is about encouraging you to face the pain of cutting those people out of your life. Yes, pain. It will be a painful, tough choice to make, I won’t mince words. You’ll get through it, you’ll feel the better for it once done. Lean on those consistent people in your life, they’ll recognize your effort and support you for it.

Cut those anchors loose.

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On the Import of Trust As the Keystone To Relationships

Over the years I’ve used the analogy of a brick wall for trust, and knocking out bricks as a breaking of trust. In a recent conversation with friends at a bar – where all great philosophizing takes place – our erstwhile bartendress (I’m making that a word) and Beer Valkyrie raised a different analogy. As the analogy still makes sense in the sober light of day, I’m adopting it and expounding on it further.

Salroman Bridge, Salamanca

Ancient Roman Arch Bridge – Salroman Bridge, Salamanca

Trust is more like an arch bridge over a river, with each party on opposite shores.  Winters of discontent will crack paving stones and some other bricks. As long as they are repaired by both parties, the bridge stands. Life’s floods and detritus will slam up against the abutments, may even knock a few bricks loose. Again, as long as both parties are diligent, the bridge will stand.

And it is very much in the interest of both parties that such a bridge stands. Without trust, regardless of relationship, both parties will ever remain on opposite banks with no real way to cross over and communicate. With the exception of yelling, which is, self-evidently, ironic.

So how does an arch bridge fall? The keystone. Take the keystone out and it all falls down in a moment. I’ll go a step further and say that a keystone only comes down through willful, intentional force applied against it. In which case, words are every bit as powerful as actions are in the effect on keystones.  It doesn’t matter if words are said to shake someone out of some mood When applied against the keystone, words may as well be the action.

Consider that such a bridge of trust takes time and resources from both parties to build. When it comes down, both parties again have to be willing to invest the same time and resources – if not some significant amount more – to build a new bridge. The bridge may have to cross a different span, on completely new abutments. There is no repairing a bridge whose keystone has been taken out. The new bridge will take a different form and redefine the nature of the relationship, if it is built.

As I look back on my relationships, professional and personal, I realize that in the circumstances when my keystone – my trust – has been attacked, I’ve been able to differentiate between words said in anger and words said in becalmed seas. In the latter case, I’ve tried, Atlas-like, to shore it up alone. But that seems to invite further attack and eventually even my shoulders tire.

There should then be a signpost, on either end of this bridge – “Ware Words That Cannot Be Unrung.” To be certain, there is no harder task in a relationship.  But given the signpost carved from our experiences, what excuse can remain?

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