Absolutes: yes, no or maybe?


Growth comes not from hating what is wrong, but in loving what is right. I heard these words during yoga practice a while ago, another “ism” shared by our instructor. As a child raised in a Christian household, I soon learned that in life there are absolutes: yes and no. Right and wrong. Good and evil. Sickness and health. And the list goes on. Throughout the years, these (and other) absolutes remain, yet many have become muddied over time; shades of gray splashed onto a canvas of black and white. Rather than accept or reject, we choose to tolerate. Instead of casting blame or offering forgiveness, we overlook. An exception to the rule might take the place of “always” or “never.” Yet when it comes to growth, compromise won’t garner the results we seek: Because what we give out, we get back in the same form. However, I believe we can’t go wrong with love. But we’ll never be right about hate.

Do you struggle with any absolute(s)?

There’s no ‘i’ in team: what happens when we apply good sportsmanship

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Ouch. That’s the sound of conviction. For me, it often transpires during my morning quiet time. I read a quote or scripture and realize, once again, that I fall short. For instance, in one breath I push an attitude of gratitude, but in the next I grumble when I don’t get my way. The most recent “my bad” happened while my partner of 30 years and I were in the middle of planning a getaway to celebrate our wedding anniversary later this year. While studying the topic of pride, I watched the entire play unfold as if in instant replay—with me in center field—and it wasn’t pretty. You see, all of a sudden it had become “my anniversary” and what “I want.” Yet for three decades, now, my husband and I have shared a partnership based, primarily, on good sportsmanship. What does this look like? The ability to take turns. Cheer each other on. Compromise when necessary. And play fair for the win.

Got team spirit?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Achieving common ground

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Achieving common ground

We will never agree with everything someone thinks or feels or stands for. But that doesn’t mean we can’t strive for understanding and acceptance of our differences. Recently, I made the mistake of assuming a friend of mine and I were on the same page in regard to a certain situation. Although my friend—I’ll call her Paige—said “yes” to my take on things, I later learned that did not mean she agreed with me. In my post, “Agreeing to disagree,” I cover our dissimilarities and how they color our interactions with others, oftentimes casting us in circles or up against brick walls. Instead of agreeing to disagree, however, I’d prefer to achieve common ground—the middle-of-the-road compromise where both parties have a say and, although it might not be a perfect solution, each can live with the outcome. Give and take is a healthy part of any relationship, as long as everyone’s voice is heard and mutual respect is offered.

How do you achieve common ground?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Settling for less in life and love

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[Image credit: Usamedeniz]

I was talking to a friend the other day and mentioned how I keep trying to fill the void in my life. “Writing doesn’t do it for you?” she said. Admittedly, writing is only a temporary fix. And then I ran across an article about the telltale signs you’re settling for less in life and love. Ask yourself these five questions to determine if you are settling: 1) Are you constantly drained? Engaging in activity that contradicts your purpose is exhausting. 2) Do you make dangerous compromises? Settling on preferences is one thing; settling on values violates your core. 3) Do you feel stuck or restless? Being grateful for what you have is wonderful, but doesn’t negate an unmet purpose. 4) Are you secretly envious? Settlers wish they were bold enough to live out their dreams. 5) Do you rationalize playing small? You make excuses for why things don’t turn out. Turns out I need to make some changes of my own.

Are you settling for less than?

The fine art of living


Letting go


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All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.
~ Henry Ellis

Letting go doesn’t mean giving up.  In letting go, we’re actively participating in an outcome we hope for.  In other words, letting go is faithfully accepting that whatever is meant to happen will happen.  Conversely, holding on when hope for change or growth is obscured by logistics only causes frustration because we’re doing nothing to further our hopes and dreams.  If we simply realize that letting go gives us permission to take what comes our way, we can either use — or discard —  it as a potential stepping stone toward our Someday.  We’re still holding on to a hope for something more or something better.  We’re merely letting go of the expectations — the sometimes crippling desire to control an outcome we truly have no control over.  It’s compromise.  It’s acceptance.  Once we do that, we truly begin to live.

Are you holding onto something it’s time to let go of?

Honor the gain

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Honor the gain

[Image credit: digitalart]

In my post When enough is enough, I talk about the users, takers or neutral parties in our lives — the people unable to give back or compromise in a relationship.  However, maybe it really isn’t one-sided at all.  Perhaps, instead, both parties involved have simply outgrown something that served its purpose once-upon-a-time.  And that rather than outgrowing it, we’re really growing into the person we were always meant to be.   Personally, I believe that we have not lost as long as we take something out of it on our continuing journey.  It could be newfound knowledge about the world we live in, or insight into spiritual or cosmic mysteries, or even a deeper glimpse into our own personal psyches … a closer look at the person we are and who we may become.  So while we should still know when enough is enough, we must also honor what we’ve gained.  That way the time spent wasn’t in vain.

Do you honor the gain or dwell on the insult?

When enough is enough


Enough is enough

[Image credit: Keerati]

Unfortunately, some people in our lives turn out to be users, takers or simply neutral parties.  They may find our weakness(es) and milk us for all we’re worth without even trying.  Or perhaps it’s our giving nature which attracts a co-dependent personality.  Until one day, we’re all tapped out and have nothing left to give.  I think this is when enough is enough.  Because if we continue draining our buckets without replenishing them, then we’ll end up possessing little to nil for the friend struggling with a health scare, or our child who wants to share with us the mysteries in their heads.  I’m learning there are a select few who just don’t have it in them to give back or compromise.  But that it’s okay for me to stop trying to breathe life into something I can’t maintain by myself.  There’s only so much one person can do if the other isn’t willing.

How do you handle relationships where you’re mostly on the giving side of things?

Never say never

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Never say never

[Image credit: graur razvan ionut]

Never say never is something I’ve been known to say on occasion.  And I’ve learned that whether I say it or not does not dictate if I repeat something I said I’d never say or do something I said I’d never do or eat or participate in or whatever it is.  Whenever my mom heard me say this phrase she’d say, never is a long time, Christine.  I suppose there are some principles we know in our heart of hearts that we would never compromise.  But to say “never” also limits possibilities for growth and expansion of our horizons.  As for me, I am going to make a sincere effort never to say never again.  Although if I do that, then I’m already failing at this edict.  So, instead, I’ll try to leave it open-ended and open-minded.  Because we never know what life circumstances we’ll face one day that may blow our lofty statements right out of the water.

Do you regularly say never or not so much?

Going through the motions


[Image credit: savit keawtavee]

Another life lesson I’ve learned is that sometimes we have to dance the dance — go through the motions — even when we don’t want to.  As with most things in life, it takes two (or more) to tango.  And over the years, our dance partners range from boyfriends or girlfriends to spouses or children.  Or all of the above.  These moves we’re practicing possess names such as compromise, commitment, sacrifice.  So day in and day out, we go through the motions.  Sometimes we trip up, but for the most part, we muddle through.  Although no pomp and circumstance trails in our wake and no fireworks light the sky, in time we may recognize a sense of contentment filing the empty spaces.  Perhaps former dreams finally receive that facelift we’ve been saving for.  Then, if we’re lucky, when Someday arrives we’ll be dancing because we want to.

Life may not be the party we hoped for,
but while we’re here we should dance.  ~ Author Unknown

Do you dance because you have to, or want to?

Making it a habit

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[Image credit: Salvatore Vuono]

In Addressing the hard stuff, we focused on the reason(s) why we might possess a certain character flaw.  As we acknowledged, not all habits are detrimental (like my inability to consistently practice punctuality).  But if we take the “icky” labeled selfishness or low self-esteem and work at consciously recognizing when we exhibit these traits, hopefully it will lead to a positive substitute.  In other words: replacing the bad habit with a good one.  For example, if selfishness rears its ugly head when we don’t get our way, perhaps it’s possible to look for a compromise which benefits both parties.  Or, if our sense of worth or identity is threatened, we might voice our concerns at the time instead of stuffing in our feelings or making counterproductive choices.  According to experts, a habit takes at least 21 days to form, good or bad.  Three weeks is nothing to improve ourselves; are you with me?

Is there a positive habit you need to start working on today?

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