Seeing The Good In Others…

Every one of us is somehow trying to be a “better person” (or at least most of us are) and in the quest to better ourselves we often make certain affirmations – succinct messages that we repeat to ourselves to remind and encourage us. Every day our social media feeds are inundated with inspirational memes and affirmations, some are great, and some of them I honestly wonder whether people think about what is being said before they click “like.”

One of the affirmations that I do not wholeheartedly agree with is, “I will see only the good in people.” I agree that one should look for the good qualities in others, but I disagree about seeing ONLY the good, and here is why: if I am to see ONLY the good in people, it suggests to me that I should completely ignore the less than desirable qualities that may be present. If I ignore those qualities completely then am I not making myself vulnerable to them?

A favourite saying of mine is, “the hardest thing is to know.” Taken in the context of what I’m speaking of in this post, I am essentially saying that I need to be aware of what is both good and bad, and although I may choose not to dwell on the negative/bad aspects of the relevant person/situation, I am cognisant that those aspects do exist and I will operate accordingly. 

I feel as though I should offer an example so here are two:

1. I have a co-worker Ben, he amazing at his job and interacts superbly with our clients, but he is dismissive of women in the workplace as he believes that their place is in the home. Using what I have outlined above: I am aware of Ben’s good qualities and as his colleague I periodically compliment him on them. I am also cognisant of his undesirable character traits, and though I choose not to dwell on them I operate accordingly by being cordial with Ben, but to avoid being angered and/or hurt I will not try to engage him in casual discussion and I certainly will not participate in any debate with him with regard to his beliefs. 

2. I have a friend called Kate, she is funny and outgoing, loads of fun to be around. But she is self-absorbed and will not be the one to lend a listening ear or comfort someone else in their time of need. Again, using what I have outlined above: I am aware of Kate’s good qualities, and would tell her and others how awesome she is to hang with. I am also cognisant of her undesirable traits, and though I choose not to dwell on them I operate accordingly by never running to Kate when I need a shoulder to cry on. I will not hold a grudge about the fact that she is unable or unwilling to be there for me; surely if she needs a shoulder to cry on she can have mine, and she has. But I will not completely ignore this negative trait of hers while “only seeing the good” because I think that doing so may set me up for hurt feelings in the future. 

I also want to add though, that too many people refuse to see the good that is in the people they don’t like. There is some good in every one of us and the person who can get along with everyone is the person who refuses to dwell on the bad and instead focuses on the good in others.  

To summarise my thoughts:

– Acknowledge both the good and bad in everyone

– Decide to focus on the good

– Be aware of the bad, don’t make it your focus, but do use the information for the preservation of self.

 I hope this provided some food for thought. I welcome your comments 🙂

Oh Wow! I Am HAPPY!

As I was driving along today, my mind began to wander as it usually does to all sorts of random things. Then I began to mentally count my blessings. And not just regular blessings, like a roof over my head and food and a great job – although, don’t get me wrong, I am super thankful for those and more! But I began to count the blessings that I have been hoping and praying for; blessings that I only realised I had been granted when I actively counted them.

I have to admit that I am way happier than say 10 months ago (long story for another blog entry), or even 5 months ago, when a lot of my perception was clouded by doubt, fear and hopelessness. But even in that state I thought I knew exactly what would make me happy again, and I was correct. I feel lucky in that regard, because many of us wish for things that we are so convinced would be the gateways to our happiness yet even after attaining those things we are left with a void and feeling no more happy than before. 

Or is it that the void has been filled but we never took the time to acknowledge properly that our desires have materialised, as I have today.  Sometimes the things we want most to happen in our lives may not happen in the way we expect, and that is I guess how they may be “missed.”

I am happy. I am truly happy. There are some other things that I still want to happen in my life and for me, but right now and so far I can say with certainty that I am happy.

Just Do It (Whatever “IT” is)

Decide what it is that you want to achieve and just do it.

For as long as I have known myself, I have been a very determined individual. I decide that I will have something, or that I am going to do or achieve something, and I work my butt off to do so. This determination of mine marvels my family and friends who know me well, and it is my hope to encourage others to approach life with similar vigour.

We all have dreams, desires and goals. Small, large, seemingly implausible, ridiculous…myriad adjectives can be used to describe our goals, and often times these adjectives are used to convince oneself that the goal in question is unattainable or would require a “miracle.”

The outcome of your goals begins with you. And because it begins with you it is heavily dependent on your thinking. Let’s say one of your goals is to pay off one of your debts by the end of 2014. The average person will follow a pattern similar to this:
– Inform self of intended goal
– Repeat to self, and maybe close friends, a few times
– With each repetition of the intended goal, will think of another speed bump or pothole that will prevent the achievement of said goal
– Begins to focus on said obstacles instead of the goal
– Convinces self that it cannot be done and they were silly to even think of it in the first place.
– 2014 ends, the debt still exists, the process is repeated for 2015.

How familiar does this sound to you? It would be hypocritical of me to say that it isn’t familiar to me, because in spite of my overall determination, there have been times when I have lapsed. But I want to demonstrate how I usually go about making sure my goals are realised:

1. Inform self of intended goal, but don’t just keep it in your head. Write it down. On a notebook, in your smartphone, on your computer. Somewhere! Anywhere! Ok maybe not anywhere, but you get my drift. Writing gives your intentions that much more validity. Now it has gone from being a thought to a thing. Good job!

2. Repeat your goal, to yourself, and to someone who you can trust to remind you about it when you need to be reminded. That person should also be someone who you know will encourage you; there are way too many discouragers out there and they really are of no use to you.

2.1 Also repeat your goal to someone who can offer guidance. No matter how large or small the goal, it helps to have the constructive input of others who know what they’re talking about and who, again, will have your best interest as heart.

3. Highlight and focus on any possible obstacles you may face in reaching the goal, but for the purpose of finding a solution or a way around said obstacles. Again, this is where the guidance of a knowledgeable person becomes important.

4. Convince Remind yourself that you will attain your goals. By now I hope you no longer have to convince yourself. It is real and it is happening. Also be aware that as you start planning and gaining insight it may become evident that it may not happen in the exact way you imagined, but is happening nonetheless.

Obviously what I have outlined is by no means exhaustive, but it is a good start. Remember that thoughts become things, and a negative mindset does not a success make.

What other tips do you suggest for goal-setting and achieving?

For Mothers Raising Sons…

I am a mother. I have a 4 year old son. I’ve also been a wife. I’ve been a girlfriend. I’ve been a love interest. I’ve been a lover. How do all these things tie in to each other? They are all related because my experience in each role has taught me about the correlation between a man’s relationship with his mother and the way he demonstrates affection to his female love interest. (I specify male-female interaction because I am not in a position to speak to whether a similar correlation exists where gay couples are concerned, but it certainly interests me, so if any of you can lend any insight please feel free to comment below!)

I have been romantically involved with males who are very openly affectionate, those who are ridiculously stoic, and those who fall somewhere in-between those two extremes. For each of those men I was privileged enough to enjoy in depth conversations about the mother-son relationships that existed during childhood through to adulthood, as well as to witness firsthand their interactions.  My study size is not huge, and of course there are other variables such as whether the individual grew up in a 2-parent home where affection was freely demonstrated, societal influences, etc, but I think I can safely state that one factor influencing how a male will interact with a female he is involved with romantically is largely dependent on the manner in which affection was communicated to him by his mother.

My most affectionate partners in the past all demonstrated very close, friendly and loving relationships with their mothers. It often felt like I was watching two lifelong friends, so caught up in each other yet open to welcoming others (read: me) but with the understanding that nothing can ever approximate the closeness of the bond shared.

By stark contrast, my involvement with those who would rather chew nails than whisper sweet nothings, they all had very stilted, almost awkward interactions with their mothers. Don’t misunderstand me, their love and loyalty for each other was obvious, but there was no affection. What interests me about this type of male though, is how accepting they were to my shows of affection, and how they would eventually be willing to reciprocate.

Behaviour is learnt, so if our boys are not taught the full range of acceptable ways to demonstrate one’s love (or even like) for another individual then how can they as men be expected to know? As I mentioned briefly, one way this “information” can be passed on is in setting of a two parent home where love and affection are openly and appropriately demonstrated between parent-parent and parents-child. Another hugely important way though, is for mothers to demonstrate love for their sons, even past the cute diaper-wearing stage. Hug him. Kiss him. Say ‘I love you’ until he pretends to be sick of it. Talk to him, make him comfortable enough to talk to you about anything without having to be coerced. Tell him when he fills you with pride. Tell him when he has disappointed you and why. But follow that up with, ‘I love you.’ Don’t stop doing it when he is five. Or fifteen. Or even 25.

It is as important for men to be in touch with their emotions as it is for women. Experiencing conflicting feelings or emotions and/or not being able to express them well can be very frustrating. Needless to say, having these experiences in the context of a romantic relationship will no doubt lead to confusion, anger and eventually destruction of said relationship, usually in a very insidious manner. It is no secret that men are generally expected to be macho, uncrying, unfeeling individuals. This is passed down through generations of males. This is why I think it is important for mothers who can to teach their sons how to acknowledge their feelings and emotions as well as how to appropriately and effectively manage them.

I am proud to say that my 4 year old is affectionate. He will hug me, kiss me and tell me he loves me without any coercion. I will try to nurture that quality in him the best way I know how, in the hopes that he will grow into a man who will treat his partner with love, respect and devotion.

What are your thoughts on this? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear from you!