Living with Strong Women –

December 27, 2017

Recently, I told a couple of strong women whom I have known since they were born that Elizabeth_WarrenI would do a blog post on strong women in our society. There has been quite a bit of press coverage of strong women lately, whether in politics or business or life in general.  Later, in a moment of self-doubt, I got to thinking to myself, “What the heck do I know about strong women.” My answer to was to think of it more about a strong person, gender identity aside, and to try to identify the characteristics that makes them “strong”.

The more I thought about it the more I settled on one characteristic above all others that makes a person – man or woman – a strong person. That characteristic is self-assurance. This is not to be confused with conceit or being self-centered. Strong women have a verymystery girl clear understanding and acceptance of who they are and what they want in life. Strong women do not need a man to validate them. They are ready and looking for an equal partner, not just someone to assume the role of protector and provider. They have left the nest and their parents and aren’t looking for a man to come into their life and provide a substitute father figure.

In a prior life, when I was in the big, corporate world, I took a course that was aptly titled “I’m OK, You’re OK”. While the course focused upon how to identify and deal with praying-togetherdifferent types of people, one of the basic premises was that you are OK being you; that you aren’t trying to be someone else. Strong people and strong women are OK being themselves. They like who they are and what they are doing in life. They might invite you to share that life with them, but they are not looking to replace it or change it, just to suit you. They may be willing to make some accommodations in order to share life with you; but you shouldn’t expect subservience or too much deference to your point of view.

There is a tendency to call strong people “headstrong”; and, indeed, they can seem that way at times, even to the point of becoming argumentative. Unanswered in the complaint that they are unwilling to budge from their position on something is the question of how willing you were to move your thinking in their direction. Sometimes winner-loseryou can find compromise and sometimes you just have to agree to disagree; and, that’s OK. Life does not have to be a “winner-loser” game.  In fact it is best when lived as a win-win game.

I’ve posted here before about the importance of developing the bond of friendship with the one that you may be sharing your life with. The jewelry companies have picked up on that aspect of a successful partnership with their two stone rings – one stone for the one you love and one for your best friend. That is the relationship to strive for with a strong partner.

So, guys; when you meet a strong woman, you should not be frightened nor should you see it as a challenge to try to dominate her. Rather, see it as an opportunity, perhaps to soulmate1form a relationship with someone who can hold their own as your best friend in life’s journey. It can be an amazing trip when you have a partner alongside you who can give as much as he/she takes in the relationship. If you just want arm candy, you can find that, too; just don’t expect too much from someone who sees you as her sugar daddy. You can drag that cute, little dependent being along with you, like a puppy on a lease;  or, you can find a strong woman who will pull her load in life as an equal partner – you chose.

As for me; I’ve got to go now; my partner and I have plans for the day.

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Make the fourth choice…

December 24, 2017

Jack had an interesting quote recently in his blog Jack’s Winning Words

“In life you have three choices…Give up…Give in…or Give it your all.”  (Charleston Parker)

Those are the choices from the kind of human, ego-centric point of view that most of us use in life. Quotes like that are the fodder of coaches and leaders everywhere as they rally the team or the troops. There’s certainly nothing bad about deciding to give it your all in life, whether it be to the demands of your job or to the needs of your family.

Striving to do your best is always a worthy goal; however, as we take time today and tomorrow to reflect upon the true meaning of Christmas, I would submit that there is a fourth choice in life…Give it to God. You don’t have to give up on life or give in to the temptations of life; instead give yourself to God and let Him handle your fears and trials. Let Him give you the strength to resist the temptations of life and the endurance and perseverance to give it your all. With God on your side all things are possible.

So, this Christmas, as we give thanks to God for giving us the greatest gift of all time – His Son Jesus – let us also give Him a gift of ourselves. Give yourself to God and you will not have to give up or give in and you will be able to give it your all.

Not to belabor this little prayer that I’ve written about often here; but, the easiest wayman praying that I’ve found in my life to give yourself to God is to prayerfully say to Him…Not my will but thy will be done.

Make the fourth choice.

Merry Christmas to all.


The pause that refreshes…

December 21, 2017

From a post not long ago to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes today’s inspiration – 

“When you press the pause button on a machine, it stops, but when you press the pause button on human beings they start…to think, to reflect, to reimagine what is possible.”  (Thomas Friedman)

So often life becomes hectic and we allow ourselves to be swept up in the hustle and bustle of trying to keep up, trying to make snap decisions and react quickly to the changes that are happening around us. What we need sometimes is our own pausepause symbol button for life. We need time to think and reflect, to evaluate things and, possibly, to reimagine our role and reactions to what is happening. How many times we think back to situations and from that new point of view, say to ourselves, “if only I had thought of this back then.” Perhaps you would have thought of that back then, if you had hit the pause button.

So maybe imagining that you do have a pause button is a good way to deal with things. Maybe we should hit pause and step back from the situation long enough to think and consider all of the possibilities and reimagine our future direction. Hurtful things that bored2happen to us often elicit equally hurtful reactions from us and usually just end up compounding the problem. Problems that are so big that they overwhelm us too often cause responses that are overly ambitious and not well thought out. Pausing to see how to break the problem down into a series of smaller and simpler responses can lead to a much better chance of success.

In my life I have a built in pause button in my two dogs. We take four walks a day, starting with the first one at about 6 AM each morning. Those walks, each lasting about 20-30 minutes, require that I pause and give me time to think about things. The first walk of the day is my planning walk, in which I have the chance to reflect on what is upcoming during the rest of the day and lay out a plan of sorts. The two in the middle of the day provide a pause to reflect on what has happened, what things I ‘m faced with responding to or allowing me to make changes to my original plan in reaction to how the day has gone so far. The end-of-day walk allow for reflection upon the events of the day and the decisions that I made. That pause allow me to learn from the day’s events and hopefully to increase my store of knowledge on how to deal with upcoming events.

 

You really don’t need dogs to walk in order to pause in your daily life; but, you do need to have the discipline to hit the pause button a few times during your day, in order to give yourself time to reflect and make the best decisions on what to do next. The ability to reimagine what is possible is critical to good mental health. The alternative is to allow yourself to become overwhelmed by seemingly impossible situations and perhaps to woman-prayingslide into depression because you see no way out. You may wish to say a little prayer, asking for God’s help with the decisions that you have to make or perhaps you would finbd comfort in the little prayer that I use and have written about here many times – “Not my will, but thy will be done.”

Pause and think, reflect and pray – then reimagine your future. It’s the pause that refreshes.


I’ll work on being me and you can work on being you…

December 15, 2017

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog come this little reminder – “Don’t you ever let a soul tell you that you can’t be exactly who you are.”  (Lady Gaga) Jack went on to write a little about the childhood of  Stefani Germanatta (Lady Gaga) who wasWoman from behind attributed labeled as an eccentric misfit in school. Look at what happened to her when she decided to keep being herself, instead of trying to conform to someone else’s idea of what was cool or proper.

Many of us spend too much of our time trying to fit in or be cool. The sad thing is that we have no real idea what that means, other than that some people that we see around us seem to be having a better time than we are. Therefore, we try to dress and act like them, in hopes that this is all that it takes to be jerkaccepted and to be considered cool. That never works. Instead we just end up looking pathetic in the eyes of those people that we are trying so hard to emulate and impress.

Some people even try to be cool with more than one group. They usually end up failing with all of the groups and may end up losing the ability to remember who they really are. The key to success in life is not trying to make yourself over into something that you are not; but, rather, trying hard to be the best you that you can be.

I’ve posted here before about the Dr. Seuss advice that there’s nobody you’er than you. You don’t want to lose that advantage by trying to become someone else. So work on becoming the best you that you can be. Develop, use and share your talents. Make sure that you stay recognized as “one of a kind” instead of becoming “one of them”.

Have you ever noticed how people who have passed are sometimes praised by people who state, “There will never be another like him/her.” They were being the best person that they could be. If you focus on being the best you that you can be, they may say that about you some day. And that would be cool.

A nice side benefit of focusing upon being yourself is all of the time that you get back. You don’t have to spend time trying to understand what you think makes others cool and worrying about what others think of you. Maybe if you start each day with a little prayerwoman-praying – “God help me be the best me that I can be today. Help me do the right things and focus my energy on doing better each day.” Then you could end the day by taking some time to reflect on your day and with another prayer, “Please God, help me see and understand the things that I could have done better this day; so that I can be a better me tomorrow.”

As for me, I’ll be over here working on being a better me. Maybe I’ll encounter you today and get the chance to see the better you. Let’s work on that.


Pause and imagine smelling the roses this December…

December 7, 2017

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this thought –

“God gave us memories that we might have roses in December.”  (J.M. Barrie)

Our memories and our imaginations can provide wonderful relief from the dreary dayssmell lthe roses of winter to come; too remember roses in December; however, memory also serves to keep alive those who are no longer with us. As Thomas Campbell put it- “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.”

Many people pause on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day to remember those who are no longer with them’ perhaps because those times in the past were some of the happiest when they were still here. Perhaps those we remember are not departed, just distant. A quote by Washington Irving seems appropriate for that circumstance – “Sweet is the memory of distant friends! Like the mellow rays of the departing sun, it falls tenderly, yet sadly, on the heart.” 

So, pause this December and at Christmas, and remember the smell of roses and the wonderful times that you had with departed loved ones or those who are just far away. They live in your heart, so they will never die.


Make somebody’s day…appreciate them…

December 4, 2017

From a post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog some time back comes this little gem –

“A person who feels appreciated will always do more than expected.”  (Sent by Paul McCullough)

I suspect that there are many things that McCullough could have put after the words “will always…” in his quote. Things like “feel better” come instantly to mind. There are also other words that come to mind to replace the word appreciated that also ring true…words like respected or even loved.

One of the things that the Special Olympics does at their version of the Olympics is to make sure that every Special Olympian  who participates gets a medal. They don’t focus upon only rewarding the “winners” in each event; but, rather recognize all of those who made the effort… they appreciate the effort and all of the athletes who compete are the better for it and feel better about themselves.

hugging-bearsIn our daily lives there are probably lots of people who do things for us that normally go unnoticed and unappreciated. There’s the bus driver who helps get us to work or maybe the guard at the guard shack who there to help insure our safety. Maybe it’s the day-care worker who takes care of our children while we work or the lunch room worker or the waitress who is there to server our noon-time meal. It may be the paper delivery person who has to get up at 4 AM in the morning each day to go get the papers and deliver their routes. Perhaps it one of the many retail people that we may encounter during the day.

These are all people who in some small way make your day better and you have the opportunity to make their day better by appreciating what they do for you. Many of great-jobthese people blend into the background and become just a part of the environment to us. We only recognize them when something doesn’t go as we wish and we complain about it and them. We may call their managers in anger over some perceived slight in the service; but, how many call just to tell that manager what great service they gave us?

We have the power to change that. A simple thank you may put a smile of their faces. Sure, we may leave a tip on the table for the waitress; but, how often do we take the time to thank them for their service and tell them that we appreciate that they are there?  I have a friend who is a life coach who never misses the opportunity to tell others how much he appreciates what they do for others in their volunteer work in the community or for their ideas and contributions in meetings. It’s a small thing, but one that he takes the time to do whenever he can. I’m sure that it makes those whom he compliments feel better for having their efforts and contributions  be recognized.

old cooupleSometimes this tendency to ignore and not appreciate them extends to our life partners, especially to the career-oriented men in the relationship. Call it complacency or just laziness, we sometimes become so self-centered that take for granted all that a spouse does for us to make our life better. The cooking and cleaning and housekeeping and laundry and child care all seem to fade into the background and become unappreciated expectations, rather than something that could be and should be acknowledged and appreciated. It takes only a moment of your time to give your partner a hug and tell them how much you appreciate the meal that they just served, even though you may have no real appreciation of how much time and effort went into the making that meal.

So, start out this week with appreciation of others in mind and be alert to those that you handshakeencounter to whom you can show appreciation. It should start at home, but there are countless other opportunities throughout the day to show appreciation to others and make their day better because of it. You may be thinking, “what difference can it make?”; however remember that the great majority of people just don’t make the effort. You can be the one bright moment in that person’s life today and that’s a great opportunity that will make you feel better, too.

Let me start by saying that I appreciate that you took the time to read this post and I hope it helps make your day better for having read it. Thank you, I appreciate you. Now, go out and find someone else to appreciate.