Can we talk?

September 9, 2015

“Sometimes having coffee with your best friend is all you need.”  (Sent by LG) – as featured on the Jack’s Winning Words blog. Jack went on to write about the late Joan Rivers and her famous line, “Can we talk?”

girls huggingThere are times when we all have the need to talk things out, either directly with someone with whom we may be having an issue or just with a friend when the topic may not be about a personal conflict. There are also times when a friend of ours may need to talk to someone and turns to us. Whether you are the talker or the listener in times of need, the act of talking and listening is important to both of you.

It is very helpful sometimes to have to put your feelings into words. Emotions are a reaction to something that has happened in your life and it helps if you find a way to verbalize that something and think a little about your reaction to it. There are obvious things, like the loss of a loved one that cause emotional reactions; but, there are many other things that may cause fear or anger or hatred or remorse and we need to understand them better and why we have reacted as we have. Talking things out can help you get to the root of the problem. You may not always like what you find there, since mental pre-sets like prejudice or stereotyping may have led you astray; but even coming to an understanding of those preconceived notions is helpful. Sometimes you may even say to yourself, “I can’t believe that I just said that out loud.” That’s OK, too; at least you got it out and now you can deal with it.

If you happen to be in the role of the listener for someone who needs to talk, take you role seriously. That personlistening has put a lot of trust and faith in you to be there for them, so you need to be a good listener and a good friend at that moment. Trying to laugh off whatever problem that they are sharing with you is not helpful. Commiserating with them is not the answer either. They came to you for help, not pity. Your real role in these types of situations is to provide the common-sense guidance on how to cope or deal with the matter at hand that they cannot muster at the moment.

Many times the best advice that you can provide may be to help them reconnect with their faith and to unload their burden on the God that they have trusted all of their lives. Help them get to the mental state where they can say, “Not my will, but thy will be done.” Once they have done that they can begin the journey back to a more normal life.

prayingThere is a tipping point in all crises where one can fall off the cliff into depression or see the light and head back into life. As the listener in the conversation, it is your job to help them see that light. Giving advice like “shake it off” or “put on your big girl panties” may sound like something that you should say; however, finding a way to have them trust and lean on their faith in crises is much more useful. If they can turn to God and say, “Can we talk?” they will find the help that they really need. Show them that door and let them open it and go through it. Then, remember where it’s at, because you’ll probably need it someday yourself.

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What will you learn today and from whom?

July 13, 2015

“We learn something from everyone who passes through our lives…Some lessons are painful, some painless…but all are priceless.”  (Unknown)

talking-2We all learn in many ways. Some like to read; while some like to just go out and experience things and learn from those experiences. We also all meet people who pass through our lives and most of the time we learn from them, if we are paying attention. Sometimes we learn because they have something to share and pass on to us – an experience or bit of knowledge that they’ve picked up on their life journey. Maybe their shared experiences will help us avoid a mistake or help in our efforts to accomplish the same thing.

Sometimes the learning comes from how we react to the people that we meet and trying to figure out why. Are we drawn to them by their charm or repulsed by them because of their appearance? different peopleDo we agree with their opinions or do they offend us? Do we find the experiences that they may relate to us to be helpful or do we write them off as the blathering of an idiot? What can we learn about ourselves by looking at our reaction to them? Has a little bit of prejudice shown itself in our reactions? Have our preconceived notions been exposed? Did we wait to render judgement or jump to a conclusion that we may now regret, based solely on the appearance of the other person? What can we learn from that?

Life is full of opportunities to learn and doesn’t seem to follow a lesson plan. Things and people just happen in our lives and each occurrence represents a learning experience, if we let it. I think the key to turning life into a continuous learning experience is to be more cognizant of what’s going on around us and to embrace everything as a possible teaching moment. It is all too easy to “tune out” life around you these days. It talking-1is easier to keep your head down with your eyes focused upon the tiny screen of your phone that it is to see the big, wide world around you and all of the opportunities that are there. You should really give life a chance. It is a much more fascinating experience than the text messages and games on your phone.

So, start each day with the expectation and the anticipation that you’ll learn something new from someone today. Then, commit to make the effort to meet and interact with others in your search for that new knowledge. At the end of the day, think back on the encounters that you had with others during the day and all of the things that you learned. Those are lessons that would have been lost, had you not made the effort. If you have time, you can review the things that those people may have learned from you and reflect on whether what you learned today has changed your outlook on things. Maybe what you learned during the day helped knock another tiny edge off those prejudices that you had at the start of the day and that’s a priceless lesson.

Have a great and educational week ahead. I can’t wait to learn from you.