People Like Me

• Have you noticed that some people have an unusual ability to get others to do what they want them to do?

• Have you noticed that things consistently turn out better for some people than for others?

• Have you noticed that some people seldom end up with the short end of the stick while others frequently come up short?

• Have you noticed that some people regularly follow through with whatever they undertake while others often falter or end up just quitting?

• Have you noticed that, for some people, their influence bubble expands over time, while for other people, their influence bubble stays small or may even contract over time?

Although you have likely already answered, “Yes,” to all five questions, let’s set some qualifications or conditions to make sure we are making an apples to apples comparison. Instead of thinking about everyone compared to everyone, let’s limit ourselves to what we can call childhood reference groups. Think about you and your childhood reference group as I reframe the five questions.

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Family Tips

Does sheltering in place put added pressure on your family? Are your family relationships subject to increased jeopardy? Is your family at heightened risk? The answers to all of these questions is, “It depends.” It depends on how well you personally handle the added stress and how conscientiously you attend to the pressures and stresses on your family relationships. The episode includes some tips and perspectives that you may find helpful.

Relationships Under Pressure

We are all under a lot of pressure these days in addition to the virus itself. Those extra stresses may include economic as well as emotional. Just having to shelter in place and social distance when we do leave home are definitely not normal and only add to our sense of uncertainty and anxiousness.

We each know how the situation effects us and have some idea about how it is effecting others in our families. What we may not think about is how much pressure current circumstances are putting on our relationships, especially our relationships with our significant others. Even solid adult relationships can give in to the pressure if we aren’t very careful. For that reason, I am sharing an episode focusing on long-term relationships and those things we need to remember and give the special attention they deserve. It takes about an hour.

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Trying Times

Even if you are still leaving home to go to work, your activities are probably quite restricted. There is a long list of things you can’t do and places you can’t go. That means that you are spending more time in close proximity to your family. And being closer to each other does not necessarily lead to more closeness. It’s perhaps even more likely that you are working from home or – worse yet – without a job. The result is that you spend most all of your time with your family.

Can you relate to this? My parents have been gone for several years; but when they were still alive, I loved them dearly but definitely would not have wanted to live with them. Had it been necessary, we would have worked it out; but living together is not something either they or I would have chosen. The same holds for my adult children and for their children, for that matter. My family is special to me; but living with them on a 24-hour basis sound like a prescription for trouble.

But this is a time of little to no choice. That’s why we are sharing some tips for getting along when there is not much opportunity to get apart.

Our tips start with some wisdom that has been around forever. It says that it’s not what we love about each other that helps us get along, but is what we are willing to put up with from each other. What we love about each other is why we want to get along to start with. What we are willing to put up with from each other is what keeps us from blowing up or walking out. But when we can’t get some distance from each other or time away, putting up with what we have been just putting up with can get very hard to handle. Putting up with it – whatever it is – on a 24-hour, 7 days a week basis can stress the limits of tolerance and sensitivity for the best of us. What we just put up with before is now way over the top, even for us. …

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