How many people do you know who are part-time when it comes to respect. They pick and choose who and when for what respect they can muster. I just hope that you are not a part-timer. Listen to hear how it works.
In these uncommon times, relating well to others on and off line is more important than ever. Stress is high and people aren’t always at their best. This makes it essential that we do our best to be our best when interacting with others. Expanding our range of tolerance is a good place for each of us to start.
How much better would your world be if other people just understood that you seldom intend to say or do whatever is annoying or frustrating them? Let’s think about how that might work.
People seldom intend to be jerks. I think we have all had to deal with someone who is just being a jerk. They are being difficult and impossible to cope with due to their seeming to be stupid, insensitive, hopelessly self-centered or clueless, or maybe all of the above. But are we ever the jerk in the picture? We sure don’t intend to be the jerk but we probably have our jerk moments, at least from the perspective of other people. As reasonable and as appropriate as we try to be, even nice people like us may slip into jerk mode at times.
People seldom intend to do less than their best. Do they always make an effort to do everything they can do as well as they can do it? No, people surely don’t do that. Rather, they usually make their best effort to do as much as they think is necessary and to do it as well as they think it needs done. The problem is that we may not agree that they have done enough or done it as well as we needed it done. Our issue is that we wanted more or better. From our perspective, the other person could have and should have done more or done better. It seems to us that we haven’t gotten his or her best effort. We have to deal with a shirker, with someone who is lazy or is sloppy and half does things. Of course we always give everything we do our best effort, always do things correctly and completely – or do we?
What would you never say to your five-year-old? It’s hard to say exactly what goes on your list but I suspect that things on your never say list all have a negative or critical tone or message tucked in there. I doubt that any of us would tell our five-year-old that he or she is stupid, ugly, lazy, in the way, too much bother, or anything else implying that the child is not valued or not okay. At least I hope none of us would relate to or respond to a child in ways like that.
Even so, there is definitely another side to that coin. Our five-year-old certainly needs feedback, and sometimes, that feed back needs to be negative or critical. Children need to learn how to do things and how to behave. They also need to learn how not to do things and how not to behave. They require guidance, coaching and the opportunity to take advantage of our experience, awareness and judgment. They also have to occasionally deal with a firm and unequivocal “No!” The issue isn’t whether they should receive our guidance and feedback – they should. Rather the issue is how and when that guidance and feedback should be forthcoming.
You may be thinking that I’m about to offer some advice about how you should or should not go about providing guidance and feedback to children. Not this time. Instead, I want to share with you my father’s first principle for offering guidance and feedback to me growing up. As much as I have read about and studied child development and parenting over the years, I have never come across any childhood scholar or parenting expert who even mentioned Dad’s first principle, little lone recommending it. Nonetheless, I think you may find it worth your consideration.
It’s time for a magic minute. Today’s tip shows us the key to those special relationships that we hope will last a very long time, if not forever. If you adopt the tip for yourself, good things will nearly always follow.
For John O’Brien, his hope was that we may care enough to love enough to share enough to let others become what they can be; but how do we do this at home, at work, and in the context of our other important relationships? Consider the following strategies. They may or may not work equally well for all of us; but they are definitely worth considering.
Cooperation: Emphasize a helpful, supportive approach to all of your relationships and activities with other people.
Bertrand Russell said, “The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.” You likely will want to set your sights a little less grandly than redeeming mankind; but you nonetheless get the idea. Cooperation is definitely the way to go and helping others is one of the best ways to get there. What’s more, Charles Dudley promises added benefits for you if you are helpful and supportive with other people, “It is one of the beautiful compensations of this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” Now, that certainly sounds like the real deal, don’t you think?
Loyalty: Emphasize accommodating to the special needs and interests of people and facilitating the resolution of problems.
It’s easy here to see how that benefits other people which, of course, is the point. At the same time, though, you also benefit. Jean-Jacques Rousseau said, “The most absolute authority is that which penetrates into a man’s innermost being and concerns itself no less with his will than with his actions.” Sure, if you accommodate to other people and help them work things out, you will feel better about who you are and what you do. It’s like Josiah Royce pointed out, “Unless you can find some sort of loyalty, you cannot find unity and peace in your active living.”
Caring: Emphasize concern for and interest in the activities, successes, and problems of other people.
Maxwell Maltz expressed it this way, “Take the trouble to stop and think of the other person’s feelings, his viewpoints, his desires and needs. Think more of what the other fellow wants, and how he must feel.” The message is simple. Take time to care; and remember Fred A. Allen’s words, “It is probably not love that makes the world go around, but rather those mutually supportive alliances through which partners recognize their dependence on each other for the achievement of shared and private goals.”
1. Be cooperative.
This means you work well with others and are there to help as appropriate, when needed.
2. Be loyal.
This means you hang in there with the ups and downs and are supportive of and with others when there is internal or external conflict or criticism.
3. Be caring and concerned.
This means that you stay involved and interested in the successes stresses and challenges of others.
4. Be engaged and sharing.
This means that you regularly talk and interact with others.
5. Be respectful.
This means you listen patiently and carefully whenever others are talking, telling you about something, or trying to express their ideas or feelings.
6. Be trusting.
This means you do not get into blaming, accusing, or threatening others.
Now you know so there you go.
1. Be Accepting
This means you are okay with me as is, with no interest in trying to change me.
2. Be Affectionate
This means you find opportunities to be warm and close with me.
3. Be Ambitious
This means you are always on the outlook for chances to improve our lives.
4. Be Assertive
This means you speak up about what you want and need.
5. Be Attractive
This means you work to be someone I want to be with and do things with.
6. Be Considerate
This means you care about my feelings, interests and needs.
There is a space between you and me where the balance is just about right, but if the balance gets out of balance, all is not well. That’s true whether you are my child, my partner, my employer, or just someone who wants and needs my attention. In this episode of Audio Tidbits, I give some thought and attention to this balance.
Do you know someone who is proud of being his or her own person? By that, they mean that the social rules and customs that apply to most of us just don’t apply to them. They think that conforming and predictability are for everyone else but not for them. They are their own person and others will just have to deal with it. Let’s think about how that might work out over time. Press play and join me.
Do you see a committed relationship in your future or perhaps a renewed commitment to an ongoing relationship? If so, you may do well to listen and consider if you are actually ready to commit.
How often do you find yourself close to others who are having an emotional meltdown? They may be uncomfortably anxious. They may be irrationally angry. They may be alarmingly depressed. More likely, they are just far enough into their meltdown to cause you discomfort and concern. What to do? Please listen and consider a tip that will help you get past the episode and will certainly help the meltdowner.
It’s not altogether true that respect isn’t optional, at least for some people. For you though, respecting some folks and not others, being respectful only now and then are never options. Why? Please listen and see if you agree.
So far, you have developed a wide range of understanding and skills to assess families at risk. You have studied the behavior and attitudes of family members and have thought about stress, depression, value problems, and other personal issues. Your learning has included identifying specific signs of risk and seeing how they are experienced by family members. You now have a good feel for people, families, and their problems.
You also have learned about assessing how people get along. You are able to focus on relationships, communication, problem solving, and decision making. Additionally, you now know how to use some tools and shortcuts to determine the risk level for your family.
It is now time to bring your understanding and skills together. In this episode of Audio Tidbits Podcast, I bring you an extended narrative of a family at risk. As you will see, the people in the narrative behave and reflect attitudes that are sometimes helpful and sometimes very risky. Your challenge is to identify the elements of risk, understand how bad outcomes follow from actions and events, and assess the risk for the family.
The narrative is divided into seven sections reflecting critical periods in the life of the family. The underlying events are true. This is the way it really happened. Many of the details and descriptions have been changed to protect the family’s anonymity.
Were this a fictional family, all the motivations, events, and details would have been carefully crafted to answer all of your questions and to eliminate all gaps and inconsistencies. Real life is not so neat. You will need to use your developing insight and skills to fill in the gaps, understand the inconsistencies, and to somehow make sense of life in the real world.
Be safe, be well, and may you and yours enjoy being one big happy family.
This episode of Audio Tidbits Podcast brings you Part 4 of Just One Big Unhappy Family. If you combine this episode with the first three, you will have all of the tools you need to assess your family’s level of risk and will better understand the why and what of family risk. In this episode, I focus specifically on Getting Along Risk. I think you will see how this type of risk fits with Individual, Marital and Parent risk to establish the level of jeopardy the family is experiencing. Thank you for the time you are spending to better understand your family’s functioning. I sincerely hope it helps you and yours.