Relationship Tip: Don’t Be an Ass

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The Golden Rule is short and to the point: Treat others as you want them to treat you.  It’s pretty simple, yet we often complicate it.

In his book The Zen Commandments, Dean Sluyter says “our personal relationships can be simpler than we usually make them.” He summarizes the principles he thinks make relationships work.

“Whether in a romance or a marriage or a family, the principles are the same: you take care of one another, you be as kind as you can, you do your share of finding new sources of fun, you quietly pass up opportunities to score points or be a wise guy, you give the benefit of the doubt, and you try to make things less insane rather than more.  If you think the other person is off the program you address the situation gently and with respect. But since the problem is often your own perception, you can save everyone a lot of grief by waiting a little while first to see if your perception changes.”

The Zen Commandments: Ten Suggestions for a Life of Inner Freedom, Dean Sluyter, from Lesson #5: Keep it Simple

Here’s my summary of his Principles

  1. Take care of each other
  2. Be kind
  3. Do your share
  4. Avoid being an ass
  5. Assume the best (not the worst)
  6. Make things better (rather than worse)
  7. Before jumping to a conclusion, wait
  8. If, after waiting, there’s still an issue, address it

Sluyter’s advice resonates for me, both the words and the simplicity of it. If both people in a relationship apply it, a lot of perceived relationship problems disappear.  Did the thing go away or did our thoughts about it change?

I know thoughts in my mind impact my perception of things, and that can affect how I experience stuff. I’ve received new information in situations and been shocked at how quickly my perception has pivoted.

I want to keep #7 in mind. Life promises change; guarantees it. I’ve been amazed at how something that had a hold of me can lose its power simply with the passage of time.

What relationship principles guide you in life?

 

Photo source: RJA1988 on Pixabay


 

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The Judge and the Dishes

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When Bubba and I met, we each had years of experience loading dishwashers. The thing is, we didn’t load them the same way. And since each of us was sure “our” way was the “right” way, we had to deal with some relationship hiccups as we figured things out.

Routine aspects of life give me regular opportunities to “figure things out.” That usually means trying to understand the inner voices that chirp away when, for instance, I see Bubba do something my Inner Judge insists is just not right.

Maybe he’s putting forks into the dishwasher tines-down.

“The tines won’t get properly washed!” The Judge says, absolute in her declaration.

Continue reading “The Judge and the Dishes”

Never Too Late to Apologize

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She stood in front of me, her 8-year-old daughter by her side. This girl, now woman, who had taunted me in my youth. She and her friend would feign to befriend me, only to toss slights my way and jaunt off together to play, leaving me behind.  It was an up-and-down arrangement; when she needed someone, she’d turn to me. When she didn’t, she’d turn away.

Years passed. She was now a mother, with several children, and had redirected her life from the wildness of her youth, to that of a responsible adult, finding her way back to the God her grandmother feared she had strayed from.

“I feel so badly about how I treated you when we were kids,” she said, looking first at me, and then down at her daughter.

She spoke to the girl. “Mrs. G and I were neighbors, and I was mean to her. I’m not proud of that. That’s why we’re here: so I can tell her I’m sorry. I want you to treat people right, and to know it’s never too late to apologize.”

She looked back at me, subdued. We hugged, and I felt the pain of her shame. Her seeking forgiveness was a moment I never expected, didn’t know I wanted, and felt deep gratitude for experiencing. It was a moment of unanticipated grace; a grace still with me today.


 

Accepting Self

29_Love+AcceptThere are people I like being with because I feel from them a sense of consistent acceptance and love.

I want to spend time with them because of that feeling.

“How do I get more of that,” I thought. “That’s sublime energy.”

Then the light bulb went off.

“Wow. If I could accept and love myself the way they accept and love me, I could be around that feeling all the time.”

I wouldn’t have to look for it from others.

And maybe—another light bulb—that sublime energy would emanate out like ripples, from me, to bathe others.

Oooh. That’s a worthy meditation.


 

3 Day, 3 Quote Challenge Day 2

 

Day 2-QuoteCrazy Lady In My Head nominated me to do the 3 Day, 3 Quote challenge. Today is Day 2.

Rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you (Did on Day 1!)

2. Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day).

3. Nominate three bloggers each day.

Quote #2: 

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good and how he treats people who can’t fight back.” ~Abigail Van Buren.

I try and watch how I treat folks as I go about my everyday business at grocery and retail stores, in restaurants, banks, etc. It’s amazingly easy to forget to be present for the short time I’m “doing life” with these folks!

Three bloggers I nominate to participate:

  1. Life on the Skinny Branches: “A closeted introvert attempts to live life out loud”
  2. I Wanna be a Lady: “On a journey to inspire women to be more connected”
  3. Whatever I Write: a 14-year old with a brain writing about bunches of things

 

Ashamed by her Shame

23_MeTooI haven’t participated publicly in the #MeToo campaign, but with all the stories coming forth about women (and men) being put into sexual situations–over decades–that ranged from uncomfortable to violently abusive by men they trusted or admired or were dependent on, my own uncomfortable experiences as a young girl bubbled up.

When I’ve shared with women friends’ details about an uncle’s inappropriate behaviors toward me—sexual in nature but not sex—I’ve been surprised at how many of these friends have had stories similar to—and often much more distressing than—my own.

Continue reading “Ashamed by her Shame”