Respect

Respect

I think Aretha Franklin was on to something when she sang “R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Find out what it means to me!”

It is something I feel all of us are familiar with, but not all of us demonstrate this quality on a daily basis. For me, if I have learned anything over the years it, is that respect is not an option, it is a necessity. Countless times during my youth, my parents reminded me that no matter what race, age, ethnicity, or socio-economic class someone was, they deserved respect no matter what. This lesson has stuck with me over the years and I wanted to share some of my thoughts with you all.

As a person who works with people of all ages, often times I see adults, not children, having issues with this concepts. Many adults find it okay to speak down to younger people or people with less authority. Yes, I understand that people of authority do have power over the people they oversee. I also realize that older people may have more wisdom than their younger counterparts, but I think there is a key fact that has not been made evident. People in positions of power fail to realize that they can learn just as much from the younger generations as they can teach them.

Often, when conflict arises between people in these opposing groups, older people are quick to say, “It’s this young generation. They just don’t get it”. Well, I’m here to challenge that thought. Maybe it’s time to stop judging and time to start understand. Our “younger generation” is different, and the things we experience are different and unique to our generation, but that doesn’t mean that our thoughts and ideas should be pushed to the side.

Sometimes what you might find as oppositions is really just a question; probably one that you have never been asked before, but a question nonetheless. Responding in a defensive manner to these questions and thoughts only creates animosity and tension. By changing your perspective and seeing things through the eyes of the person posing these thoughts, it may allow you to gain a better understanding of where they are coming from and allow you to think differently of the situation.

All in all, I feel that we as a society need to get back to respecting one another. To me respect is treating others the way you want to be treated, no matter their age or any other differences that may lie between you and them. Wouldn’t you want someone to give your ideas and thoughts a chance? So let’s start doing that today!

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Encourage

Encourage

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Maybe this saying rings a bell, but for those of you who are not familiar with it, this saying is often used with elementary level kids; it is a comeback for kids who are being talked down to or mistreated. Though this saying may be useful in the moment, many kids quickly realize that it is not necessarily true. Words do hurt.

One thing that I have recognized in the past couple weeks is just how much weight our words hold. Despite what you may think, when you talk, people listen. So it is important to make sure that the words you share are of value to yourself and the people around you. You have the power to tear people down and to build them up. What are you doing with your power?

I have noticed that compliments go a long way. My mother has always said that withholding a compliment is like planting a seed in concrete and expecting it to grow. When you fail to express a compliment to someone you miss an opportunity to encourage him or her and build them up. Whether it is a compliment about how nicely they are dressed or how well they are doing at work/school it is important that you voice your praise.

Many thrive on encouragement. Think of yourself, don’t you do better and feel more encouraged when people acknowledge your progress or the effort that you have put forth? Most of us do, so why don’t we do it more often?

It is a fact that we lose absolutely nothing by giving our kindness (and compliments) to other people. Taking the time to invest in other people’s well being is not only beneficial to them, but it is good for you as well.

This week make an effort to encourage and compliment some of the people in your life. You never know, your encouragement might be exactly what those people need to hear in that moment.

The Right Time

Right Time

Have you ever looked at some of the people labeled as “great” in whatever field they are accomplished and wonder what their secret is/was? Have you ever wondered how they got to where they are today? While there may be many answers to these questions I feel that I know one thing they all have in common. They refuse to take no for an answer.

Now we’ve all heard the story of the resilient person who never took no for an answer and that is why they are successful, but honestly that is easier said than done. So what does “not taking no for an answer” look like in your life? For me it’s limiting my excuses. One thing that I have realized is that excuses really hold me back, and it’s not the, “Oh I’m tried maybe, tomorrow” kind of excuses, or “I just don’t feel great, maybe another day”. My excuses come in different forms.

My excuses:

Often I find myself wanting to make things happen and having intentions of doing so, but then I reach a set back. Maybe things aren’t going as well as I had planned and suddenly the whole process is coming to a hold. It always seems as though it’s not the right time. When things don’t go as planned and a little adversity hits, suddenly I find myself thinking, “Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this” or “What I’m striving for might be too far fetched”.

My reality:

People, including myself, wait their whole lives for the right time to do things, and the funny thing is, there will never be a right time. There will always be some form of adversity holding you back, some obstacle in your way and someone saying that you can’t do it. While these situations might hinder you it should not stop you from moving towards your goal.

There are seven days in a week, and “Someday” is not one of them. Making your dreams become your reality is completely on you. One thing I have learned is that you have to do things that you can live with. This is true because, at the end of the day, no one will be as happy as you will be if things go well, and no one will be as sad as you if they don’t. So if wallowing in your excuses is something you can live with then be my guest, but my bet is that your dreams are a little bit bigger than a minor setback or excuse.

Don’t convince yourself that you have time or that there is always tomorrow. The sad thing is, we think we have time and that by putting things off, the next day will render better opportunities than the current day. Here is the truth. Tomorrow is never promised, but more importantly neither are the opportunities of today. Too often opportunities pass us by because of the weak excuses we used to confine ourselves.

My challenge to you is to stop waiting for the right time. There is nothing that tomorrow can offer you that you can’t do today. Create the right time!

Friendships

Friendship

The older I get the more my perspective on friendships has changed. When you’re little everyone is your best friend except for the kid in your pre-kindergarden class who hasn’t learned how to share yet, but as you get older friendships get a little more tricky. These are the lessons I have learned about friendship within the last year.

It’s 50/50: If people want you in their life, they will make an effort to put you there. Calling, texting and snap chatting someone to find out a good time to meet up and hang out is fine, but ask yourself is this effort being reciprocated? How many times have you reached out to them? Do they respond? Do they always have excuses? Good friendships are all about meeting people half way. You can’t constantly cross oceans for people who refuse to jump over puddles for you.

Communication: Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more frustrating than sending a text and receiving a response two days later or not receiving one at all. In this day and age, it is proven that people have their cell phones within 2 to 3 feet from them at all times. A missed call here and there is fine and forgetting to respond to a text immediately is okay, but there is no excuse for not responding at all. It really comes down to common courtesy, respect and valuing the other person’s time. Friendships are based off of communication, so if that is lacking what do you really have?

Enemies or friends: It doesn’t have to be the new year to do an inventory of your life and the people in it. My strength coach always says, “People and things in your life will either be positive or negative stressors. There is no in between.” So find out what your “friends” are to you. You might be surprised to find that some of the people you think added a lot to your life are actually people that you can live without. Some of the people you think are in your corner can be holding you back. Don’t be fooled, simply move them to the proper circle in your life.

Direction is key: You can be making progress but in the wrong direction. “Align yourself with people who are moving in the direction that you want to go”, is what my mother always says. This point in particular has caused me to lose a lot of friends this past year. As much as you enjoy someone’s company if they are not propelling you forward and helping you better yourself every day, they are simply holding you back. Don’t stunt your progress and potential because people are weighing you down. Drop the dead weight and keep climbing!

Reason, season or both: People come into your life for a reason, whether that is to teach you a lesson or add a new layer to your perspective, but sometimes their stay doesn’t last long. Not all friendships are built to last and that’s okay. Though great memories are created and bonds are formed circumstances change so will your friendships. Some friendships make it through multiple season, but many do not and it is important to understand that this isn’t the end of the world. When it comes to friendships, especially ones that have come to an end, it is critical that you look at the lessons you have learned through them to better understand why they were put into your life in the first place.

All in all, I have lost a few friendships this year due to some of the same points I have mentioned above and honestly it has hurt. Despite the pain, one thing I have realized is what each of those people were brought to my life for the time that they were a part of it. Some were placed in my life to help me get through tough times, and others were there to teach me lessons. No matter how painful the ending of the friendship was I am still grateful that God allowed us to cross paths and that I was able to enjoy their company even if it was just for a season.