Category Archives: attitude

Stand For Something Instead of Against Everything

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“I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.” Mother Teresa

Watching friends stand against a candidate drove me a little crazy by the end of the 2017 presidential election. Too many friends were campaigning and voting against a person instead of for one. I understood the dilemma, but tearing down the other candidate, as well as the people voting for him or her, didn’t stand a chance of helping their person win.

“Anti” is divisive. Take a look at its synonyms from Thesaurus.com: contradictory, contrary, irreconcilable, negating, antagonistic. On the flipside, its antonyms include harmonious, equal, confirming, consistent, and reconciled.

Posts, memes, and comments standing against something bother me even when I agree. I’m anti-racist. However, when friends put this announcement across their profile pictures or lecture about it on social media, it seems they’re stirring a pot instead of practicing and setting an example of tolerance. Their anti-isms smack with arrogance instead of acceptance.

This reminds me of the white woman who came to our faculty meeting for an afternoon of race relations training. She seemed professional and qualified enough until teachers questioned her ideal solutions that work in textbooks, but not in a classroom. She sneered, argued, and put down those who didn’t agree with her. She turned out to be prejudiced against anyone she decided wasn’t open-minded like her. It was strange to watch her act out what she preached against – intolerance, conflict, and supremacy.

Around conflicted people like her, I end up feeling defensive and confused. I’m pretty certain others do too since teachers in that meeting became aggressive and upset just like I see friends do on Facebook and Twitter when people preach love, but don’t stand for it.

I think this happens because it’s easier to preach anti-racism than to practice loving everyone. It’s easier for a friend to talk anti-abortion rhetoric than to listen to a mutual friend who regrets having one. It’s simpler to quote a Bible verse we’re convinced means God stands against homosexuality than to address whether or not we stand against it.

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We blame a lot on political correctness, but I’m not so sure the problem isn’t that we’re turning into people who too often “stand against” to avoid the work it takes to stand together. We’re “anti” instead of finding something to stand for and making it happen. It’s easier to be bitter than better. We’re too lazy to do much except protest verbally or carry a sign.

One of the most disturbing posts I’ve read on Facebook wasn’t about politics, but the school pickup line. A mom attacked (in writing) three early-arriving parents that she noticed sitting at the head of the line when she rode by the school while running errands. She wrote that their early arrival created children who will likely end up feeling entitled and, as a result, bully other students. What? Where’d that come from?

She admitted to not knowing these early-arriving parents or their kids, but still she stood against them.

Her post and her assumptions sounded bizarre to me, but she drew a crowd of Facebook friends who agreed that parents who consistently pick up their children early were overly attentive, coddling parents that raised spoiled brats who were likely to pick on others – her friends actually wrote this stuff. A father who knew the accusatory mom called timeout, but that didn’t stop her or what snowballed on her page – a whole lot of people standing against something ridiculous. I mean, we’ll fall for anything, won’t we?

The power of standing for something dawned on me when a friend ran for a public office and asked if she could run her ideas by me. She planned to stand against the two controversial motorcycle rallies held in Myrtle Beach every May – controversial because the beach is overrun with bikes for most of the month and safety and enjoyment for residents and other visitors become an issue. I said, “I’d choose to stand for something instead of against motorcycles.”

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I’d recently read an article on the topic of “standing for,” which was the reason I thought the advice might be helpful. As it turned out, she nearly won the election as an unknown and an unlikely candidate. I believe it’s because she ran on a positive platform, “Bring back the month of May.”

It’s the same as Mother Teresa said, invite me when you’re planning to do something for the good of people, not when you’re fighting against them.

I’m drawn to people and posts that rally around making a contribution rather than ones that breed contempt. However, I’m more stirred by the latter and more tempted to react, a trait I don’t like about myself. I want the opposite, which means following our minister Chuck Murphy’s lead. He says, “Don’t curse the darkness. Light a candle.”

My problem is, the lazy drama queen on the opposite shoulder from my Jiminy Cricket (my conscience) says, “Let’s stand against the people spreading darkness. We’ll complain about and judge them. That way, we’ll feel better about ourselves because, after all, we’re not like them.”

And then one day, we all look the same … standing against causes and statues and each other.

What I loved about Martin Luther King Jr. is he didn’t work from a grudge, but from grace. I’ve read dozens of his quotes, as well as Mother Teresa’s, and I haven’t found one that stands against anything. These two offer guidance, not guilt. Gratitude instead of griping. Graciousness instead grief. They said things like, “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear” and “Intense love does not measure, it just gives.”

I was first attracted to Glennon Doyal Melton, the popular Momastery blogger and author who wrote Love Warrior, because she loved fiercely. That was, until she took a political stand last year. Now it seems she stands against pretty much everything. She calls people together to stand against something – at least, that how it appears from here.

I wondered if I was standing against her because her life doesn’t look like mine anymore. She announced a year or so ago that she’s gay and in May, she married her wife. I didn’t figure out what bothered me about her until I heard from Ellen DeGeneres who has a similar lifestyle as Glennon’s. Ellen finally stood against something when she said on her show, “You know what really irks me?”

My heart sank, but I listened anyway. I’d admired her for not participating in negativity and for not getting caught up in and using her influence in a fight she could easily join. I was relieved her “irk” wasn’t some politically charged rant, but people who don’t return their shopping carts to the right place.

Ellen stands for instead of against until it comes to courtesy in the grocery store parking lot. I can deal with that. She’s proof that “standing for” is not about a lifestyle, but an attitude. She’s not a warrior, but a winner. She’s not about fighting against things, but finding the good she can do and doing it.

I’m all for fighting when it’ll do some good, but mostly I find I’m more effective (and so is everyone I’ve observed) when I find something to stand for and walk in that direction.

Are you fighting against things and maybe getting frustrated because of it? Or are you standing up for something that’ll make life worth walking through?

#gettingyourownlife #whilelovingthepeopleinit

In This Together,
Kim

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It’s An Attitude: make it an asset, not a disability

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“The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” Scott Hamilton

It’s easier to recognize a bad attitude in others than to convince a person they have one or to see it in ourselves. It’s like selective hearing. We ignore what we don’t want to deal with.

I figured this out several years ago during recurring arguments with a family member. We ended up at an impasse again and again that neither of us could figure out until one night I said, “It’s your attitude. It’s bad.”

Our behaviors were similar.

I listed things they did wrong. I focused on them when I should have focused on myself. I defended myself when the right thing would have been to apologize. However, at the end of the day, I was open to having a conversation, wanted solutions, and tried one more time.

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They sat scowling and with arms folded until the day they figured it out, “I didn’t realize until now how resentful I’ve been. I guess I should have spoken up instead of letting it build up.”

One of several problems with a bad attitude is it’s a hard thing to prove when the other person refuses to look at their part. Unfortunately, pointing out the obvious, explaining, lecturing, giving examples, playing courtroom, and fighting don’t help until the person with the bad attitude wants to change.

I was at dinner with a friend who frequently talked about how much trouble she has holding onto friendships. After a second glass of wine one evening, she told me about a couple of ruined business deals. The third glass of wine is when she shared she’d attended a retreat that focused on self-improvement and she recognized something about herself – she was arrogant. After drinking no glasses of wine myself, I recognized that our times together had gotten less and less enjoyable because of what she just admitted to, her bad attitude. I understood her failed friendships and business deals. She disclosed her problem, but she didn’t mention fixing it.

We all go through bad days and difficult situations and stressful times, but when these turn habitual and we’re all-around hard to be around, we’re likely to lose business and friends and even family. Not much wears down a relationship like a bad attitude.

The other piece to this equation is the person who puts up with the bad attitude and adds to the problem.

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We can help turn people we care about into monsters by seldom confronting their behavior until it’s out of hand, and then becoming monstrous ourselves when we fight to change them back into kind people (if they ever were).

The quote at the beginning reminds me of teaching disabled children mainstreamed into my classroom. I watched in awe the ones who tried hard and showed gratitude even when their needs were high maintenance. I felt guilty about the disabled children I disliked until I noticed it wasn’t about the disability they couldn’t help, but the one they could change – their attitude.

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Here are a few insights that help me avoid becoming disabled by a bad attitude, my own or someone else’s.

 

  • Think about what behaviors make for a bad attitude. We don’t all agree. Some people think sarcasm is funny. I hate it.

 

  • Decide what we need to change. There are those of us who need to hear and heed, “You have a bad attitude. Change it.” The other half of us needs to know we can’t be kind enough to initiate a change in someone else’s bad attitude. By trying, we eventually get frustrated and unkind too.

 

  • Answer these questions to figure out what to change, which sometimes means changing a relationship status to inactive for a while or forever. Do we both want the relationship? Are we both willing to work at it? Are either of us feeling sorry for ourselves or blaming the other person? Are we both willing to talk and to listen?

 

  • Evaluate if there’s anything else I can do to fix or improve my attitude or offer help for theirs. We’re only helping them when they ask for help and want it. Otherwise, we’re enabling. We should avoid working harder on their attitude than they’re working at it because this never works.

 

  • Recognize we all have an attitude. Make it a good one as often as possible. Hang around others who do the same. Good attitudes rub off. So do bad ones and they’re harder to shake.

I’m harping lately on how we act and who we hang around since these matter wherever relationships matter – at home, the office, church, on the road, at the post office, everywhere.

Are you disabled by your bad attitude or by someone else’s? If so, how can you help yourself? #gettingyourownlife #whilelovingthepeopleinit #selfcaringin2017

In This Together,
Kim

Finding Ourselves in The Struggle (while looking for “the thing” that works)

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“Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.” Jacob Riis

You likely have friends like mine who jump on the latest, greatest, and fastest quick fix whether it’s a vitamin, book on tape, nutritious juice, blog to read, advice about drinking 13 gallons of water, Bible study, get-rich-quick scheme, revivaled church, diet plan, exercise plan, or life plan, and they talk about it ad nauseam.

Yeah, they drive me nuts too, but I get ‘em because I’m one of them.

It’s like I’m on a trampoline and bouncing from thing to thing to thing. Each time I land, I’m sure this is the fix for getting my own life. I’ve struggled through all that’s gone before, but I’m convinced I’ve now arrived, right in the middle of highlighting a book that arrived yesterday from Amazon.

I’ve finally happened upon the thing.

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That is, until the next latest, greatest, and fastest quick fix comes along.

For a couple of years now, my search has been for the thing that spurs enough inspiration to complete my manuscript. I enthusiastically promoted Michael Hyatt’s Influence and Impact Summit, convinced that was it. I posted daily about the high profile speakers and their motivational presentations. In hindsight, the summit was “all that had gone before” (from the quote above), but it wasn’t the hundred-and-first blow.

Even though the hundred-and-first blow (the thing we’re searching for) comes about because of the search, I easily tire and become exasperated with searching for and anticipating it. Maybe you do too.

And maybe figuring this out last week will help. Here it is. I figured out that it’s in hindsight I recognize I’ve found what I’m looking for.

Soren Kierkegaard said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

When a friend posted a story about the importance of taking ourselves seriously, as well as the impact of that attitude on finalizing projects, I thought, This is the attitude change I need to move my manuscript toward completion.

In other words, this is the hundred-and-first blow. It is the thing.

My next thought was, Hear I go again.

I resisted talking about the article like I’d done with Michael Hyatt’s summit. Well, except my one mention in my last blog post. I decided to wait and see. Otherwise, I’m caught up in the information instead of initiating it. If I complete my manuscript in light of the author’s insight, I’ll give credit and tell all about it. If not, I’ll keep searching. That’s pretty much how it works. #GettingYourOwnLife.

Even though we can’t bring about the hundred-and-first blow and we have no idea when it will happen, the quote offers hope that it will. It also says “all that had gone before” matters.

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In light of this, I’d like for us to …

Let go of the struggle.

Simply do the next thing without expecting it to be the thing, and know it matters.

Trust the thing will happen.

I can breathe a little easier. How about you?

In This Together,
Kim

 

Fix Your Face, part 2 (when you fall on your face)

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“Even if you fall on your face, you're still moving forward.”  Victor Kiam

“Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.”
Victor Kiam

When the deal fell through, I fell also.

On my face.

Literally.

Which is why in my last blog post I talked about the mom who told her young son, “Fix your face.” Her words reminded me that I couldn’t fix mine, and neither could anyone else except God, and, so far, he hasn’t.

It’s also why I wasn’t sure there would be a part two to “Fix Your Face” – I wasn’t sure I was willing to share the emotional pain of the fall.

When the accident happened, I was out to dinner the next evening in sunglasses and laughing with friends about tripping over the cement block in the coffee shop parking lot in Wilmington, N.C. I fell moments after finalizing details for a contract to franchise a dog magazine. Since the contract didn’t align with our talks, I was almost certain the deal was off. Even with evidence in writing, I didn’t love and respect myself enough to confront the discrepancies.

The fall represented that attitude – “not enough love and respect for myself.” So did the next year of my life that I spent hating the bump left in the fall’s aftermath. Knowing I struggled daily, my husband encouraged me to talk with a plastic surgeon about scraping my nose down to size.

“Not until I love myself the way I am, then I’ll consider it,” I said.

The bump wasn’t my nemesis; self-contempt was. I got up from the gravel knowing I needed a fix for how I let others treat me, as well as a fix for how I treated myself. In light of that reality, I began calling my nose the “love bump.”

The fall prompted changes that were, in hindsight, necessary to bolster enough love and respect like …  

  • Practicing gratitude (despite the bump on my nose) because my teeth were in my mouth instead of on the pavement.
  • Speaking up to people I didn’t like and people I did like and people. Any people.
  • Warming up to the idea that I was worth standing up one more time than I fell down.

The accident happened in 2007. Because of an invitation in 2013 from a friend (orchestrated by God, I’m sure), I had the opportunity to consult at no charge with a respected plastic surgeon. She said my nose was an easy fix. She also said there was a chance the bump would callous after surgery the same as it did after the fall, and it may possibly grow back and possibly grow bigger.

Our appointment ended, but not before I reflected on my commitment, “Not until I love myself the way I am, …” Instead of reconstructing my outsides, God had worked inside. I wish he had opted for both, but the inside job was most important, for sure.

When I left the surgeon’s office, I knew I was closer to being fixed than if I had signed up for surgery.

How often do we opt for a quick fix instead of lasting results? What’s manifesting outside of you that really needs fixing on the inside?

WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – I am more and more receptive to God’s reconstruction, and, no, not of my nose.

Fix Your Face, part 1 (and maybe the only part)

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"Every man over forty is responsible for his face." Abraham Lincoln (Image from iStock)

“Every man over forty is responsible for his face.”
Abraham Lincoln
(Image from iStock)

“You better fix your face, young man, and you better fix it now,” said Mom to her son who looked to be about four years old.

I turned from the clothes rack where I was shopping to see a little boy shuffling behind his mother. He pulled his hood over his head, crossed his arms, and pouted out his lips like I do mine when life isn’t going my way.

His face tickled me and so did his mom’s orders. But I also understood his pain, especially when his mother threatened to take away the next day’s fun activities. Her warning reminded me of the pity trap I fall into when my own face needs fixing, but I’d rather feel sorry for myself.

The little boy’s scene looked a lot like God and me when I talked with him last October about relocating closer to our kids and our first grandbaby. Circumstances made it obvious the answer was “no.”  

I pouted. I cried. I accused God of taking away my fun.

The scene also looked similar to the day, just a few weeks later, when I heard the news that our son and future daughter-in-law were moving for two years to Oklahoma City.

Again I pouted. Again I cried.  Again I accused God of taking away my fun.

And when __________  (I can fill in the blank with any number of situations when God’s will hasn’t aligned with my own, and I’ve pouted and I’ve cried and I’ve accused).

But those times are a changin’ because I am a changin’. I’m fixing my face and I’m fixing it now.

Here is my “powder room” list:

  • I’m practicing being satisfied with God’s answers in light of choosing “content” as my word for 2014, knowing that he always knows best. Yes, always … trust me, I’m going on 56 years of hindsight.
  • I’m recapturing my faith. Thanks to friend, Lis Morgan, and her word “recapture,” I’m focusing on and praying for the restoration of the faith that I once lived by (but lost) for at least a portion of those 56 years.
  • I’m saying grateful things more than griping, and I’m again daily making a 13-item gratitude list.

Does your face need fixing? Are you fixing it now? Care to share tips from your “powder room”?

WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – I believe the quote from Abe Lincoln and I’m working on my makeover now.

Think an Attitude, life is the way we think it

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“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Winston Churchill

Funny thing is, when I posted the quote on Facebook, I typed, “Attitude is a little think that makes a big difference.”

I’m not suggesting we alter Sir Churchill’s words, but how big a blunder is this, really?

Our attitude typically is determined by our feelings, and our feelings by our thoughts.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “stinking thinking.” Those “little thinks” can become a big stinkin’ attitude in no time, and the other way around when we’re thinking positive.

As difficult as they are to change, disparaging thoughts racing about are as destructive as a runaway train. Each one of us is accountable even when it seems impossible to control our negativity.

Practice

It takes practice. It’s also easier to release a reckless thought when replaced by a reassuring one.

During the period when our daughter dated a questionable character, my head conjured up all sorts of unsettling ideas. Sometimes I couldn’t adjust and my attitude went haywire right along with my head. My thinking led to a few disagreeable moments in our home. Most times, though, I quieted my thoughts by asking for help, “God, calm my fears and guide her choices.”

Years later, she shared that her breakup with the guy happened faster because her dad and I were supportive.

Do you have thoughts that need reining in?

WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – Enough right “thinks” and you’ve got yourself a well-thought-of attitude.

Life in Big Girl Panties

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"Put on your big girl panties and deal with it."

“Put on your big girl panties and deal with it.” (Photo from iStock)

“I wanted to call you so bad a few months ago and say, ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with me.’ But making the call didn’t feel right. Instead, I put on my big girl panties and said, ‘Deal with it.’”

My daughter shared this yesterday while we talked on the phone into the afternoon – a rarity these days because of our long distance relationship and busy schedules.

What was wrong, which she figured out on her own, was it took more effort than she wanted to put forth to rid herself of a troublesome character trait and make a much needed job change.

Sounds pretty typical for most of us, doesn’t it?

I was in nearly the same spot as my daughter and for similar reasons. Instead of putting on my big girl panties, I whined to friends, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

One friend said I was making too big of a deal out of my circumstances. Maybe I was. So what?

Another insisted I spend thousands of dollars and fly up North to take part in a weeklong counseling session where she happened to work as a counselor. Otherwise, she was too busy to take my calls. Well, I was too busy to fly to Pennsylvania.

Two friends told me I was lucky because their problems were much worse, however, at that very moment, I was only thinking about mine.

Reaching out for help is a credible action during difficult times. However, when help isn’t available, sometimes the answer is “Put on your big girl panties and deal with it.”

Have you been through hard times alone, when family and friends weren’t available? How’d you handle it?

Write wHere I’m supposed to be – When I finished pitching a fit (if you’re new around here, I do a lot this) and adjusted my attitude, I followed my daughter’s example. She starts her new job next Monday, a good sign that big girl panties work.