Tag Archives: Relationships

Don’t be Quick to Accuse; Research First


 

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

 

Jumping to conclusions is, I believe, part of being human. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to RESPOND with that jump to conclusion without doing your homework first to be sure that your “jump” isn’t going to land you in quicksand.

Don’t be so quick to make accusations without researching a problem, issue or situation and gathering all the information you can to make an informed, adult decision – and therefore, appropriate response. By making accusations and judgment calls instead of asking questions and seeking evidence, you may damage or even destroy a relationship, whether personal or professional. And along with that, the level of trust that existed in that relationship may be difficult to regain.

Now, people who know me well may say that I’m the pot calling the kettle black. But if those same people are paying close enough attention, they’ll realize that in most cases, I don’t just throw out accusations or spout off without doing some thinking and research first. When I DO respond to a person, or situation, it’s with some facts to back up my position.

I have a temper, and historically, have been quick to judge and offer my often unsolicited opinion (well, I still do that, but it’s usually from a place of experience and knowledge instead of just wanting to hear the sound of my own voice). I also am about as far from “politically correct” (an oxymoron, if I’ve ever heard one) as you can get and still be somewhere in the realm of “tact.” In the past few years though, I’ve been striving more to consider the thoughts and feelings of my fellow humans (you’re welcome), by applying The Golden Rule to my responses and opinions.

In case you’ve forgotten the meaning of The Golden Rule, it’s simply this: to treat others the way you wish to be treated.

Here are a few things that I’ve learned to employ that help me with this:

  • I write out my “rant,” either in the notes on my iPhone or in a Word doc on my computer. This helps me word vomit my feelings and jumps to conclusions without need for editing or considering how harsh or sarcastic my language. I know that THIS version will NOT be shared with anyone, so I’m free to be my most instinctive self in this medium.
  • I pray about it. I know that praying should be first, and quite often it is, but there are times that I’m so angry or so hurt or offended that my default engages…my default is to write. So often I pray while I’m word vomiting. Whichever comes first, I usually do both.
  • I “vent” to my mother. Sometimes this venting session is immediate, sometimes it’s after the word vomit, if I need a voice of wisdom. I thank God daily for my mother! She’s been my sounding board for years, and I trust her more than any other human on earth.
  • If there is research to be conducted or education to be obtained (the issue is political or religious or scientific or some such), then I research multiple sources across the spectrum so that I at least have an idea of what I’m talking about. If there is no research to be gathered (it’s a personality conflict or difference of personal opinion with a co-worker or a friend, etc.), then after the word vomit, praying, and sometimes after the venting session to my mother, I’ll sleep on it.

I’ve discovered that all of this is important to my mental health. Recently I’ve discovered that if I don’t set boundaries with people, when my knowledge and experience are challenged (I don’t mean that people are asking my qualifications, I mean they are flat-out accusatory or demanding something I’ve already stated is either beyond my abilities, or impossible within a certain timeframe), I experience mini panic attacks. I HATE panic attacks! And the more birthdays I have, the more often these mini panic attacks happen if I don’t set proper boundaries. Therefore, the older I get, the less nonsense (“nonsense” as defined by me) I’m willing to put up with, the less compassion and tolerance I have for peoples’ drama (“drama” also as defined by me), and the more bridges I’m willing to burn.

These are all reasons WHY I employ the above steps before responding in most situations. As much as my knee-jerk reaction is to flood my social media and text messaging with hurricanes of sarcasm, virtually burn bridges both personally and professionally, the part of me that’s still in touch with reality in those moments realizes that by giving into those thoughtless reactions, I will end up marring my integrity and (mostly) good reputation. And my integrity and spiritual and mental health are more important than the momentary satisfaction that comes from a hurricane of sarcasm.

 

How about you? What methods do you use to avoid knee-jerk responses and less-than-thought-out reactions on social media or in private emails or text messages?

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Filed under Anxiety, Emotion, Family, Friendship, How To, Life, Mental Health, Real Life, Relationships, Research, Sarcasm, Writing

Lessons for Life: The Golden Rule


No matter your race, religion (or lack of), gender or creed, the greatest “rule” ever created, thought of or implemented, is the one dubbed “The Golden Rule.” In its simplest, purest form, it charges us to treat others the way we wish to be treated.

Yes, it is a verse from the Bible (so Atheists and other non-Christians may believe themselves exempt), but it’s also the best law I know of for life. Just think of all the evil that would cease to exist if we as humans – ALL humans (WITHOUT qualification or equivocation) – treated other humans – ALL humans (again, WITHOUT qualification or equivocation –) – the way we wish to be treated. So much pain and suffering could be eliminated.

Sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, gender, culture, opinion, politics, nationality, creed (Did I forget anything?) have NO bearing on The Golden Rule…at least, they SHOULDN’T. The Golden Rule transcends them all.

This is the one idea I have been force-feeding my son from the day he was born. Sometimes I think he actually gets it. Other times, he says, “I treat other people the way they treat me.” *sigh*

That’s not the way it reads. But why should I be surprised? Society’s voice is sometimes louder than a parent’s voice. And that is a tragedy. This idea/law/life-lesson isn’t based on RESPONDING to OTHERS’ treatment of US. It is meant to be OUR FIRST ACTION. And THEN, our reaction.

Yes, I do realize it is sometimes (often?) a bitter pill to swallow. As humans, when we are mistreated or betrayed – or PERCEIVE we’ve been mistreated or betrayed – our knee-jerk REACTION is revenge. Instead of finding – or creating – something positive from something negative, we feel justified in tossing away The Golden Rule, because the betrayal or mistreatment has released us from responsibility of our own actions.

I get it. I have the same problem. Especially since I have a temper. Many a bridge has exploded (never mind the burning) behind me due to my temper and REACTION without consideration. Most of those bridges have never been rebuilt. And I have life-long regrets.

And here we come to the heart of the matter. The Golden Rule is applicable ONLY to OUR OWN ACTIONS. (Mind. Blown.)

As much as I would like to, I ultimately cannot dictate my son’s actions and reactions. He may be a minor according to society and the laws of the USA, but he is still a living, thinking being with free will. All I can do is TEACH him the right actions, give him consequences for the wrong choices, and praise him for the right choices.

The ONLY person I can control is MYSELF. And sometimes I fail. That doesn’t mean I stop trying, throw in the towel. No. I get back up, dust myself off, and try to do better next time. And the next time, and even the one after that. As long as I draw breath, I need to strive to treat others the way I wish to be treated. It is my mantra.

 

What is/are your view(s) on The Golden Rule? Do you think perfect adherence would make our world better, safer, more peaceful?

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Filed under Life, Parenting, Real Life, Relationships, Writing

This is Why I Think I’m Done with Online Dating


Photo source: Unsplash.com/Cristian Newman

Photo source: Unsplash.com/Cristian Newman

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet and interact with an intelligent, tall, handsome man my age… Online… eHarmony.com to be exact.

Over the past few years years, several people – including, more recently, my therapist – have recommended dating sites as a way to meet a potential “life partner,” since I’ve not had much luck with that in real life to date. Don’t get me wrong, I know A LOT of men who fit the bill – both in my religious/spiritual circle and co-workers. But (apparently) no mutual attractions…unless these guys are REALLY shy…and if they’re my age and shy, well… I’m not the woman for them.

So a few months ago I renewed my lax eHarmony membership and also joined match.com. (Two such sites should be sufficient, right?) I had a few “bites” and interactions on both sites, but nothing really blipped on my radar until this particular guy.

We went through a few rounds of the getting to know you questionnaires on the site and I was becoming cautiously optimistic. His answers in the latest round were quite nice and complimentary of my profile & photos…he’s attracted to me, yada, yada, yada… (Maybe I should’ve allowed my cynical side to the forefront at that point?) So when I responded with my answers to his questions, I naturally expected that we would venture into the next level of communication. Later that day, I received a notification that he’d read my responses. So I was awaiting his reply.

After a couple hours, I checked my messages and discovered that “he’s moved on.” The man obviously didn’t like something I said or the way I said it…would’ve been nice to know what it was…I’m not ashamed to admit that I took it personally (because, well, it WAS personal). I had already become emotionally invested in this guy I met online and knew next to nothing about. And then eHarmony proceeds to tell me something to the effect of: but that’s okay, because you’re closer to finding the one. (Way to be sympathetic, eHarmony.)

Online DatingReally? Just because HE isn’t “the one,” doesn’t mean any of the other guys you’ve “matched” me with will be “the one” either. Frankly, the idea of meeting someone online instead of in real life and trying to build a relationship with no real-world-in-person connection – or worse, when a guy says “Hi, I like your pics. Want to get together this weekend?” (Umm…NO! Where’s the foreplay?!) – makes me feel like I’m teetering on the edge of a cliff over a bottomless pit with no safety line. (Dramatic, yes… Have you met me?) It’s enough to know that finding “the one” means putting a large portion of my happiness in human, fallible hands. (I have trust issues…just in case you didn’t figure that out already…) Sure, I have lots of online male friends – on Facebook, for example – whom I’ve never met in real life, but the potential is always there to do so someday. Meanwhile, we’re getting to know each other without the pressure of time. I’ve known people for whom the online introduction and relationship building has worked and is still working. But I have a feeling that, as much as the idea appeals to me (after all, it’s simply a modern, cyber version of mail order brides and grooms), I may not be one of those people for whom it works.

I’m not sure how I’ll meet “the one,” or if I ever will…or if there’s even “the one” out there for me. Any number of things may have happened to him…or he may not exist other than in my imagination…I may have to travel half-way around the world to meet him (which would be fine with me, actually)…he may be married to someone else (very depressing possibility). God knows I’d like to meet “the one,” partly (okay, mostly) because quite often being a single woman of a certain age (42, if you must know) with a healthy sex drive SUCKS EGGS. (Have you ever tried to suck an egg? Especially a raw one? Very messy and unsatisfying.) But somehow I feel that if he’s out there, I’m destined to meet him in real life rather than via a network of wires and Ethernet. Or at least, if I meet him online initially, I think it’ll be through a mutual acquaintance or some such.

I think I’m done with online dating. I prefer the “organic” method: letting events play out naturally, without forcing them. Maybe I’ll meet “the one” during a stroll in a park or down a sidewalk or in a bookstore. Until then, I’ll do my best to leave it in God’s hands (a big deal for me, because faith and patience aren’t two of my best traits…but since my first foray into marriage ended in disaster, I’m determined not to make the same mistake again)…which, when it comes down to the nuts and bolts, is really the best place to leave my future husband. 🙂

Have you ever tried online dating? If yes, did it work for you? If no, why not? Please leave comments below.

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Filed under Anxiety, Life, Musings, Online Dating, Relationships, Romance, Sarcasm, Writing