Words

“The Second Edition of the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary contains full entries for 171,476 words in current use, and 47,156 obsolete words.” English Oxford Living Dictionary

Wow! Almost 200K words! That’s a lot! One would think that with all those words we would understand each other better, but we don’t. One might also think that words wouldn’t be able to hurt someone. I mean they are just words right? They’re not like guns, knives or swords. Those have bullets or sharp edges that pierce our skin or other organs and can make us bleed.

Words can’t exactly pierce someone’s skin. However, they can sneak into our heads, creating negative self talk that can be just as lethal. Some words can puncture a large, gaping hole in our hearts too. So how is it that words hurt us sometimes worse than other weapons that can pierce our skin and organs?

Imagine me saying any of the following to you. “You’re dumb, stupid, ugly and a loser. You’re a racist, a sexist, a misogynist, and a homophobe. You’re a Republican, a Democrat, a socialist, a liberal, a conservative, a communist, a nationalist, a nazi, a fascist, a right/left wing extremist. You talk/dress funny.” How do those words make you feel? Hurt? Angry? How could I say those things about you? I don’t even know you. Simple I don’t have to know you. You believe/say “this” about “that”. You do “that” because of “this”.

We throw words around like this all day, every day without thinking about how the other person feels. We do this at work, at home, in school, in the grocery store, and especially on social media. To make matters worse, we lash out at the person who said those things or we take it out on the next person we see whether it’s a stranger, a friend or a family member. All this does is keeps the cycle of anger and hatred going.

Ask yourself this question. Do you like being angry all the time? I don’t know about you, but I sure know I don’t.

When we throw these kind of words around we are also practicing something called identity politics. Identity politics is contemporary shorthand for a group’s assertion that it is a meaningful group; that it differs significantly from other groups and its members share a history of injustice and grievance. It’s a way of always reacting to some type of racism or inclusivity through division.

Now, imagine I say these words to you. “You’re smart, funny, beautiful, kind, and caring. You’re a darling, a sweetheart, an angel, a peach or a doll. I love the work you do, the things you say, and the beliefs you have” Those words make you feel pretty good don’t they? Why don’t we start using these words and others like this? Instead of tearing each other down, why don’t we begin to build others up for a change?

I have a challenge for everyone reading this, especially if you’re someone who throws around negative words all day. Starting today, I challenge you to say something nice to someone, or lots of someone’s. Watch that person’s reaction. See how it makes you feel. I bet it will make you feel as good as it would if someone said those things to you. Go ahead. Give it a try.

Thought for the day: Perhaps this quote says it best, “If you proposed to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind?” ~Buddha

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Imagine…

“Imagine there’s no countries … Nothing to kill or die for, And no religion … And the world will be as one. Imagine no possessions … No need for greed or hunger … Imagine all the people, Sharing all the world…” ~ John Lennon

When man first walked the Earth, he worked and cooperated with his fellow man. Somewhere along the way, one person hurt another somehow and another person became afraid of another person somehow. From these events, negative feelings and actions like hate and discrimination were born. These feelings and thoughts continued thru the millennia and many wars have been fought because of this and other reasons.

When we were young, many of us learned either our Higher Power’s teachings or the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself”. We were not created to hate, discriminate against or fight with one another. We we born to love and care for one another. Through the millennia each generation, religious faith, and ethnicity has dealt with hate and discrimination in different ways. Verbal and physical fighting, warfare, peaceful and violent protests, and so on.

For there to be peace in the world, it’s important for us to learn and practice Spiritual Principles like patience, respect, acceptance and tolerance for one another no matter what our race, religion, or socio-economic status is…everybody everywhere. It’s also important to embrace our similarities. It’s time for those who believe in love and living peacefully with one another to rise up and raise our voices louder than those of hatred. No fighting and shouting over one another. Let’s talk to and with each other.

Thought for the day: It is possible to end much of the anger, hatred and discrimination in this world. As Trent Shelton says, “It all starts with you”.

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React vs Respond

“When you react, you let other control you. When you respond, you are in control.” ~ Bohdi Sanders

Humans have the tendency to act impulsively when they are hurt or angered. Many, MANY times those impulsive acts wind up being demeaning, harsh, and just plain mean and spiteful. And many, MANY times we regret our actions in the heat of the moment.

I’ve always been somewhat impulsive. I couldn’t count how many times I’ve regretted my actions when another person has hurt me or made me angry. Before I do something out of spite or aggression I need to stop and think if I’ll regret the consequences later. If I punch someone in the face or break something that belongs to them, can I accept the consequences?

I call this playing the tape thru to the end. If I think about acting negatively, I ask myself, “Do I want to get arrested, or go to jail? Would I like it if that person said or did it to me? Do I want to burn a bridge with that person if I say or do something horrible?” Probably not. It’s much better if I walk away and return another time when cooler heads prevail, if at all. When I do this I’m not saying the other person is right or wrong. I’m saying that I choose not to jeopardize or ruin the relationship any more than it already may be. In some cases I’m saying that I’m more mature.

Thought for the day: Sometimes I have to wonder if perhaps if more people would think before reacting or responding there would be a little more peace in the world.

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Making Amends

“I think in most relationships that have problems, there’s fault on both sides. And in order for it to work, there has to be some common ground that’s shared. And it’s not just one person making amends.” ~ Steve Carell

In any relationship, whether it’s family, friend or lover, there will always be times of turmoil. It could be about anything. I’ve learned that conflict is what helps us grow. At the same time, I’ve learned an equally important lesson. Making amends, or making things right with the one who you hurt. Anyone can say they’re sorry. At the same time, sometimes when we say we’re sorry, we hear back “You’re sorry alright. A sorry (bleep).”

To make an amends, we admit we were wrong and leave it at that. Just like a friend reminded me of what an old “Dragnet” investigator said, “Just the facts ma’am.” Nothing more, nothing less. No justifying or rationalizing our behavior. “I apologize for doing that. I was wrong.” is all that needs said. And, perhaps most importantly, we need to change our behavior too. Making amends means nothing unless it’s backed up with changing our ways.

One thing to remember is this, not everyone will accept our amends. Sometimes we hurt people more than we realize and they don’t accept our amends for whatever reason. That’s ok. Remember we can’t control anything or anyone but ourselves and our reactions. We can’t make someone forgive us. We can only do our best today and leave the rest up to our Higher Power.

Thought for the day: No matter how good we try to live our lives, we will inevitably hurt someone in our life. Be sure to make amends promptly and back it up by changing your ways.

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Toxic People

“Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.” ~ Rumi

Ever notice how some people in your life bring your down no matter what you do? You get good grades or a pay raise and you’re told that you could’ve done better. You clean the house real good or good an awesome meal and your told that it’s not good enough. These are people who are considered toxic people are they’re not good for us. They may be family, friends, or lovers.

I learned some time ago just how toxic these people can be in my life. Throughout the years I’ve had people who’ve either torn me down or done other things in my life to hurt me, especially the ones who’ve gossiped about me. These people have wreaked havoc in my life or made me feel angry or depressed.

With all the negativity in our World today, we need to build each up more than ever. I’m not saying that we need to say nice things to everyone. Helpful criticism builds us up. By that same token, each of us needs to be less thin skinned. We need to realize that when someone give us helpful suggestions that they’re not trying to be mean. They’re trying to help us.

Thought for the day: Today let’s start building each other up instead of tearing each other down. At the same time, get rid of the people in your life who are toxic in your life. You deserve better than that.

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Times Change

Has this ever happened to you? You are in a relationship with someone and for whatever reason it doesn’t work out. You part ways with this person and don’t see or hear from them for quite some time. Years pass and the winds of change blow. Then one day, circumstances pave the way for the 2 of you to reconnect. You try to pick up where you left off but it doesn’t work. One of you is left with a broken heart.

I know that I can identify with this. I’ve had this happen at least a couple times in my life. I can also see that I’ve changed a lot in my lifetime. I’m not the same person that I was at 15, 25, 35, and even at 45 years old. My views on life, my morals, values and principles have changed, along with what and who is important in my life. My physical body has changed considerably too.

In recent history this has happened to me twice. With one person, we had been friends for a number of years and had seen each other as just that – friends. We stumbled upon a time when we saw each other in a different light. Then, just as quick as it happened, it was over.

Next came someone I was friends with and had a brief relationship a number of years ago came back into my life. Recently we toyed with the idea of rekindling the old flames. For whatever reason, that relationship didn’t work out either.

And one other relationship I had with someone for most of my life may look pretty on the outside but is very, very ugly on the inside. No matter how many times or things I tried to make things right with this person, it was never enough. For my own peace of mind I had to end whatever was left of that relationship.

I’ve come to understand that as humans grow, we learn more and more from and about each other as we go thru the stages of life. Other people and circumstances continuously mold and shape us over time. So that best friend you had in school but hadn’t seen in a number of years has changed on some level. That old friend may even be a person you don’t even recognize now. Today, perhaps that person wouldn’t be your best friend but they may be just a friend. Maybe you wouldn’t be able to stand that person today.

The same thing is true of our romantic relationships. Only now, besides our behaviors and attitudes changing, quite often our bodies change too. This is especially true as the years go by. That muscular boy with the 6 pack abs you knew in high school or college might have sagging muscles, a bit of a belly and a receding hairline 10 or 20 years later. Maybe that pretty girl with the perfect body, hair and beautiful face might be a few pounds heavier with grey hair and wrinkles. Or maybe that healthy boy or girl you knew now has some sort of a condition, illness, or disease that may or may not be curable.

If we really and truly want to reconnect with that person we haven’t seen in a long time, we need to look at how that person is today. We need to ask ourselves if we can embrace this person for who they are and how they look today. While that may sound superficial, it’s not. Especially if you combine those outer looks with the inner looks. It actually all boils down to love. Can we love this person for who they are today, grey hair, wrinkles, a few extra pounds, warts and all? Is this person compassionate, loyal and loving? If the answer is yes then you have a foundation to rebuild that friendship or relationship.

A day like today brings all those memories back. Memories of my childhood with my friends and my family and all the fun things we did together. Memories of my young adult days and all the hell my current best friend and I caused along with our excursions. Memories of my marriage and the good times we had. And of course all the people who’ve come and gone in my life and the events or excursions I’ve enjoyed.

Thought for the day: Something I stumbled on that I wrote last year in regard to change and memories which is very true…

Tho the good memories come rushing back with a song, a picture, an unpacked item, etc. They are quickly replaced with newer memories. Memories that either replace the good with a whole lotta heartbreak or vice versa. Yea, whatever happens is for the best. Yea, the bad is gonna get better. And yea, there are going to be times when I feel anger, rage, and hurt. I, however, come from a line of VERY strong women, I WILL PREVAIL over this!!

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Heroes

“Heroes are ordinary people doing extraordinary things.” ~ Gerard Way

One fall afternoon, I met a woman who became my hero. She didn’t wear a cape or tights or a special uniform. She wore a nice outfit from her closet. She was friendly at first but, as I got to know her, she saw thru baloney and she saved me from a life of certain doom.

She knew me, rather what I’d become, because she’d seen many people like me. She was my counselor. She was no ordinary counselor tho. She was a chemical dependency counselor on the chemical dependency rehabilitation unit at our local hospital and she was one tough cookie. She gave tough love to those she counseled and loved to give us mountains of “homework” so we weren’t bored during our stay. This homework was kind of like a mirror held up to our faces. It made us think about the things we’d done to ourselves, family and friends. Despite the hard work she gave me the first time, I asked her to be my counselor when I landed in rehab a 2nd time.

One snowy day in January 2013, I heard some bad news and wrote following on social media…

“Just found out last nite a dear friend past away this past weekend. She was the woman who gave me the tools to turn my life around & helped me so much in my darkest hours. I owe the beginning of my new life to her & wait to rejoin her spirit when it’s my time. Martha, you were truly an inspiration to many lives & will be missed.”

Thought for the day: Each of us has had someone who saves us from bad mistakes or changes our lives around. Some people call them angels in human form and others call them heroes.

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