Posts Tagged With: communication

Personal Thunderstorms


Have you ever had one of those seemingly endless seasons when you’ve gone through an incredibly rough time? You know, it’s not just a bad day, but it’s like you’re standing under your own personal storm cloud. We become completely engrossed in and preoccupied by the trial we’re facing. So much so, that we can’t see or enjoy the people around us.

As an empath, I sometime fight to resist taking on the struggles and pain of others. My heart genuinely breaks for those being mistreated, suffering abuse, or battling addictions. Thing is, people are rarely going through the same thing at the same time. For each of us, there is usually no storm “harder” or “worse” than the one we’re currently facing. And I get that.

In truth, we vary so much from circumstance to circumstance and from history to history (how we grew up or the particular experiences we’ve had), that one person’s thunder storm could easily be another person’s slight drizzle.

One thing I’m sure of is that every person’s struggle is different. And we never really know what someone is actually going through. Even if on the outside things look fine. We can’t always see the turmoil within.

So I would just encourage us to show a little more compassion to our family, friends, and colleagues. Be kind…

…on purpose.

Because we never know how hard it may be just to get through the next minute for the person standing right in front of us.

Categories: relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Static Intersections


Ever have one of those conversations where it seems like the more you try to explain, the more confusing it gets?

“No, that’s not what I meant.”

“See, you’re not hearing me.”

“I never even said that!”

“Wait, let me start over.”

You know, there comes a time when you realize and have to accept that your explanation only serves to further frustrate the person to whom you’re talking. For the most part, I try to avoid those moments whenever possible. The good news is that my wife and I are usually very good communicators. We talk A LOT. And that truly helps mitigate any potential misunderstandings. The bad news is that even under the best circumstances, confusion will sometimes still manage to creep in unaware and I have to step back, see it for what it is, and just laugh.  See, I’ve realized that I have to make a very serious decision once a discussion arrives at the intersection of confusion and frustration.

Doh! Life would be so much easier with a hovercar.

At this point, I find that it’s better to re-evaluate the wisdom of pushing ahead and risking hurt feelings or anger. Besides, the love I have for my wife outweighs any selfish need to win a debate. In those moments I ask myself a simple question: Why?

Why am I doing this?

What exactly am I trying to prove?

Emotions can sometimes cloud the thought process. So I have to first understand and be clear about the purpose of what I’m saying, for myself. Once I determine why I’m having a particular discussion, it becomes a whole lot easier to convey my point without emotional distraction. Meaning, I cease trying to hammer my wife down with my perspective or somehow convince her I’m right by aggression or volume. I can put my ego and pride aside and either diffuse the situation or let it go altogether.

This works for online conversations as well. Just sayin’… 😉 

Categories: marriage, relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

English, Thou Art Cruel


You may have heard this before. But there is good reason to despise the English language. Especially for non-native speakers! Thing is, I love to write. I really do. So it pains me to admit that sometimes my writer’s block stems from loathing the English language and all of its dysfunctionally absurd “exceptions” to established rules of grammar. Follow me for a moment…

  • WOMB is pronounced “woom” and TOMB is pronounced “toom”, but BOMB is pronounced “bahm”.

Oh, uh… okay. :-/

Image result for wait what

  • A “pair of glasses”, a “pair of scissors” and a “pair of pants” actually refer to one item or article. But a “pair of shoes” refers to two items.  It could be argued that you’d look pretty silly with only one pant leg. But I think you’d also look pretty silly with only one shoe.

Here is a list of words that at first glance you would think rhyme. Think again. All of them are pronounced differently. ALL. OF. THEM.

Tough
Trough
Though
Through
Thought
Thorough

  • Colonel is pronounced “kernuhl”. So Colonoscopy should be pronounced “kernoscopy” right? WRONG.
  • It would also stand to reason that “take out” should not be “brought home”, but yet, it almost always is.
  • If one person doesn’t “show up” for a “showdown”, it ain’t gonna happen.
  • A “flight of stairs” involves no air travel whatsoever.

Oh, and don’t even get me started on Contranyms. That’s a can of worms even the most confident native English speaker would find disconcerting. If you dare, here’s a list.

Yet, I persevere. Because my love for writing outweighs my disdain for the words from which I must choose. 🙂

Categories: commentary, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Fishing For Compliments


fishing for complimentsSome people are starving for compliments.  This is nothing new, especially on social networks. You know how it goes… in person they’ll throw those not-so-subtle hints out there, fishing for the compliments by baiting you with something like, “Aww fooey… my hair is an absolute mess. I can never do ANYTHING with it.”, teasing it playfully while hoping you’ll respond with something like, “Now come on… your hair it isn’t bad at all, it looks amazing!”

They’re funny things really… compliments.  I mean, sometimes one person’s compliment can be another person’s insult.  For instance, you’d be putting your life in danger telling some women they’ve gained weight, while telling some men the same thing might really stroke their ego.  Gender discrepancy being what it is…

But I still wonder… what makes a compliment effective? If you tell me you like my cooking, I’d appreciate it… but telling me you like a song I wrote would mean a world more to me.  I’ve noticed that for some people, the only compliments that really seem to matter are the ones regarding their appearance.  I suppose they need ongoing affirmation about how attractive they are (or they think they are, as the case may be).

So I’m curious, do compliments matter to you? If so, which would mean more… if I told you that I think you’re beautiful, or saying I love your intelligence?  …acknowledging your prowess in a certain sport or ranting about how well you write?  …or maybe it’s hearing that you have wonderful sense of humor, as opposed to hearing that I appreciate how organized you are?  Hmm…

Compliments… are they an absolute necessity or just a luxury?  Maybe it’s a combination of both.

Categories: opinion, Query | Tags: , , , , , | 15 Comments

Confessions of a Bibliophile


I’ve talked about my love of books several times in previous posts on my blog. So I don’t think it’s any secret that I have a tendency to devour them any chance I get. Lately, I’ve grown quite fond of audiobooks as well. With a life as full as mine (with work, church and 5 children), it becomes increasingly difficult to find a chunk of uninterrupted time to dedicate to actually reading a tangible book. My solution of late? I’ve been resorting to audiobooks that accompany my commute to and from work each day. It has been a wonderful supplement to my voracious appetite for good fiction. It allows me the convenience of exploring new worlds and environments without forfeiting quality time with my family or shirking other responsibilities. What I’m finding out most recently is that I am often influenced by the book’s content in my everyday life.

For instance, I was reading (well, listening to)The Last Survivors” aka “Moon Crash” trilogy by the wonderfully talented author Susan Beth Pfeffer and after getting halfway through the first book, I went home and had a lengthy discussion with my wife and kids about having an emergency preparedness kit, and then deciding on an action plan for reuniting if a catastrophic disaster should ever befall us and we’re all in different places.

Anyway, I am now listening to/reading (and hold your judgements please ;-)) the Fifty Shades trilogy of books. While some of the subject matter (and let’s be honest, quality of writing) is questionable, I am finding myself a little more cognizant of certain influences when it comes to intimacy, communication and being forthright about my desires and expectations. My wife does not mind the additional tools I’ve acquired through this process :-P. For me, reading books can be both entertaining and somewhat of a treasure hunt, where elements of the story can be applied in real life.

Now, I’m a mature man who is completely capable of gleaning the best parts of a story for practical use and leaving the dross safely tucked away between the pages. But it did make me wonder if other people are influenced in this same way. It also made me realize the importance of certain literature being reserved for those who are mature enough to handle its content. I guess this is similar to the potential influence of video games and violent movies on young children. Certainly some things are best appreciated for their entertainment value when we get older. But as a bibliophile, I look forward to the treasure hunt in the next book I listen to or read.

Any suggestions? 😉

Categories: personal, stories, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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