We are all familiar with the “If you can’t say something nice…” adage, but how often to we put effort into leaving our lousy thoughts out of what we say?
Last week I was angry. Angry at someone I care a great deal about. Angry at the choices they had been making. Those choices felt unfairly selfish to me. When I voiced my anger to my friend Emily, she helped put things into perspective. Emily reminded me that the person I was mad at wasn’t necessarily being selfish; they were being human. Each decision they made was done so because they thought it was the appropriate choice for them.
Of course, Emily was right and I needed to quit being so judgmental.
This week, as I was taking a drive with my friend Chelsea, she was lamenting the overly critical nature of one of her family members. The nature of their hypercritical haptics was exhausting her. We came up with the brilliant idea that people should quarantine their fault finding fascination. The quarantine of unfair judgment and social criticism would be a great way to cure the world with kindness and understanding.
You’re basically a houseplant with more complicated emotions.
We do! We need water. We need sunlight. We are definitely emotional!
While we all have our basic needs, fulfilling those needs is often impacted by our ability or inability to take-in the required air, water, sun, exercise, and nutrition. Similarly, if we do not allow for positive encounters in our day or uplifting words in our speech, it’s really hard to squeeze them in later. After the sun goes down, you can’t exactly be like, “Hey, sun, could you come out and shine for just a bit? I missed you earlier.”
Have you ever built a fort or a playhouse out of a cardboard box?
Well, I have.
I have some pretty extensive cardboard construction experience from my own childhood and as I take part in the imaginary creations of my own kiddos. Anybody who has ever built a refrigerator box hideout will tell you that the secret to its success is in the door.
Cutting cardboard is hard work. It requires sketching the door with whatever pencil, marker, or crayon you can find. Then sneaking a steak knife from the kitchen or maybe Mom’s good scissors, and then you have to saw, hack, shred, and, without losing a finger or toe, trim out your new entrance. Of course the entrance never seems to follow the dried-out marker shape you sketched and maybe you got tired and your little sister had to finish cutting part of the door, and maybe, just maybe the handle accidentally came off Mom’s good scissors, so you took Dad’s pocketknife while he was napping. Whatever the series of events may have been, they all result in an opening of some sort.
Doritos are not allowed in my house. Not in the snack size, family size, or the party size. Doritos are not allowed in my house in any size, shape, flavor, or package.
I will eat them.
If I have Doritos, I will eat them. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.
On a camping trip this summer, I splurged and bought a bag of those delectable Doritos and said to myself, “I’m going to be on vacation. I want to eat like I’m on vacation.”
And I did.
A large portion of that bag was consumed by me. And a large portion of the next two days were drug down by a terrible stomach ache. (My stomach apparently does not share my love for those triangular treats.)
I would like to cordially invite you to have lunch with me. My desire for this lunch date is so sincere that you may choose the day, time, and location that works best for you.
You and I share some very similar interests. We both love to sing and love our nation. We share the belief that good leaders listen, stand up for what needs to be done, and that sometimes simple solutions are all that is needed to make big changes.
Your mom was a teacher, and I am a mom and a teacher. So we both value education and moms.
You’ve written and published children’s books and having children’s books published from my pen is on my bucket list. (Maybe you could recommend a good literary agent.)
You are much better at golf than I, but maybe you could give me some pointers as we dine.
A love of laughter and sincerity are also things we have in common, and I know we could both use a sincere conversation and laugh right now. (People tell me I’m pretty funny, so I’ve got that to bring to the table.)
We all have that one friend or family member who is just never happy. Whether it’s their job, love life, looks, or the air they breathe, they just aren’t happy.
I have been struggling with a friend like this lately. It is my nature to try to fix things when they are not working. The problem is I can’t fix my friend’s attitude. I can be supportive. I can be kind. I can continue to include that friend in social occasions and conversations, but I can no longer let myself get sucked into the constant vortex of the woe-is-me mentality. I have to free my mind from the belief that I can control someone else’s joy. It’s out of my hands; I need to stop letting it commandeer my mind.
Consider issues in your own life that are out of your control but still seem to hijack your thoughts or contentment.
Is there a situation that seems to unsettle you, but shouldn’t prevent you from being successful? Are there conditions in your life that let you down but should be the least of your worries?
“If it’s out of your hands, it deserves freedom from your mind too.”
Just be. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit my sister Robyn and just be calm and comfortable on her couch. The kids were in school. The husbands were working. Her dog Tammy was snoring happily between us. I told Robyn that I wanted her help with the Wise Words Wednesday post for this week.
My invitation was two-fold. One, I needed a post. Two, Robyn has been taking it easy as she is recovering from a recent procedure and this would provide some Intentergy into her day.
So when starting off a Wise Words Wednesday post, I need wise words. After sharing some thoughts that can not posted on this platform, Robyn tapped into her infinite reservoir of memorable quotes and said she her go-to phrase is “Just be.”
I know that 2020 has been a year of discomfort. And that’s not okay, but in reading Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly, I was kindly reminded that some of the greatest opportunities for growing and learning come from uncomfortable situations.
When speaking to her students about vulnerability and shame, Brené warns them ahead of time, “If you’re comfortable, I’m not teaching and your’re not learning. It’s going to get uncomfortable in here and that’s okay. It’s normal and it’s part of the process” (Brown 203).
This warning made me smile because it reminded me of the supply lists for incoming students to my English I class. After typing up and printing the nice, neat lists, I would carefully (in the scariest handwriting I could muster) write “FEAR” in red ink at the top of each list.
You can only imagine the delight I experienced in seeing the eager faces and ready hands grab at the waiting lists from the holder outside my classroom and then the quick flicker of surprise as that word“FEAR” registered in their already-panicking minds.
I think I speak for a lot of folks when I say that starting the day as a pandemic-exhausted parent has me feeling like Gandalf facing the legions of Sauron’s forces while also being Frodo seeking the best route up Mount Doom to destroy the Ring. I just want to make the bad stuff go away and bring about peace without too much destruction.
Just as Gandalf, Frodo, and their companions discovered, there are an awful lot of things looming in the way before we can make each day successful. Thankfully J.R.R. Tolkien provided many layers of inspiration for us in The Lord of the Rings series starting with, “There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”(A totally Intentergy way of thinking.)
To bring the full Intentergy spirit to this post I want to remind everyone that it’s good to not have just one “precious” person or thing that absorbs all our energy and attention. Keep your loyal and loving companions close. If you get lost, scared, or distracted, there are plenty of ways to turn a new page.
When it seems the world is completely off kilter and there isn’t anyone or anything that makes you feel like you have anything to offer, the best way to feel worthy is to surround yourself with people who value you.
I’m not sure if it’s my 41st birthday, or the new high energy (a.k.a. hyper-anxious) horse I just acquired, or the stress and chaos of the very-extended time my children have been home due to the Corona virus, but lately I have not felt worthy or successful. I have found myself questioning even my dinner choices and frantic over the potential of planning activities with family and friends. Apparently, my passion for planning has been hindered by the fear of making a wrong choice or exposing everyone to a potentially deadly situation with one penciling in of my calendar or preparation of turkey tortillas.
What I really needed were the wise words of Denzel Washington. “If you hang around 5 confident people, you will be the 6th. If you hang around with 5 intelligent people, you will be the 6th. If you hang around with 5 millionaires, you will be the 6th. If you hang around with 5 idiots, you will be the 6th.”