It was an awesome time in Franklin, Tennessee with new friends who traveled there from across the United States and Canada. It was my first face-to-face group event from Dan Miller’s Eaglepreneur group. Not only did we experience camaraderie, but it spurred a question we all need to ask. “Are you hanging out with the right friends?”
As we develop relationships with others, there are three qualities to look for: courage, curiosity, and calling.
The right friends are courageous
Since writing “Beyond Messy Relationships” I’ve been more aware of what resonates. I’ve been encouraged by most acquaintances, family, and friends. But there are a few who’ve left me feeling discouraged.
Of course, not all who’ve known me over the years are target readers for my book, Beyond Messy Relationships. Yet, it was a message I had to write. It was risky to be vulnerable. To practice what I’ve written motivates me to take deep breaths of AIR: Awareness, Intentionality, and Risks.
The group I met with in Franklin are not perfect people. But they are courageous friends. Our being together and hearing each other’s stories encouraged us all to be courageous.
The right friends are curious
We met at The Sanctuary, what Dan and Joanne Miller have named their dwelling. I was compelled to read Joanne’s book, “Creating a Haven of Peace.” Of course, I was curious about her’s and Dan’s 51+ year marriage. How did they create magnetic peace in their home? Why did others gravitate to this couple?
Everyone has a story. And it’s easy to make assumptions and make up stories in our minds about others. But when we take the time to be curious, we connect. And we become more aware of ourselves. We allow others into our lives and create sacred space between us.When we take the time to be curious, we connect. Click To Tweet
Curiosity is the opposite of judgments and assumptions. It’s a remarkable gift to ourselves and others when we take deep breaths of AIR with attitudes of curiosity.
The right friends tune in to their calling
My new friend, Teresa McCloy is an Enneagram expert. After our Eaglepreneur group event, I participated in her Real Life Process Retreat. When I heard her story, I was touched by her clear calling. Figuratively, she breathes life into others and helps business owners tune into their purpose and calling.
Are you hanging out with the right friends? Or a better question might be this. Are you the right friend with attitudes of courage, curiosity, and calling?Be aware, intentional and risk growing toward curiosity, courage, and calling. Click To Tweet
Your friendships may not be from across the United States and Canada. It doesn’t matter whether our friends are local or long-distance. But it does matter that we are aware, intentional, and take risks of growth. (Notice the acronym AIR?)
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ~ Maya Angelou
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As we reflect “peace on earth and goodwill toward men,” I’ve wondered how to really give the best simple presents. There’s three things to consider as we prepare for Christmas. They are ways to honor this sacred time and give the gift of ourselves. Memories and expectations along with our perspectives can interfere with our gift-giving. Loving eye contact along with a prayer for peace enhances the best simple present we can give.
Memories and Expectations of The Best Simple Presents
Memories of Christmas pasts and expectations of friends and family can be overwhelming. As a child it’s easy to believe Santa comes down the chimney and brings presents. But, as adults we learn to guard ourselves against pain. Our beliefs turn to distrust, negativity, and avoidance where there’s perceived danger. And sometimes, we’re up against not just perceived, but real emotional harm. The wonder of life no longer seems wonderful as we move through relationships.
Let’s remind ourselves of the phrase “good will toward men.” Of course, we interpret “men” as all human kind. In this special season, we celebrate the coming of Christ. And let’s ask ourselves, what does that really mean?
Perspective Gives Us The Best Simple Presents
What if we could see the childlike soul of the person who holds discomfort in us? We may see a wounded, betrayed, hurt little boy or girl. Can we be open to see the substance of their being and look beyond their manipulation or rejection of us? If so, could we see their good will? If we could see their pain out of their own unhealed wounds, we could relate with compassion.
Loving Eye Contact Accompanies The Best Simple Presents
It’s not easy to make loving eye contact. Nor is it easy to believe in the goodwill of those who cause us pain. Yet, if we choose to hold onto our childlike faith, we can grow beyond our own woundedness. As a result, we allow the love of Christ and His healing touch on our own lives. We can give the best simple present of ourselves. Our souls are filled when we’re at peace with the life-giving meaning of “goodwill to men.”
An Attitude of Peace Makes The Best Simple Present
This prayer brought tears to my eyes more than once in my reflections of Christmas. May it touch your heart as you celebrate this sacred time!
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, union;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console:
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love:
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to
– attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi
It’s a continual process to balance how to be a soulmate without losing your soul. It takes attitude changes and pressurized reality to learn how to balance between “we” and “me.”
When we travel by plane, we’re used to hearing the flight attendant’s safety instructions. He or she usually says something like this.
“If there’s a loss of cabin pressure, the panels above your seat will open, and oxygen masks will drop down. . . Be sure to adjust your own mask before helping others.”
If we attempt to help others before adjusting our own mask, we may end up passing out. Then we can’t help anyone. We need to take that same advice for our relationships.We need to care for our own soul-needs before attempting to care for others. Click To Tweet
It takes attitude changes to be a soulmate
Marriages are like a pressurized cabin at various times. They are not so even-keeled. We experience turbulence and high altitudes. Storms and fair weather affect our differences. Our ears pop. The ride gets rough. We’re required to stay in our seats with seatbelt securely fastened at times.
Early on in romance, our differences are exciting, novel, and energizing. After marriage, and sometimes before, our differences can become outright annoying. That’s when they can escalate into major conflicts.
Other life transitions expose the soul storms of a marriage. Raising children, career development, loss, and core differences create turbulence in life. But we can get beyond messy marriages.
Many Christian couples vow, “The two of us are one.” It doesn’t take long to realize one or both are subconsciously saying things like this.
We two are one. And yes, I’m the one.
Or, in a patriarchal or what some consider a “biblical” marriage, a bride may live her life like this.
We two are one. And, yes, he’s the one.
As years go by, both lose opportunities to develop their character. They lose their individual selves as well as the relationship. One of them becomes invisible. The other one gets caught up in self-delusions. Neither has insights into their own souls.
Neither one attempts to adjust their own oxygen mask. They’re too busy trying to improve, fix, or help the other. They become bitter, resentful, angry and resistant. Their world gets smaller. They become stuck. Or, figuratively, they pass out.Life transitions expose the soul storms of a marriage. Raising children, career development, loss, and core differences create turbulence in life. Click To Tweet
It takes pressurized reality to be a soulmate
It takes two to honor each other and respect one another’s differences. And it still takes two to do that in a relationship. Here’s points to consider.
- Conflict is necessary for personal and relationship awareness.
- Don’t avoid it or run from it.
- Don’t criticize your partner or try to win them over to your side.
- Instead, be open. Listen to understand. There are more than two ways to resolve a conflict.
- Seek counseling or outside help to resolve resolvable conflicts. And to adjust to unresolvable conflicts.
World-renown researcher, Dr. John Gottman, gives us clarity. Sixty-nine percent of happily married couples have unresolved conflict. The difference between the “masters” and the “disasters” are this. The “masters” are the ones who adjust and accept their partner’s differences. The “disasters” allow perpetual resentment and negativity to grow.
Here are ideas on how to adjust our own soul mask
- Do breathe deeply when you feel reactive, irritable, angry, or triggered by your spouse. Slow down. You’ll get clarity when you do.
- Be curious about what’s going on inside of you. Ask yourself, “What’s unfinished in my life? Why did this situation or comment make me feel this way? What is the meaning I created from that interaction?”
- To increase self-awareness, reflect on this question: “How is my spouse experiencing me?”
- See your spouse as a gift from God. When you do, you can develop an attitude of thankfulness. You’ll nurture your soul and grow your character. Be willing to accept your spouses’ issues as helping yoube more understanding.
The cabin pressure of your marriage will change. Those oxygen masks will drop. Always adjust yours first. Balance the “we” and “me” in romance and marriage. Your beautiful life is worth keeping your soul intact.
I’m writing more on the steps for balancing the “we” and “me” in romance and marriage. So, let’s stay in touch in the meantime.
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