Archive for July 27th, 2006

July 27, 2006

Healthy People

by Rod Smith

Healthy people (differentiated people) manifest (or have) many, but not necessarily all, of the following characteristics:

(Rate yourself, not others)

1. They can relate to and relax with people of all ages, races and persuasions – they are accepting.

2. They can mourn after disappointments and losses and, after a time, rise up and face similar challenges again – they are resilient.

3. They have done what is possible to understand their childhood and, despite past trauma, take responsibility for what they are becoming – they are responsible.

4. They are humored by their own foibles and saddened by cruelty they see around them, but they do not lose hope – they are optimistic.

5. They are aware of the pattern of the cycle of life and they welcome the transitions from each to each – they are growing.

6. They are eager to learn about other people, relationships, life and the world – they are engaged.

7. They can enter the world and the experience of another, listen, appreciate and value without passing judgment, offering advice or wanting to modify what they see – they are intimate.

8. They have a few friendships of mutual vulnerability and deeper intimacy with one other person – they know others and are known.

9. They are involved in mutually satisfying relationships with immediate and extended family and have a rich family of choice – they are connected.

10. They are at peace more than they are unsettled, they can be calm in a crisis and can go without company when it is necessary – they are anchored.

11. They live and love deeply, they learn to trust and forgive deeply – they are passionate.

12. They can listen to others without speaking, and from the multiple voices around and within them, they can distinguish the voice of the sane and deliberate self – they are listeners.

13. They are regularly involved in hands-on service with people less fortunate than themselves – they serve others.

14. They can follow the instructions of others, when necessary, and take on tasks that benefit the community – they are followers.

15. They understand leadership as a role, not as a position, so they lead when it is their function to do so – they are leaders.

16. They know how much they need and do not need others and how much others do and do not need them – they are interdependent.

17. They can identify their own boundaries and become aware of the power and the restrictions of these boundaries – they are self-regulating.

18. They can see clearly that they have both strengths and weaknesses; yet, as much as is possible, they live from their strengths – they are empowered.

19. They achieve their personal and career goals while becoming more intimate with others – they are maturing.

20. They do not expect a problem-free or crises-free life, but through facing smaller problems as they occur, they equip themselves for whatever life brings – they are prepared.

21. They can talk themselves down when anxious, pull themselves together when afraid, gather their internal resources when threatened – they can self-soothe.

22. They can tell the truth to themselves and others – they are honest.

23. They acknowledge the role and assistance of others in their journey and development – they are humble.

24. They easily accept and indeed enjoy the differences in, and uniqueness, of others – they are tolerant.

25. They feel neither superiority nor inferiority in relation to all other people, perceiving themselves as truly equal members of the human community – they are free of prejudice.

Rod E. Smith, 1999, Copyright

July 27, 2006

Love is Listening

by Rod Smith

Love cannot be pretended. Nor can the art and skill of listening. Feeling loved is feeling heard. To listen is to profoundly love. If I say I love you then I am saying I am willing to hear you. I am willing to hear even the things I would rather you would not say. If I am truly loved I will be able to say, appropriately, the things that you would rather not hear.

Anyone willing can be a better listener, and therefore, a better lover.

When someone you love wants to talk, if you have no intention of listening, rather say so as kindly as possible. This, in itself, is an act of love. You will have overcome a hurdle of good listening: honesty. There will be times when you will not be available. In the same way, you too will not expect that others will always be available to hear you.

Listening, like love, has no tricks. It is genuine interest, expressed. It is entering the world of another, modifying nothing. It’s embracing the experience of another simply because of their intrinsic value apart from anything they might (or might not) be able to do for us.

When you listen, the angle at which you sit does not matter very much. If you are not listening, the other person will know. The depth of your stare into another’s eyes or the sincerity of your facial expression will not do it. People thousands of miles apart, connected by telephone or by mail can really hear each other. Others, seated on the same sofa, who are staring into each other’s eyes, can miss everything the other is trying to say.

Listen to your life. What is it saying? The words you use and the things you do, tell about the spiritual condition of your life, reflecting your heart. If you want to know about someone’s spirituality, listen to what the person says and the things he or she finds amusing. All behavior has meaning: the flat spin you are in and the endless hours you might spend at work, keeping you from family, mean something.

Listen to your life’s rhythms. Notice that some days you feel very healthy and things seem in balance: you can be sincerely nice to people. Other days are different! Listening to your life will alert you to when extra care in dealing with others would be helpful. If you cannot hear yourself you can hear no one.

When you feel intense emotions, listen intensely. Feelings are messages about the state of your life. They often bring helpful warnings. Try to understand what your emotions are communicating. A person can only deal with feelings when they are felt. Trying to deal with feelings when they are not felt is like trying to learn to ride a bicycle by looking at one. When you have understood your feelings, express them appropriately to someone you love. This is an act of love.

The effective listener listens to family members. If a person cannot listen to their partner, it is unlikely they will hear their children, or anyone else for that matter. Try to listen without waiting to speak. Leave your agenda for this time. Give your attention as a gift. Try not to argue, persuade or interrupt. If possible, listen by looking into eyes. Listen to body language. Take the focus off yourself. Is there anything a loved one is trying to say that you are not hearing? If what you are hearing is not pleasing to you, remind yourself that this is not your opportunity to speak. It is not your world being presented.

Listening does not mean that you have to be silent but anything you do say is an effort to clarify meaning. What you do say is not an attempt to steer the speaker in a certain direction or to have the speaker tell you what you want to hear. Listening is not interpreting what you hear but hearing what you hear. The goal of listening is to hear, not redirect, not elicit agreement, not moralize, and not teach. It has no other motive except to better understand the world and the experience of another.

Rod Smith, Copyright, 1998

July 27, 2006

A man with good boundaries……

by Rod Smith

A man with good personal boundaries will trust you so much it might feel uncomfortable, if in the past, you have dated less healthy (lower-functioning) men.

He also……

will not “fall in love at first sight” or even within a month, or very much longer
will not tell you everything about himself within the first few hours of meeting you
will not tell you all the details about his past relationships
will not expect to hear the details of your past relationships
will not blame others for things that do not go well in his life
will not be demeaning of your tastes, job, clothes, your status in life, even if his life is very different from yours
will not tell you how to dress (ever)
will not take your side against others when you might be right or when you might be wrong
will not insist on being right even if he knows he is
will not victimize you in any manner (even using humor)
will not want you to “spend the night” when you have just met
will not be rude to waiters or service persons no matter how bad the service may be
will expect you to have cordial interactions with your former romantic interests
will establish appropriate space from the outset and expect the same of you
will trust you to know what is sound and healthy for yourself, and expect you to to make your own sound assessments regarding whatever you face
will usually give generous tips even if service is not as good as it could be.