Archive for August, 2022

August 16, 2022

You have more power than you probably realize….

by Rod Smith

…….. and it all begins in your thinking and in telling yourself the truth about who you are:

You have the power

  • To plan your own behavior in response to all that comes your way.
  • To say “no” to requests and expectations that are uncomfortable for you.
  • To say “yes” to opportunities and possibilities that broaden your horizons.
  • To say give me some time to think this through whatever it is that needs more time and thought.
  • To say “I have had enough” when you feel you are being tested or tried unnecessarily.
  • To decide “I want a change” when you are exhausted and need time for rest.
  • To decide, “I will be kind, I will learn from this, whatever it may be.”
  • To choose to be someone who learns from all people and all experiences.
  • To choose humility and mercy as your part of your gift to a hurting world.
  • To choose to serve rather than to be served and will therefore never be short of work or opportunity.
  • To bring light to others and to lighten the burdens of others as far as you are able.
  • To do no harm to others and avoid errors of the past.
August 14, 2022

The big fears: abandonment, rejection, and indifference

by Rod Smith

Fear of abandonment, rejection, and indifference strike something primal in the healthiest of men and women especially if they (abandonment, rejection, indifference) travel together and act as a destructive gang of sorts. 

“She closed the door on me after loving me,” and he talks incessantly about it happening without explanation. 

“One day we were really close, and the next day, nothing. It doesn’t seem to mean anything to her.”

“Different choices,” was all she said, in a text.

I sit with a man unaccustomed to sharing his heart. 

I know when I am hearing a broken one. 

He’s finding it very hard to understand how this woman can so easily be willing to be out of touch when they’d invested so much time and energy being in touch. It’s the small details of life together, life shared, that were so important to them both and are still important to him that she seems to have forgotten they ever enjoyed. 

He is mystified she can operate her life as if he no longer matters, no longer exists.

He’s feeling the loneliness he feared, beginning to accept he cannot sway, persuade or urge her to return to what once was.

“I’ve moved on,” she said to a friend.

He will emerge from this. 

A little kindness would make it all so much easier.

August 4, 2022

Listening

by Rod Smith

Listening to each other takes discipline, patience, focus and self-restraint.

It is an act of love and commitment and respect which requires deep awareness of nuance, tone and body language. It takes commitment to maintain eye contact, reflect on what is being said so neither person gets lost in the words or distracted by surroundings or seduced by “hijack thoughts” where totally unrelated matters capture one person’s imagination and they’re gone, even if they appear to be listening. 

Listening is a way of honoring and validating and an indication that the person talking and the person listening is thoroughly human and worthy of time and investment in every respect. To listen to each other’s is to hear the words and then to try to hear what is behind the words and what is inside the way the sentences are planned and packed and punctuated.

It is to enter into the world of another and get closer to his or her heart and nearer to the place we may all be truly seen, validated, and almost totally understood.

If we want to be good listeners it takes at least as much practice and anything else you may want to be good at like golf or the piano or tennis, writing, or art.

August 3, 2022

Reduce anxiety

by Rod Smith

When you are under excessive stress of deadlines and unknowns and trying to pin down moving parts there are a few step you can take to slow the world down and to release or lower your levels of understandable anxiety: 

Always look for the big picture. Asking yourself questions and being brutally honest with your answers can help: How do I fit into what is going on? What is my role in this? How did I get myself here and what may it take to get myself unraveled or untangled from the quagmire I am facing?  

Always be determined to take a position of learning and humility. This means giving up the idea of having all the answers and of having to solve all the problems. If you were that good at solving all the problems and having all the answers you may not be in the position you are in. 

Be easy on yourself. You are not alone. The circumstances facing you need not define who you are now or in the future. While there is life and breath there is always hope. Share your issues carefully and cautiously with men and women who have experience in the matters you face and not with those who are likely to enjoy your dilemma for the mere intrigue.

August 1, 2022

Families are complex places

by Rod Smith

It is easy to sit in judgment of men and women who do dumb and hurtful things within their families. It is easy to jump to trite and self-righteous explanations as to why he left her, or why she found another lover, why he resorts to pornography.

One or two line clichés seldom explain complex human behaviors and misbehaviors.

Everybody is living a complex story, a story born out of his or her own family complexities which often span several generations.

I do not know, after many years of consulting with families, a single family that I would consider free of family complexities, no matter how idyllic things look on the surface.

Conflicts and breakups and abandonments escape logical explanations because they come from confused and painful and illogical histories. This is not an attempt to excuse hurtful behaviors but rather an attempt to promote patience and understanding, mercy and love.

Dig deeper, always dig deeper. Listen closely, very closely. People are always leaving clues about the unsolved or unresolved issues of their family of origin.

Men and women don’t wake up one morning and make a decision to abandon a spouse and children. The person who does this has been living on a volcano for years and might not even know it.