In this Issue
Tip of the Month
We all have days when we aren't feeling our best emotionally . . . times when we are sad, jealous, lonely, angry or just feeling sorry for ourselves. I don't know how to tell people to prevent those feelings from intruding into our normally happy life but I do have an antidote for them. Whenever you find yourself feeling something you don't want to be feeling, particularly self-pity, take a look around you to see all the things you have to be grateful for. If you are having difficulty doing that, then just imagine the reality of Albert Einstein who knew his priorities. He was a brilliant man . . . this we know. He developed many ideas to further our understanding of our physical world. But when speaking of what's most important, he knew we live for the most important people in our lives, when he said ". . . we know from daily life that we exist for other people first of all for whose smiles and well-being are own happiness depends." It's those special people who can transform an ordinary day into extraordinary. When we live with the realization we have created happiness in someone we care about, then that's a great day! Whose day will you uplift today?
Question: There are a lot of people on my team who say they are going to do things but then they don't follow through. I think the problem is they are volunteers. What can I do to help people follow through on their commitments?
Answer: Accountability is an issue in many arenas, not just the ones where people are volunteering their time. In Leadership Simple, Jill and Steve Morris write, "If there is no specific, explicit agreement, there is nothing to hold [a person] accountable for." And agreement needs to have 1) a specific deliverable, 2) deadlines, and 3) quality standards that were mutually created. When you think about the agreement you created with any of the people who didn't follow through, were any of these three elements missing? If so, go back and create the specific agreement. If they were present, then you may need to have a conversation with the person about whether or not he or she understands what you asking and how to get it done. If they don't, you need to explain again, demonstrate and train. Check the environment to be sure it will support what you are asking. And finally, have a conversation with the person about whether they actually want to do what they've agreed to. If motivation is the issue, you may have to point out the benefits of following through for the individual, yourself and the organization. If you can't think of any compelling reason they should want to do it, you may have to find someone else. Also, if they really don't want to do and you've provided a compelling reason, you may have to reassign the task.
November 2012 - Volume 8, Issue 9
“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers.
To view this newsletter on the website go to www.TheRelationshipCenter.biz/Newsletter
A Message from Kim
As the holiday is upon us, I want to wish all of my loyal subscribers wonderful holiday celebrations and special time with family and friends. Because of the work I do with our military members and their families, I am acutely aware of how fortunate many of us are who are able to spend special moments with the people who are important to us. Our deployed military are giving up their freedom so others can have theirs.
I have an article on Your Tango that talks about how people can use Thanksgiving to get over loss, particularly divorce. You can find it at http://www.yourtango.com/experts/kim-olver/how-thanksgiving-can-help-you-heal-divorce-expert.
This month's article is about forgiveness. While I am a strong advocate of releasing ourselves from negative emotions, I do not believe in the traditional concept of forgiveness. Read on if you are interested in a controversial view.
Our new product offering is now online. Empowerment Parenting for people court-ordered to parenting classes is available at: http://www.therelationshipcenter.biz/empowerparent.html. I feel so great about this offering with Choice Theory as its philosophical base. It does not punish parents, but rather builds them up and helps them understand the choices they have made while encouraging them to make different choices in the future for the sake of themselves and their children.
Free Your Mind, Open Your Heart &
Forgiveness is a topic that gets a lot of attention. Most people would agree that forgiving others is a good thing to do but why?
First we need an agreed upon definition of forgiveness. Some people say that to forgive means you let go of the hurt, anger and frustration caused by another individual. It is definitely important to let go of hurt, anger and frustration so you do not poison yourself with negativity. But to say another person causes this in you, is a fallacy. No one can make you feel anything without your permission. So, let go of the negativity but stop blaming others for it.
Others will say that to forgive means you pardon the offenses of another person. I don’t believe one person is any better than another. So what gives anyone the right to decide another person is in need of forgiveness. Isn’t that decided by a higher power?
And finally, some people think forgiveness means to restore the person to the level of trust that existed prior to the “offense.” This article was not written with trust in mind. I believe to forgive someone is best thought of as releasing yourself from negativity and taking responsibility for your own feelings. I tend to "trust" everyone that shows me who they are. I believe them when they show me. I don’t expect people to be something I want them to be. Rather I trust them to be who they’ve shown me they are. That’s not to say that over time, I can't learn to trust something different if I am consistently shown something different but I do not intertwine the concepts of forgiveness and trust.
Let’s take a look at three difference injurious situations.
In Situation A, someone hurts you inadvertently. A person did something without knowing and caused you pain. Maybe you like someone and he or she doesn’t like you back. Perhaps your friend has been so absorbed in her own life she has neglected to contact you in weeks.
In Situation B, someone hurts you, knowing that their actions will cause you some difficulty but does it anyway. Someone spoke badly about you behind your back. Someone promised to be in an exclusive relationship with you and they spent intimate time with someone else. You wanted a friend to do something important with you and he or she decided to do something else instead. Maybe someone even told a lie about you.
In Situation C, someone deliberately sets out to cause you great pain for the enjoyment of it. Let’s say someone physically attacks you, hurts someone you love as a way of destroying you or destroys something near and dear to your heart hoping to hurt you.
The severity of the offense is different in each case. In Situation A, the offense is unintentional, in Situation B, the offense is likely but not premeditated and in Situation C the offense is obviously deliberately hurtful and premeditated. How does one get from hurt, anger, upset, and mistrust to forgiveness? I’m suggesting that there is nothing to forgive. Let’s see if you agree.
In Situation A, you have a preference and someone in your life is not complying with your preference. In essence, he or she is simply living their life the best way he or she can. Do they need to be forgiven for that? Have they done anything wrong? You may have hurt feelings, but who is responsible for those feelings? No one can MAKE you feel something you don’t want to feel. I suggest you take charge of your feelings when you are experiencing an emotion you don’t want to feel and change it by changing what you are doing or what you are thinking. Remind yourself that this person has every right to live their life the way he or she wants to and you need to adjust so the actions of others do not cause you pain.
In Situation B, a person in your life is still doing what he or she wants to do seemingly without regard to how it will affect you. Is it really a person’s job to make decisions about their life based on what would make you happiest? Even if that person is your spouse, your parent, your child or best friend, he or she has the right to make their decisions on how they choose to live their life based on what’s best for them. Sometimes a person may pride him or herself on how kind they are thus causing them to choose the path of least conflict for others but they do this not because of your wishes but because that is the person they want to be. Does a person making difficult decisions in their life really require our forgiveness just because he or she didn’t choose the path you would have liked them to choose? I say not.
When we put ourselves in the position to forgive another, aren’t we really saying, “I’m better than you. You obviously did a bad thing and now I hold the power of forgiveness over you. You are in a bad place until I decide to ‘forgive’ you for wronging me.” There really is nothing to forgive. Again, if you allow yourself to be hurt by the actions of others, then isn’t your responsibility to right that emotional pain? What right do you have to bestow your forgiveness on another person. Are you God?
Now, I realize this last Situation C is a bit stickier. Imagining someone physically hurts you or someone you love intentionally with malice in their heart, do they require your forgiveness? I say there is nothing to forgive (realizing that if I were in that situation I am certain I would need to remind myself of this.)
Once we understand that everything that happens in our lives contains perfect balance, then there has been no injury. The worst thing that has ever happened to you, also contained elements of extreme positivity if you have a mind to find it. Tragedy also brings a gift, a lesson, or an opportunity for you when you open your eyes and look for it. When you can accept that all things are in perfect balance, then this wrong you are experiencing is neutralized with the equal positivity also contained within the event if you are willing to seek it.
When we believe there is something in our lives we must forgive, we are saying we have been harmed in some way. I say you can inoculate yourself from this harm by taking responsibility for your feelings and not giving that power away to someone else, and by recognizing the ultimate balance in all things.
That being said, if you are carrying anger, resentment, and pain with you from the actions of others, I believe it is extremely important to rid yourself of that poison. If you see that as forgiving the person who wronged you, then so be it. But I believe you will be infinitely happier when you can awaken to the idea that forgiveness is no longer required because you have either allowed yourself to be hurt by another or you have neglected to find the balance in a challenging situation. When you do, you will realize there is nothing to forgive and you can proceed with a clear and open heart.
Mars and Venus Together Forever
I'm sure many of you read John Gray's legendary book, Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus, but have you read Mars and Venus Together Forever? Dr. Gray wrote this book to help people develop the relationship skills needed to maintain the committed relationship once you find one. He writes about how men and women speak different languages in relationships and helps them learn to do the translation. He list the seven secrets of lasting passion, and he'll tell you what women need the most and what men really want. I didn't think this book was as revolutionary as Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus but it definitely has value if you are in a long-term, committed relationship and you want to get the spark alive.