Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say

The whole of life is about saying what we mean and meaning what we say.

But it’s worse than being duplicitous if, by doing so, we upset people.

We can only be blessed in saying what we mean and meaning what we say when we have oriented our hearts toward love. And to love, suchlike, is to consider everyone more important than the self.

Having achieved a heart for others through the blessing of the Lord, we are then primed and positioned to say what we mean and mean what we say – because truth is worse than hopeless when without love.

It will take a special courage of vulnerability with ourselves to risk the exposure of our own feelings in saying what we mean and meaning what we say.

We can only manage such a task, that requires a fullness of consistent and selfless love, when we are in sync with God, for only by God have we the vision of what can be achieved – a life replete of virtue.

To say what we mean is loving when others are blessed. To mean what we say is our commitment to truth.

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For a Christian meaning what we say and saying what we mean is vital. We are people of integrity as much as we are people of the Book. Indeed, the Book is about the integrity of virtue. If we miss that, we miss the whole purpose of grace. Grace gives so that others might receive; Jesus on the cross and resurrected, one man, for all. The Father’s grace for each one of us.

Our grace – which is to say what we mean (to speak the truth in love) and mean what we say (of and in love) – is the measure of our submission before God.

Our grace is the epitome of the Father’s grace – to put our needs on the cross and crucify our desires so others’ desires may be satisfied. It will cost us to say what we mean and mean what we say from this backdrop.

Our grace is the fortitude of our being knowing we are nothing now without Christ, but we are everything now with him.

To say what we mean and mean what we say is our privilege in a life that is blessed by God when we realise it is how we are to love people with the truth.

If we say what we mean and mean what we say, all in love, we will go far in this life.

Serve Your Community

If life is unbearable for you, and you are constantly worried about the future. If you are unemployed and you do not know how you are going to support your family. If you do not have the money to cover your bills, nor can you pay the rent, and you are in danger of losing your home. If you are in danger of having a heart attack or you might have a stroke because of all the problems bothering you. There is a solution for all this.

Take your mind off your own problems, and serve your community. If you have clothes, food for the day, and shelter for the night, then you are better off than eighty percent of people all over the world. I do not have the statics to prove this, but I have read it somewhere a few days ago. Serving your community, there is a special blessing in this. It does not matter how you serve your community, but it helps to take your mind off your own problems for a while. And you notice that other people are much worse off than what you are. What I strongly suggest is feed the homeless and destitute. And do so with your own money, there is a special blessing for the person who gives knowing that the homeless have no way to pay you back. And do not expect to be paid back anyway.

When you serve the homeless and destitute, do be judgmental about them. Unless you know them personally, you do not know how and why they ended up in this situation in the first place. Also, treat them with respect; everyone deserves to be treated with respect unless you did something heinous and despicable. Do everything you can to give them dignity. Because with dignity, they will obtain self-respect, then they will treat you with respect. I know that you earn respect, it does not just happen, but you earn respect by giving respect. With humility, treat people as if they are your own family. Older men, treat them like fathers. Older ladies, treat them like mothers. Always show respect for your elders no matter what situation they find themselves. And take them home to your house and give them shelter for the night. If this is difficult for you to do, imagine being in their shoes, where will they get shelter in the cold night?

The best solution for your worries and the problems that are bothering you, the best solution is to take your eyes off your problems for a while. You will see that your problems are not as difficult as you imagine after all. And you will clearly see the solution to your problem. But the trick is, serve your community. But especially the homeless because they have no way to repay you for your kindness. And the very reason why there are homeless people is for you to learn to exercise kindness and respect for your neighbor.

How to Communicate Effectively With Negative People

The world is full of people who can bring about positive change in our lives.. people who can fill our days with new and rewarding experiences.

Unfortunately, from time to time, we encounter people who are a little more difficult to interact with. Enter The Grumpy One. Their negative comments or actions bring about stress, annoyance, anger or worse. Whether family member, co-worker, client or friend, it can be exhausting to keep up appearances. Worse than that, it can be a strain to constantly keep your temper under control. It’s no secret that I have a short fuse so trust me, I get it.

Short term solutions like avoidance aren’t always sustainable and usually just cause more feelings of anxiety and stress. There may come a time when confrontation is the only next step, and no other solution presents itself. Before initiating any confrontation, consider what you would like to say to that person. Try to be objective rather than defensive and avoid any judgmental language. Don’t try and play the part of the victim, just be honest and straightforward.

Most importantly, calm yourself before you start any conversation. Personally, I need to re-read that three or four times. These issues should not be addressed when you’re angry, or things will escalate. If the person you’re confronting happens to get angry, don’t let their emotions or actions affect you – always try to keep yourself in control. Express yourself assertively and always be direct, but never mistake that with being rude.

It’s important to clearly explain to the other person how their actions directly affect you. It’s equally as important to understand the motivation behind their actions. Ask them to explain why they’re saying and doing these negative things and try to understand their point of view. Try to help them see your point of view. Asking them lots of questions may help to shift their perspective or encourage them to find a more positive way of expressing themselves.

If they’re open to your opinion and want to come to a compromise consider that a great first step towards a more healthy relationship. On the other hand, if there is no forward movement or resolution, gracefully let the situation go and move onward with your life. Don’t let a negative person take positive energy away from you, or damage your well-being.

A lot of positive change can happen when people take the time to listen and come to a compromise. Just remember that not every situation will end with a positive outcome and it’s important to know when to walk away.

The Dynamics of Consistency

Over the years, I have given a careful study on why some people do not succeed or what makes them fail to achieve their desired goals. As much as I could not find more relevant answers, but what I discovered from my toolbox were: impatience, ignorance, lack of exposure. You know that the extent in which we can go depends on the amount of information we have, likewise, exposure is a befriending eye opener life requires. I observe that there are people who have for one reason or the other decided to be alone, be themselves, coupled with a lifestyle of getting easy provocation, not giving ears to what others are saying about them, whether good or bad, they feel they are uniquely made, as a result they do not need relationship. Well, that might be right to some extent. However, you need to look and see how far that person can go in life. Life in its entire making is dynamic and we must follow the trend. l have come to realize that no matter how small salt is, it is very important in the body chemistry. One needs to hang around somebody in order to be connected to another height or level.

In the same way patience is a high ingredient of life. “Patience is a person’s ability to wait for something out or endure something tedious, without getting riled up, complaining” Patience is an incubator and always hosts treasures for hope, while hope produces reality for life. Consistency is a lubricant and an oil that generates power. A story was shared about a wicked king who never listened to anybody nor received advice from anyone. There was a poor Widow in his kingdom who had debtors to settle and no one to help her out. She decided to run to the king for assistance, irrespective of his autocracy. She kept repeating the palace often shamelessly. One day, the king gave himself an advice and said, “though I do not listen to nor take advice from people but the constant visit of this poor Widow to my palace is wearying me down, can’t l solve her problem so as to let me be? l will do something for her before it is too late. An example of patience is someone standing peacefully in a very long line. Here are few things that make consistency dynamic:

Social consistency: It is a little bit hard to find people with ability to bear one another in the social context of life, reason being that people believe in the theory of first impression. However, there are some who do not know how to package themselves at the first instance, but as time progresses, we discover good things in them that can shape our lives better, only that they need a little more time from us to realize that beauty in them.

Health reasons, one’s ability to slow down from reaction has a natural healing force to the body. Most cases of heart attacks, sudden death, blood pressures arise as a result of not adjusting to issues, inability to resist challenging circumstances. It is a dead fact that nature has made those things to be and they need to happen and our reaction cannot change them, In addition, there is nothing new under the planet.

Goal achieving: “He who endures unto the end the same shall be saved”. Also, “a quitter never wins and a winner never quits”. There is a ransomed reward that awaits for a consistent performer. Move forward until you achieve your goal because your goal is your gift.

Transformation reasons: Everybody by nature, has the ability to generate transformation. You can do it too because it is in you. People need changes and that cannot happen on the corridor of indecision, anger, easy provocation. It takes enough of tolerance and consistency to transform and change things. One good truth about you is that you are a catalyst for a change. You can’t afford to forget this, you need to revive the spirit of consistency in you before it is late.

Think Before Criticising Others

Everyone desires success in life. Some earn it by working hard while many people derive by pulling down others through criticism and wicked methods. Most of us grow impatient and rude when things are not moving as per our wish and plan. That culminates in chiding and blaming others though the real reason remains elsewhere. Think a while about the consequences if the other person also gets reactive. Both will clash in a duel ending up in bitter expressions and emotions: Ultimately, spoiling the otherwise cordial relationship. Especially, when the criticism emerges from an inexperienced and undisciplined person, it wrecks havoc on the person who is well experienced and more disciplined. Such incidents are regular in an office. The main reason behind such behavior is that we want others to be perfect though lacking in ourselves. Majority of us feel happy to point out the mistakes of others, but fail to notice what we do.

Misbehavior on one occasion cannot make a person bad. Many of the crimes are borne out of circumstances. A wrong conviction makes a person repeat the crimes. That’s why a Court of law gives sufficient time to the accused to prove the truth and circumstances of the crime before pronouncing the judgment, but not based on the circumstances alone.

Two types of criticism are commonly found in our life. Anything that evokes a favorable response from the criticised person is termed as Constructive or positive criticism. When the driver of a car jumps the traffic signal, a gentle owner would causally rebuke, “I know you are a good driver but the traffic signal doesn’t.” If any criticism affects a person resulting in adverse reactions, then it is called as Destructive or negative criticism. A school teacher condemned one student for not paying the fees. The latter committed suicide leaving a note of anguish over the incident.

Criticism for even silly reasons is a sadist approach. That actually earns disrespect and humiliation from others. We can criticise others only when it is essential and that too, in a polite manner not to affect their self-esteem. Denunciation before others makes a person feel embarrassed and ashamed. Remember, the same situation will also come to us.

Nonetheless, a person admitting own mistakes will always succeed in life as he uses any criticism as a stepping stone for his progress. He lives happily also without the burden of carry-over and repenting in the future for his mistakes. So, Think twice before accusing or scolding others. The renowned American author Dale Carnegie said, “Any fool can criticise, condemn, and complain, but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.”

Taking Advantage of Our Loved Ones

Romance isn’t just about receiving a big box of chocolate eggs from your partner – who has also taken the opportunity to wrap his other “present” with red ribbon. A healthy and fun relationship is about communication, and the more time you spend with your loved one the more important it is that both of you are open and honest with each other. The longer you are together the more we tend to take each other for granted. It’s not necessarily something we plan to do, it just tends to be a consequence of our hectic lives.

We are all so busy, with work, with our families, our kids, sports and hobbies. Finding the time to catch up with work colleagues and our closest friends can be challenging, trying to find quality time with our partners can be even more difficult. At the end of the working day all we want to do is sit down and relax, but the kids and the pets are going to start climbing the walls if they don’t have something substantial in their tummies.

Dinner, showers, washing and ironing, the kids homework… sometimes we work harder at home than we do in our places of employment. At least at work most of us are entitled to a 10 minute coffee break or a half hour lunch to take a moment and allow our brains to slow down. At home it seems never ending, and the younger your kids, the less time you tend to have for your partner or yourself.

We all have our own internal ‘crap-o-meter’, and when we feel we are reaching it we acknowledge the need to remove ourselves from the situation and take a well earned break. Take a cup of coffee, a glass of wine and perch ourselves on the back porch steps. Aagghhh… in these moments we tend to call for our partners to come to the rescue “Can you bath the kids?”, “Can you help the eldest with his maths homework?”, “Can you feed the dog?” anything your partner can do is great and allows you more time to unwind.

Now most of our partners are fabulous and pull their weight around the house, but no one is super human. We get tired, and at times we simply need our partner to do more than their fair share. However, there are times when we place too much burden on the shoulders of our loved ones. Asking for a little help is one thing, expecting them to do everything is not fair and will only lead to misery and possibly even grief. We don’t want to push our partners away but we have to be mindful that we don’t expect to much from them.

Not only do we not have super human abilities, we have not found the answer to immortality. Life is bound to knock us down every now and then and we are susceptible to life’s illnesses. We can’t help but lean more on our partners. It is at these times our loved ones will do everything they can to support the family, cook or order dinners, bath the kids and be the emotional tower of strength we need them to be. But most of the time we are all fit and healthy, to expect our partners to cook and clean all the time is unfair.

When we enter into a relationship it is because we love everything about them. We adore their spunkiness, their quick wit, their adoration and above everything we love them. Their personality; their brain, their body and their soul. To take advantage of our loved ones and use them because we simply cannot be bothered is just not nice. We all get tired, and it’s in those times we work as a team.

Remember why you love your partner, communicating, paying attention and gratitude will go a long way and only make your relationship that much stronger.

Make Gratitude Your Attitude

Zig Ziglar said, “The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more things you’ll have to express gratitude for.” He also said, “Among the things you can give and still keep are your word, a smile, and a grateful heart.”

As a new high school violin student in the 11th grade, arriving in the second semester at the North Carolina School of the Arts, NCSA, in Winston-Salem, I attended my first music theory class on my first day of school. The teacher said to me, “There is no way you will pass my class!” After classes that day, I was quite depressed and went back to the dorm. That was the day I met my neighbor, Lois Artis, a wonderful trombonist, marvelous academic student, with a positive motivating attitude, always willing to help others. We talked for a few minutes and I told her what the teacher had said to me. Lois replied, “I will help you and you will do well in her music theory class.”

Lois patiently helped me understand the material, while doing laundry, so that I did well in the class! She knew, even at that young age, how to “lift” others up to realize their potential. She was a leader even in high school and understood how to develop a team. I will forever be grateful for her help.

In Mr. S’s English class in high school at NCSA, I met Bruce Lemerise, a terrific artist, and illustrator, with a brilliant mind. We enjoyed discussing the assigned books and plays by Shakespeare that we read for class and our collaboration produced the top grades in this class.

We would discuss the psychological dimensions of the characters and write thoughtful papers on our discussions. Bruce went on to study art in New York City and I went on to the Juilliard School and we continued our friendship and our discussions on books, art, music, and the theater.

When I played my graduate recitals at Juilliard, Bruce said, “How you walk on and off stage is really important.” So he made sure I practiced walking on and off the stage with my shoulders back and my head held high and balanced on my spine walking with my viola and my music. He also had a friend who did stage makeup show me how I should properly make up for the stage. Bruce knew how important first impressions were and wanted me to make a great one.

Bruce later worked as an illustrator/artist for Pepperidge Farm, NestlĂ©’s, Ogilvy & Mather, Avon, Durkee Spices, MGM/UA, Western Publishing, Woman’s Day, Ogilvy & Mather, Country Time Lemonade, and other companies. He did Broadway posters, and greeting cards.

Bruce Lemerise also wrote and illustrated a children’s book called “Sheldon’s Lunch” dedicated to his mother, Marie Lemerise. He illustrated A Golden Book, “Can I Get There From My Room?” and “The Big Little Golden Book of Funny Poems”. Bruce sent copies of these books for my children to enjoy.

In 1988, Bruce Lemerise died. He was a wonderful person who cared about his family, his friends and loved to draw and do illustrations. I think of him often and am so grateful that he was my friend.

As a student at the Juilliard School in New York City, I met Karen Iannotti, a remarkably gifted pianist. She was a beautiful young women, inside and out, with a warm personality always willing to help others. We lived at the Coliseum House in New York City on 228 West 71th street. We were neighbors and became good friends and enjoyed playing concerts together.

A writer friend of ours had written a one act play which he premiered at Sardis in New York City for backers and Karen and I played the background music for the play. One of the pieces was “Saber Dance” by Khachaturian which Karen and I wrote a marvelous arrangement for viola and piano. We had a wonderful time making music together and helping out our writer friend with his successful “One Act” play.

Karen Iannotti performed at Carnegie Hall in 1979 in a piano concert sponsored by Carnegie Hall, Inc. to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the birth of composer/pianist Louis Gottschalk. She also performed as a guest artist/pianist for the opening of the workshop and executive offices for Jim Henson Associates, “Moppet Show”. She was also the Musical Director and pianist for the “Bel Canto Opera Company” of New York City’s production” of “Prince Igor” by Borodin. During this time she taught many students and they learned the joy of playing the piano.

Karen was also a well-known accompanist for singers in Sara Lee’s Studio in New York City. When I wanted to study singing she suggested, “Study with Ms. Lee she’s the best voice teacher in New York City. She taught Todd Duncan who sang Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess”.” Karen played for my lessons with Ms. Lee. We had a terrific time. In 1983, Karen Iannotti passed away. She brought such joy to her family, friends, relatives, and students, by her warm caring personality and her beautiful piano playing. She was one of the finest people I have ever known and I like to think she’s up there playing piano for the angels.

So what are the 3 things you can do to say thank you to the friends, teachers, coach’s, mentors, parents, or relatives who have helped you?

1) Start your day by remembering and writing down the people who have made a difference in your life. Write them a note or call and thank them. Think of one person who has made a positive impact on your life and do something nice for them.

2) Honor a special person in your life on a weekly basis by acts of kindness to others.

3) Think of the people who have made a difference in your life and honor them in some way by sharing your appreciation by random acts of kindness to others.

“Of all the “attitudes” we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life changing.”~Zig Ziglar

So start a notebook today and enter the names of your teachers, mentors, coaches, and friends who have made a difference in your life and do something nice for them. Don’t wait. Do it now, before it’s too late!

Remember what Zig Ziglar said, “The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more things you’ll have to express gratitude for.”