COMMUNICATION: Why can’t people think like I want them to?
My good friend Steve Haupt wrote a song called “It’s What’s Inside the Cup that Counts” and his point is everything (and everyone) comes in different colors on the outside, but it’s what’s inside the cup (or our hearts) that really counts. It’s a beautiful song for these tough times and I hope it blesses you to hear it. (What’s Inside the Cup; Words and Music by Steve Haupt; copyright, Steve Haupt 2020– contact firstname.lastname@example.org).
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Boy oh boy, people sure do like to talk. Good communication is really taking a hit these days as we are either spouting off an opinion or seemingly bragging about something– and often we are not taking the time to really listen to what people are saying. There’s so much “yelling” going on, it’s time to find a way to quiet our hearts in the middle of all of it.
Sometimes the loudest voices we hear are our own voices causing damage to us—I’m no good, I’m not doing that right, I’m fat, no one cares about me. Our own self-talk is just as damaging to us as other’s put-downs; and we have the power to overcome all of it.
Sometimes when we speak or make a written comment, we don’t consider how it will be taken. One example would be we put what we think is a fine comment out there, but others may not have the same frame of reference as we do, so they take it differently— often in a different vain than it was meant.
I saw a Facebook post that said something like “You have a right to your opinion, as long as it’s the same as mine.” It’s too bad we don’t all have the same perspective, because the world would be a better place if we did– I would understand you and you would understand me. But we all come from different places so we should make the effort to try and see things from all sides. We should strive not to just judge something or someone by what we see from our narrow vantage point. Remember, “It’s what’s inside the cup that counts.”
When I post a picture of something I’m excited about–it could be taken as showing off or bragging. Another example is when I say, “I love yellow cars,” – and someone else shoots back, “What? You don’t like red cars? What’s wrong with red cars?” And so it goes.
Sometimes our mouths really get us into trouble like if we give our political opinion, question someone’s medical decision, or throw out advice on something that was not asked for. When will we learn to keep our pie holes shut? When will we go back to good old-fashioned communication: I listen to you when you are talking and you listen to me. And we ask questions.
Why can’t we be a little more understanding when someone says something that hits us wrong? Maybe when someone expresses an opinion that hurts us then it’s time for us to have an in-person conversation about it. (“What did you mean by that remark about yellow cars?”)
Sometimes the most hurtful thing that I may hear or see could be something that someone just put out there without thinking of the consequences. That person may be on to their next post but I am stewing about it and it’s upsetting me. Ever happen to you? Of course it has. Maybe if we talk it out then I know why you feel the way you do– and you know where I am coming from.
Sometimes on social media I see things that makes me so mad– or sad– I want to respond, but I have a remedy for that. When I see a negative post I will often sit down and type out my response. I then read it to myself and delete it. It sort of makes you feel better by getting your feelings out but then you realize how futile it is to get in an argument on social media. Social media is “real” and “not real” at the same time. The people who see your posts are not necessarily your real friends but the hurt you can cause someone from one post is definitely real.
When it comes to bragging, maybe it’s been a long time since anything good has happened to the person you are perceiving as bragging. Maybe they just wanted to share their excitement with others. Instead of judging, (“Where did they get the money for that new car?”) why can’t we be happy for them?
Here’s a news flash: when someone opens their mouth, we don’t always have to be affected by it. That’s actually worth being said again: When someone opens their mouth, we don’t always have to be affected by it. Sometimes it’s best to walk away. It is our choice if we are going to let what others say or do negatively affect us.
Didn’t your mother ever tell you “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” When did we change and let every single thing that people say hurt us or affect us personally? Part of it definitely has to do with social media—Facebook in particular.
We should learn to concentrate on ourselves; seeing the good in ourselves and trying to be better, rather than letting others tell us how we should be feeling. We should not get down on ourselves because we don’t fit into what we perceive as someone’s box they want to put us in.
And to my girlfriends out there, there’s not only one way to be a “strong woman.” You don’t have to have certain beliefs or accomplishments to have strength. The most empowered women are those who believe in themselves and act according to standards they have set for themselves and those they want to see in others.
No matter who you are, just because you aren’t like others, or you don’t fit in their box– that doesn’t mean you aren’t amazing. We are all different and should celebrate the way we are.
None of us need the approval of others, we should be doing the best we can and setting our own standard for how we will act. If you write down your own definition of Excellence I doubt badmouthing, criticizing, judging and bragging would be on the list, but yet we do it.
We look down on others and we also look down on ourselves. This can often happen when we need to be at our strongest. If I am taking care of a sick loved-one I need to be at my best and have the most confidence in what we are doing. Now is not the time to listen to others who think I am doing it wrong or get myself into a funk because I feel inadequate. Same thing if I lose my job or a relationship doesn’t work out, or the medical treatment doesn’t seem to be working. Stop thinking “oh here we go again!” and start thinking, “ok, well I’ll re-group and head in a new direction.” There are so many possibilities out there, don’t give up–keep trying!
I often weigh what I am doing by saying, “If I am doing this with the love of Jesus Christ in my heart then that’s the right reason to do it and it will work out for the good.” I always say if you are doing your best, you are doing a great job! Stop listening to the noises in your head that are questioning you—or the noises from someone else. Make your decision and have faith in yourself. If you put your situations in God’s hands then He will take care of you.
And by the way—stop worrying about those who aren’t on board with you. You don’t need them, you are doing a great job and spending one minute thinking about negative people only ruins one minute of happiness or productiveness in your own life.
Now about bragging. Sometimes we get so caught up in the excitement of telling people what we are doing or the thrill of being a big shot for doing it that we can lose site of what it is that we actually did.
“Am I now seeking human approval, or God’s approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” — Galatians 1:10
The reverse can be true if we get jealous when someone tells us of their good fortune. If we perceive it as bragging and it hits a nerve with us like “wow he (or she) has it easy” then we are just as guilty as they are. They bragged about it, but we received it and became jealous. In all things, when I find I am judging someone then I know I am in the wrong.
“Judge not lest ye be judged.” –Matthew 7:1
We must learn to recognize what we have as a blessing and appreciate it, and likewise if someone we know comes upon good fortune we should be strong enough to be happy for them and not have that earthly twinge of “I wish I had that.”
We are human, and therefore not perfect so we get envious. When that happens we must quickly put it back into perspective and that Galatians Bible verse about who are we trying to please can do that for us.
Even though we are not perfect, the awesome thing is we are “perfect” in God’s eyes. We don’t have to brag and we don’t have to always be “right”– because the person whose judgement matters the most already thinks we are perfect.
At the same time we should be able to rejoice with those who love us about our successes without fear of it being taken as bragging. Have fun, be happy with each other. Did you win an award? Does your newly painted door look amazing? Did you lose five pounds? There’s nothing wrong with excitedly telling people and if they don’t rejoice with you then it’s on them. But at the same time reach out to others in their good times and share in their celebrations. Remaining humble is a big step toward Excellence.
We are all just doing the best we can to make it through life, so let’s try to be a little nicer to one another—and ourselves. Choose Happy.
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” — Ephesians 4:2:
“People who love each other fully and truly are the happiest people in the world. They may have little, they may have nothing, but they are happy people. Everything depends on how we love one another.” –Mother Teresa
- Think of three ways you can brighten the day of someone by either complimenting them on something they did or showing support for them. Make the effort and do it. Don’t worry about how it will be taken, just support someone who is doing their best.
- Think of three ways you can show support to yourself. Here’s an example. The next time you look in the mirror and do your typical criticizing—ugh, gray hair, wrinkles, gained weight, bad hair—change your narrative. Look at that face and say “I’m proud of you for all you’ve gone though. You are amazing. It’s tough times we are going through but look at you—you’re doing a freaking great job!”
I remember when I was taking care of my parents (Dad with a broken hip and mom with Alzheimers’ at the same time) and I’d occasionally see my reflection in the mirror and think “wow, this is really doing a number on you!” But then I would make myself turn it around and say, “Wow, I’m awesome and so what if I may not look as great as I would like to right now, it’s just not my time. I’ll be back!”
Don’t you ever give up on yourself—even during low times, you can look forward to a “come-back.” That’s why it’s so important to raise the spirits of others because they might be at a low point and really need our support and we just don’t know it.
One Last Thought
Is there anyone you are mad at or you think is mad at you? Apologize. Forgive them—even if they don’t apologize (to or forgive) you. If someone has hurt you and you can’t talk to them about it, forgive them in your heart. If you pray about it and completely give yourself in to the idea that you don’t want to be held down by the burden of a bad relationship—forgive them in your heart—pray for them, and then move on. You will feel so much lighter.
Dear Lord, Thank you for everything you have given me; for all the wonderful blessings. Please bless everyone reading this. Help us to all become the brothers and sisters we want to be– and to realize it’s what’s inside (the cup) that counts. We all want respect, peace and happiness so open up all of our hearts so that we may give it and receive it. As the song says, “Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me. Heavenly Father help each of us to be an instrument of YOUR peace and let all of our wounds begin healing. By praying in Your name we begin to feel better and we know we are not alone; You are with us in all our endeavors, and we know we can do great things again. AMEN
If there is any way I can help you or if you need special prayers, let me know. If you are reading this right now, I care about you. –STR
Sally Tippett Rains is the author “Choose Happy; Find Contentment in Ant Situation”
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