Monday, May 18, 2015

Communication for Dummies

To do list © Kimberly Vohsen via freeimages.com


There are many books with for dummies in the title. These books are intended to help you understand a complicated subject. Here are five tips for being a better communicator.

1. Don’t overshare

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen phone numbers posted on people’s social media accounts. Why would you want the whole world to have your number? I really am puzzled by some things that are posted on the Internet.

Many people tell where they are going and when. Some feel the need to post about every event that goes on in their lives within the hour. Who cares?

2. Be respectful

Like I said in an older post, people thrive on drama. It’s no different on social media. The same kids that post questionable things often grown up to be people with no common sense. I do not understand why people continuously comment about petty situations. Things will get out of hand. Sometimes you just have to let things go and agree to disagree. Don't ramble on and on about your perspective when it is obvious that the other person in the conversation is not open to change.


3. If you put information out there be prepared for criticism

If you post about how your marriage is falling apart in a public forum, do not whine when people don’t see things the way you see them. If you don’t want other people’s opinions, I have a simple solution. Don’t post it!

4. Listen

Instead of continuing on arguing so you can have the last word, quit while you're ahead. Shut up before you say something that you regret. I've done this and it is one of the worst feelings ever. Good communication is more about listening than talking. When you are quiet and let the other person talk, you may learn something new. Imagine that!

5. Be willing to compromise

One of the hallmarks of a good communicator is the art of compromise. It takes a person with a strong sense of self to say, "Okay, we can do it your way. Since you let me do what I wanted to do last weekend, I will go with you to the art show on Saturday."

Another good compromise is to take the good things from your suggestion at work and combine them with other team members suggestion for an even better outcome.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

In my Skin

For a long time, I was not comfortable in my skin.

I was too tall, too thin,
I just did not fit in.

One day, I told a close friend that I was ugly,
She said, "I better never hear you say that again."

When I got sick, the feeling was compounded.
My smile never left, but the fire inside of me was quenched.

I didn't look healthy.
I was frail and thin because of health issues.
But the thing that I had to fight the most wasn't my body, it was the thoughts within.

Would the agony ever end?

Since that day, I have been on a journey to love myself in my skin.
Not changing with every fad,
Not wearing much makeup.

I prefer cardigans and tanks to mini dresses.
I have never wanted to be the center of attention.

I finally love me for me,
In spite of what I've said and done.

Now when I look at myself in the mirror,
I am content.
I know I will never be like the images in magazines.
That's okay.

I am imperfectly me.
Broken and scarred.
Stronger and wiser.
I am an overcomer.

For those young women who aren't happy with their reflection in the mirror, it is true. There will never be anyone like you. Stand out! Be proud of who you are and don't waste time picking out every little flaw. It's not worth it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I Guess I Scare People


Stephanie on Bench © Jamie Hack via freeimages.com
While talking to my mom last night I said, "I must scare people."

I said this because all throughout my life, people will get close to me, and then disappear. One instance happened a few months ago. Someone who knows me would talk to me occasionally and reach out through social media.

This person came and saw me at home. I wasn't having a good day physically, so I was in bed. This person's jaw was slightly open upon seeing me. Yes, this is my reality. Cerebral palsy causes muscle tightness and pain that is worse on some days. I was smiling, but I could tell they were unsure of what to say next. 

I think this person - and most people who know me - are shocked because I don't post about everything I go through on social media. I don't "check in" to my doctor's offices every time I have an appointment. I am a private person. I think if you really want to know how I am doing, you will ask. If you don't, you won't. 

Since that day, this person has been very distant. We have not talked much at all. I think this happens because people don't know how to relate to me. They don't know what to say beyond the small talk. 

I used to think something was wrong with me. I can't help that I ask the big questions about life. I ask hard questions about myself like, "Why did I react to this person or situation that way?" "Why am I grumpy today?" "How would I feel if someone said or did this to me?" 

Sometimes I say things like, "Maybe this person has so much pain that they can't appreciate the small things like I do. They are so blinded by what has happened to them in the past that they can't relate to how I am feeling."

I try to be empathetic. I am always striving to be a better listener. I want to be a better student of life, learning from others mistakes, celebrating the good in people, and not get so caught in up in the details of how something is going to happen.

Maybe this is what scares people. Maybe honesty scares people. Maybe stripping off the facade that they have been hiding behind for years scares people. It is scary and unpredictable when you start getting real with yourself about why you are the way you are. But, it is even scarier if you live your whole life inside of the bubble you created, pretending you are okay when you are not. 

So, if I scare people away, good! Then I will know the ones who are left are true. Those are the ones who won't run when life gets messy. They will love me through my growth spurts and call me out when I mess up! I have only met a handful of people who have been willing to stick by me through all of life's ups and downs, but I wouldn't trade them for anything. 

This post is for all of the people who AREN'T SCARED!

Friday, April 17, 2015

My Prayer Tonight

As I was praying, these words were flowing out of my heart.

Forgive me, oh God, for the times I have been rude and unmannerly.
Forgive me, oh God, for the times I have insisted on my own right and my own way.
Forgive me for not bearing up under anything and everything that comes.
Forgive me for not walking in love.
I know that you never fail, Lord.
But I have failed you so many times. Help me.
Help me to decrease so that You can increase.
My life is nothing without You in it.
Help us, oh God, to get our eyes off ourselves and to realize we were created for a bigger purpose.
We were created to serve You. We were created to come alongside You.

Amen.

Sometimes, it is so disheartening to live in the Earth today. I see more and more people turning away from God and doing things that please them. We are so arrogant it is sickening. When talking with my mom this week, I told her, "Sometimes, I don't even want to live on the Earth anymore." Don't misunderstand me. I am not suicidal in any way. I am just tired of seeing people act crazy. I'm tired of people being more concerned about their bank statements than the condition of their hearts. I'm tired of the lies. I'm tired of the division.

But then, I realize God is, too. Yet, His mercies are new every morning. Even when I don't deserve it. Even when many others don't deserve it. God is always ready and waiting for humanity to come back to Him. He never stops pursuing His children. So, I can't stop pursuing Him either. In fact, it is in the midst of the darkness that I must run harder after Him. When no one else is searching, I must look a little deeper. 

And, I can't go to Heaven yet. There is much work to be done here. Thousands of people are still lost. Many have no hope. I have to be one who is willing to be a voice in the wilderness. When I am alone, I have to be more determined than ever to run this race. I will not abandon my mission. The mission that God gave in Matthew 5:14-16.

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven." The Message (MSG)

Will you be bold enough to pray this prayer with me?