My gut was telling me but my head wasn’t quite sure. Finally something they said flipped the switch, and I knew what I had to do. I unfriended, blocked, and under my breath wished them well in the sham of a life they were living, bless their hearts.
I’m getting better at recognizing false friends, also known as manipulators, users, those with ulterior motives.
It hurts when someone you believed was your friend really wasn’t. And of course it drags up memories of other friendships that have been lost or didn’t work out, for whatever reason.
I’m not too bad about setting boundaries while in a friendship, it’s afterward that I need to work on--the rehashing, the what ifs, the wondering what I did wrong, the whole nine.
A large part of my purpose is to love the people God puts in front of me. Sometimes He isn’t the one who brings them, but I don’t usually know that until later.
And while the wounds begin to heal into scars I remind myself of two things:
I remember hearing about a woman who had been left blind after an attack. Later she was asked if she resented the person who did this to her. “No,” she said. “He had one night of my life. He will never have another minute.”
I have decided that bad things, dicey situations, and awful people will come into my life, but the effects of their behavior will be momentary at best. No one gets to control my mind, heart, and future but God and me.
It’s not always easy to do, but I have a little thing that helps.
It’s called forgiveness. It frees me from their control.
Forgiveness is not saying that what they did is okay or that it didn’t hurt. It’s not a wall I put up to block future pain, or a force field that deflects it. It’s more of a sponge.
Forgiveness absorbs the pain, the betrayal, the questions. Then I take it to God and ask Him to rinse it with His love.
And when the pain is rinsed away and wrung out--sometimes quickly, sometimes over time--it makes room for healing, and freedom.
Which makes for a whole lot better future than continuing to “bless their hearts” under my breath.
#bethelove #forgiveness #fakefriends
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Years ago, my mother-in-law was at the homecoming parade when she heard a very faint mewing. She looked around and saw a tiny orange and white striped kitten. It was scrawny and dirty, with half of its whiskers singed off and eyes that were clouded and messy. Being a great lover of animals, especially cats, she adopted this one, took her to the vet then home for food, a warm bed and toys. She wound up simply calling her Little Cat.
Once she was healed and growing, Little Cat discovered she liked to climb up jeans and scamper about. She provided snuggles, laughter, and the occasional scratch or two.
While it helped that Little Cat was stinking cute, it wasn’t her cuteness that determined her worth in my mother-in-law’s eyes (although it certainly didn’t hurt). Little Cat was worthy of love, healing, and life simply because she was a living creature.
I know that not everyone is Animal People, but there is no reason we can’t all be People People.
Yes, people can be messy, mean, malcontents. We can be insecure, inept, insufficient, and inefficient. We can be rough and rude, thoughtless, heartless, soulless. Broken and wounded, lashing out beyond reason or imagination.
But even with our myriad of flaws, faults, and failures, we are still…human. In our very most basic state we are worthy of love. Of purpose. Of dignity and respect. Of a chance, a second chance, a millionth chance.
Some would have us believe we are nothing more than matter and energy, cells and chemicals, and therefore worth very little. I disagree. We reason and learn. We love. We breathe. We ARE. And that’s enough.
So remember, the next person you see on the street, that you don’t necessarily have to give them a home, but a little love and respect can go a long way—singed whiskers and all.
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I’ve always been envious of storytellers.
There is a difference between being a writer and a storyteller. I can write a blogpost or speech, even a how-to. You want practical examples? I’m your woman. Action in a storyline? Not so much.
There is also a difference between writing to be read, and writing to be watched. In a novel you can have characters sit around talking. In a visual medium, like TV, YouTube, or a movie, that puts an audience to sleep.
“Show, don’t tell.” I’ve heard that phrase hundreds of times.
Let’s say you have a character who is afraid of heights but has to climb a ladder…
***DISCLAIMER! I sent my original example to storyteller Lewis D. Chaney. He completely rewrote it. After comparing the two, I am using his version, because…well…if you read the original you would understand, but now you won’t have to. You’re welcome. ***
If I write “he was afraid of heights”, you shrug and go, okay. That’s writing but to SHOW you the story, instead I write “he put his hands on the ladder, looked up and drew a sharp breath. The ladder seemed to extend to the clouds. His foot found the first step and he slowly began to climb. Half way up, shaking, he paused and looked down. His trembling, sweaty hands clutched the sides of the ladder and he began to hyperventilate”. You FELT that one, the same way a movie would show you that.
Much better. Thank you, Lewis! And now, back to your regularly scheduled blog post:
Show, don’t tell.
Love is also show, don’t tell.
I can tell you I love you. I can even gaze longingly at you from across the room. But isn’t it more meaningful if I show you?
We can say we love the world and the people in it but unless our actions show it, our words are a resounding gong or clanging cymbal.
If we say we love mankind but value some better than others based on skin color, political affiliation, clothing, where they live, anything other than the fact that they are a fellow human being, is that love?
If we treat our fellow man with violence, verbal and emotional abuse, manipulation, and condescension, is that love?
If we say any human being is “nothing but,” (gay, liberal, conservative, addict, poser, troll) then we treat them accordingly. Is that love?
This is what love looks like: patient, kind, content, deprecating, humble, honoring, seeking to put others first, placating, forgiving, truthful, protecting, trusting, hopeful, hanging in there no matter what.
Love...has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like. --Augustine of Hippo
Love. It’s not just Show and Tell, it’s more Show than Tell.
(credit to LDC for the last line, too)
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In my last post I shared that you can love people and change the world with something that costs you nothing – a smile. It’s a great place to start.
Let’s take that next step and do something we learned as children but, over the years, have simply forgotten.
I’m talking about Please and Thank You.
How is saying these three little words showing love?
Please and Thank You are not simply social niceties. Please and Thank You are words that bookend interactions with love.
Please lets the person you are interacting with know they have a choice in how they treat you, that you are aware of that fact. They could be kind to you or they could not, and you are asking them to be kind.
Thank You acknowledges that you noticed their effort and you are grateful.
Please and Thank You empower the other person. You are acknowledging their ability to make or break your connection. You are choosing to honor them and their potential effect on you in this situation.
In the wider area of society in general, Please and Thank You could go a long way toward correcting entitlement attitudes.
Imagine you are in a grocery store and the cashier asks if you’d like your milk in a sack. “Yes, please,” you reply. In a subtle way the cashier knows that if they do put your milk in a sack they will be helping you out. Adding Please makes them much more willing to help you than if you’d simply said “Yes” which can sound more like a demand. People respond better when given a choice rather than a command.
On a slightly selfish note, you may not care one dime about the cashier’s well-being, but you do care about your own. If you treat someone with respect they are more likely to treat you with respect. Simply adding these three words to your interaction can benefit you greatly.
Please and Thank You are words of love because they focus on the other person’s actions and not our own, and any time we put another’s needs ahead of our own, THAT’S Love.
Be the Love you wish to see in the world.
Great idea. Noble concept.
I wondered that, too.
I thought it would be best to start with the easiest and simplest way. How can we be love with the fewest dollars, smallest amount of time, and least amount of energy?
I pondered. I puzzled.
The lightbulb lit.
I smiled and chuckled. It was as plain as the smile on my face.
A smile. The simplest, easiest, and most effective way to love.
To smile at someone, you have to see them. You have to look at another human being. When two pairs of eyes meet, there is a connection. If that connection produces a smile, it’s a positive connection.
Positive connection is powerful. Positive connection elevates moods for both parties. You’re happy to see them. They’re happy that you’re happy to see them. A smile says it all.
Simply by fixing your eyes on someone and moving a few muscles in your face, your smile, your love, changed their world, and yours.
It took a few seconds out of your day. It cost zero dollars. It required almost no energy.
Every act of love changes the world.
A smile can be an act of love.
Every smile can change the world.
Sure, it may be miniscule, but so is a grain of sand. You think it's not powerful? Get one in your eye. Or thousands. Or millions.
What if we smiled at everyone we saw…FOR AN ENTIRE DAY? Really, what if? Go there with me.
Wouldn’t it be incredibly difficult to have a bad day if everyone you saw smiled at you?
Wouldn’t it be incredibly difficult to have a bad day if you smiled at everyone you saw?
AND what if we smiled at each other on MONDAY, the universally-acknowledged worst day of the week? What then?
Oooo! What if we smiled at everyone EVERY Monday? What then, I ask you, WHAT THEN???
I can’t even.
Wanna try it with me? Monday’s coming…
Be love. Spread it with smiles.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Do you hear that phrase as often as I do?
We all believe change is needed but no one agrees on which things, much less how best to do it.
Demands for change inhabit every area of life, from macro issues like business, education, and politics (oy vey the politics) to micro issues like snowflake children, helicopter parents, even which way toilet paper should roll.
Hatred, fear, and arrogance blanket the majority of interactions in social and other media. Exchange of ideas becomes exchange of insults. It’s open season on anyone with a differing opinion.
Be the Change You Wish to See has become Make Them Be the Change I Wish to See.
Being the Change is simply not working.
Change involves modifying behavior, performing a different action to obtain a different result. We define Who or What is the problem, and How, When, and Where to change.
But unless we go deeper--to the Why--then the Who, What, Where, When, and How are pointless. When change gets messy and complicated and you become tired and discouraged, the Why will keep you going.
Not all Whys can create positive change. Negative Whys include Fear, Envy, Hatred, Arrogance, Greed. Adding negatives cannot equal a positive (thank you, sixth grade math class). Negative Whys cannot create positive change.
Compassion is a positive Why. So are Peace, Trust, Kindness, Loyalty. If you want positive change, start with those.
Better yet, there is one Why that is even deeper and more powerful than any other, positive or negative.
Love is patient, kind, content, humble, respectful, generous, gentle, forgiving. (Paul the Apostle, para.)
Love is the greatest thing. (also Paul, para.)
Think about what kinds of change Love will produce.
That is change I wish to see.
If we move in Love, Change will follow. There is no other possibility.
Don’t Be the Change. Be the Love.
(In my next posts I’ll begin to share How, and Who)
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