A Better Perspective

Glasses

I spend a lot of time talking and writing about the benefits of being real with yourself, to examine yourself, that making the world a better place starts with making changes about yourself. However there was a situation recently that made me realize that there needs to be balance in this area:

 

My daughter is constantly needing new glasses. She takes after her mother when it comes to being short sighted at an early age. At the age of 10 (her age) I was so excited to receive my first pair of hard contacts. I had to get them because my eyes would not stop getting worse and I simply hated wearing glasses. It didn’t help with being called “four-eyes” and the several weeks I had to wear “the patch” like a pirate.

My daughter on the other hand, loves her glasses and they have become her security blanket. So as much as I have tried to convince her that we could get her contacts she flat out refuses. This latest shopping trip for picking out glasses really surprised me though. I was trying to pick out some thin-framed, feminine looking glasses – and she wanted the thick-black glasses. I remember having arguments with my mother as a child picking out glasses – because I never got the pair I wanted and it was one of the reasons why I hated wearing them. So I really do my best to give my restrained opinion when my daughter picks out glasses. Ultimately she needs to like them more than me, as she is the one that needs to wear them.
So after realizing she was stuck on the thick-black glasses – I asked her why oh possibly why would she want such big black glasses. Her response surprised me, “because I want to be like you!”

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“Oh”… I was speechless. In my mind I wanted to raise my daughter to be so different from me. I didn’t feel like a success – or that I was particularly fashionable or good at anything.  I couldn’t figure it out – so I asked “You want to look like me?” She said “Yes, I love those glasses on you! You look really pretty in them”.
Funny, I had never thought I looked good in glasses and it hit me that there are negative voices in my head that are not fair to me. The things we tell ourselves is nothing we would ever say to anyone else. Why do we do this to ourselves? Most of the time, people view us more compassionately than we view ourselves. SO if you are in an examining mode at the moment (I know I am) please think of those things that you tell yourself that you would never say to another human being and get rid of it. People don’t view you that harshly, so why should you?
I’ve decided this week to take a better look at myself but through my children’s eyes…
On a similar note tonight, I asked my children if there was anything special I needed to get at the store – my son said “just something for yourself mum, for doing such a good job today!”
WHAT?? (I really need to work on this…)
Hope you have had a good week.

 

 

 

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Look for the silver lining…

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Yesterday I had a bad day, A very bad day.
I was not my best because I had an infection which led me to a last minute appointment with a dentist. I know when I am about to battle a flu or an infection because I get angry. I am not an angry person by nature. I think (if I asked my friends) that although I am open with my emotions –  that I reason things out with a lot of logic (hence my love for Mike Rowe), and think about consequences and put things into perspective. So for me to be unreasonably angry is a big red flag – which often indicates some sort of illness. When I realized I could barely chew food, I made my way to the dentist with children in tow. I had already given myself a horrible guilt trip because I had yelled at my children for stupid reasons – something I don’t do. I had yelled a lot. A lot. So once I realized it was because I was unwell I had been able to put it into perspective and as I was driving to the dentist I apologized. They were immediately forgiving… which was undeserved.
I didn’t realize how long it had been since I had been to the dentist. My kids went 6 months ago but I have not. I realized this when the dentist I had been to for almost 14 years made me fill out a new patient form.
I saw a dentist  I was not used to, and apologized. I knew it had been long and I felt embarrassed. I was anticipating being told how bad my teeth actually were. And so that happened. BUT- the dentist did not stop, it was lecture after lecture as if I had never brushed my teeth or been to a dentist and I grew up in a cave. I wanted to tell her what had really stopped me from going to the dentist – which is kind of hard when they have dental tools in your mouth. I tried to explain my health problems had taken priority and I had been in the hospital – so my teeth weren’t the first things on my mind. She then asked if I ate a lot of sugar – I explained I had suffered from major fatigue with these health problems and desperate for energy and knew I had eaten a bad amount of sugar to try to keep up with life. With all the guilt tripping I couldn’t tell her the truth. The real reason for keeping me back was financial. It was not safe to say

“Well, my husband has been unemployed twice for long periods of time and is now only making just enough the threshold where we don’t qualify for benefits. On top of my children suddenly having growth spurts and I was only finally able to buy them two outfits each (they are on rotation) and somehow paying crazy amounts of money for my teeth had not made priority.”

Also, as anyone knows that has struggled financially – there is a lot of guilt as to what you wish you could afford. I couldn’t explain how there are days where my knees go weak feeling overwhelmed with what little money we do have – and there are times I feel like I cannot take another step with this burden. I couldn’t tell her that. Yet she kept trying to explain how bad it was that I had neglected to come in. Do I need that guilt? No. Does anyone really need that guilt? nope.
I had incorrectly guessed how much it would cost. Turns out my whole week’s worth of groceries – food I try to keep on the table is gone… and when I was asked to pay. when they told the amount it took everything in me not to start crying. I only kept it together because my kids were with me. I am so glad I spent a week’s worth of groceries to be told what a horrible person I was because my teeth aren’t perfect.
I had a headache and felt quite ill after when I got home. My sensory child decided that that was the time to  have a meltdown. I tried to do everything I could to make him stop but in the end I couldn’t and his screaming caused my seizures to start – so I made my way to my bed (as I don’t like the children to witness them) and closed the door and tried to just relax. I left my sensory child with my daughter, which also made me feel like I had failed as a parent.
I could hear my daughter, and my sensory child stopped screaming almost as soon as I got to my room. He was even laughing.
It hit me there was a silver lining here, that even though I had felt like a failure, through health, and parenting, that I had a daughter who was able to settle the situation in seconds. Not only that but she attended to me. She gave me encouragement and told me how much she loves me. I never asked for this… I didn’t tell her to do this. She was absolutely amazing. Her ability to settle a stressful situation was beyond what a 10 year old has the ability to do. I told her how Proud I was of her that night and she explained how she had distracted my sensory child with all the things she could think of that he loved.
A woman that I know who has MS told me not to be scared when I first had health symptoms – and young children. She said

“If you saw what a better person my son has become since I got sick, you will see that there is no reason for guilt, that children learn amazing skills when their mother is sick.”

I didn’t believe her until yesterday. I now know that is true. My daughter has peacemaking skills that no school could teach her. Maybe the bad day was worth seeing the light in someone else.

Finding a way to make an obstacle your advantage? Check out The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday. 

The Advantage of Outrage.

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We have developed a system of outrage. I could point the fingers at the many reasons why this is becoming the norm and who has contributed to this but it seems like the outrage isn’t stopping and it is becoming worse each day.

There is an advantage of having a society that is full of outrage: Society can be controlled by it.

There was a situation in Australian Survivor series (2017) when a male contestant thought that he had upset a female contestant. He had told her information that was to get her angry. He says words to the camera that go a little something like this “I’m feeding her anger, because if she’s angry, I can control her, and control her vote”. It was a bit of a light bulb moment for me. It was never so clear to me as it was in that moment – that people will use the worst emotions to manipulate and change a situation. The female contestant explains to the camera later in the show how she was faking anger to make the male contestant think he was controlling her.

With social media there is opportunity for outrage everywhere. The good news is we can use social media to shed light on many difficult and painful situations around the world that would normally be ignored, and bring it into the public. The outrage of this unfair and painful situation can bring about effective change. This is a brilliant strategy to make the world a better place. It’s useful. It betters bad situations.

The downfall is when we become outraged over anything and everything: “uncontrolled outrage”. We get used to being in a state of outrage – or calling people out about anything and everything. There is an short-term advantage to this too, but added long term harmful consequences: The advantage is that outrage can prove to be a distraction from our own difficult lives, things we don’t want to face. Outrage with others does not allow us to focus on our own situations that need improvement. This, in the long term, will harm us.

One of the best ways to be an contributing member of society is to look in the mirror (I really want to break out into that Michael Jackson song), and make changes to who we are and to better ourselves.
One of the ways we can help us survive this time of outrage is to be balanced with it. Yes, we should be outraged with the horrible things in the world, but we also must keep ourselves in check so we don’t allow that outrage to control us. Anger and outrage are emotions used to control, and we must be careful with it so we don’t cause more damage and pain to others by those emotions.

CBS Survivor Fan? get Survivor gear here

 

 

Comparison is a thief..

 

 “Comparison is the Thief of all Joy” Theodore Roosevelt.

Today I went for a walk with my children to the park. My muscles were stiff, and struggling after all that I have been through in the last 3 months. It has been longer than that, as I didn’t realize how my health issues before had so deeply impacted my overall health until now when I’m finally getting energy back.

While walking around I found myself working through a series of emotions. I began frustrated with how my muscles were screaming out at me. I started feeling discouraged thinking about memories of when I used to hike on a more regular basis. The bigger the challenge the better. Here I am, struggling to walk in a flat circle around a local park.

Another memory popped into my head. Me, lying down on the operating table, just before going under anesthetic, wondering if I was going to wake up again. Wondering if I said goodbye to my children properly. Thinking if I had left anything undone if I should not wake up. It hit me that I was lying on that bed less than 3 months ago. How amazing was it that I have gone from the extreme of being told I had a good chance of not waking up, to walking around a beautiful park, alive to see winter, with my children…. it was a matter of perspective. I can choose to feel frustrated that I am not pushing myself hiking up steep hills, or I can be in absolute amazement at the opportunity to see the trees in the park and smiles on my children’s faces. Yes, my body isn’t where I wish it would be, but I have the opportunity to feel the stiffness of my muscles and the opportunity to work those muscles to get them where they should be. I have that time. That time is a gift.

The world is in a place where we are taught to be competitive and compare ourselves to others. We find ourselves participating in social media shaming – because it makes us feel “not as bad about ourselves” because “We would never do that” or “we know better not to say/do that”. We are taught it is okay to win when the loss is someone else’s.

Although it’s good to experience loss within games (I’m not a fan of participation awards) as life does hand out real losses in our lives, it isn’t how one should measure oneself. We are in competition with ourselves not others. We are meant to be a better version of ourselves. It is okay to look into our past to evaluate where we should be or where we want to be. We have time, the opportunity to change whatever we are not happy with. It is also important to not be too hard on ourselves if we have experienced loss or setbacks… and consider the fact that you are still here, and have time to work through them.
Comparing yourself to others, good or bad never gives you a real perspective. You can only measure yourself from where you have come from.
Hope you have a great week ahead.

Thank you.

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There has been a sense of entitlement growing for a while within society and culture. However many people do not understand the power of simply saying “thank you”.

Doing things for other people makes one feel good about yourself – it’s good energy that is put into the world. The failure to hear a thank you, can make you think twice about helping again.

I am writing Thank you cards this Friday due to many people who helped me out during a difficult time. I have found that my relationships grow ten-fold when I don’t just say it but take the time to write a card.

I have had people who will help me out in the most difficult times, beyond what I think is normal for a person to do, because they appreciate feeling appreciated. It really is that simple.

Not only will people be more willing to help you out, but the act of saying thank you in a more tangible way actually helps your attitude and gives you good energy. Most people think the opposite… they have some sort of power to think “Well, I deserved that”. This attitude just grows to being more ungrateful, less happy, and less attraction for others doing anything for you or helping you out in a desperate time of need.

Don’t think you have time?

Taking 30 minutes at the end of each month to write out a few cards for those that might have done something for you will change your world and your relationship with others.
Happy Friday.
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Thank you cards

 

Mental Health: Having Fun

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One thing that social media can give us is the sense that we are missing out.
I am happy for other people’s children when they receive awards but I rarely ever post pictures of my children when they receive an award. I am not trying to prove that my child is amazing, or to prove I’m a good parent. Instead, I may post everyday photos of my children because I am just proud of them for being themselves. Showing people what awards they got does not mean anything if my kids are miserable all the other times.
I like posting pictures of my kids just having fun. Having fun and having down time is becoming a lost art.

Instead we are building a world based on accomplishments and causing anxiety. Parents have anxiety because they are worried where their child stands academically or physically within their age range. Experts are now saying that how we are parenting is causing more anxiety for the child than anything else.
One of the suggestions is about giving children space without chores, without assignments, without “do do do”. Children also need to learn how to just BE.

How do I encourage this? We have certain “electronic free times” throughout the day. Most people give their children ipads in the car, I try to make this time one of those electronic free times. During this time I chat with the kids in the car about their day. We point out things in the window (Yesterday there was a old male motorcyclist next to us with a very masculine beard but he had one very long curl in the back of his neck  – we then made up a song about him not being a girl but liking his very looong curl – it rhymed).
We point to the dogs we drive by, or a paddock of cows or on our daily trip – there is usually a Kangaroo somewhere.

Part of being mentally healthy is to notice what is around us, and to enjoy those little things. I want my children to realize that there is more to life than competing academically or on the court. I want my children to understand that it is just as important to be in a “fun” moment as it is to focus on a test (obviously at appropriate times). Not understanding the value of both is causing major imbalance in our mental health, and the mental health of our children.

If your life or your child’s life is too busy, it is vital that you start scheduling “fun time”, where you start finding joy in the little things. To just be…

 

The thing about death…

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This subject has been on my mind a lot lately. Mainly because about 6 months ago I was told that I didn’t have much of a chance of survival, and yet through miracles and brilliant doctors I’m here writing this blog post for you today. Having had to face my own mortality… this subject has weighed heavily on my mind…

Recently an older woman I knew passed away. We saw life very differently but through attending her funeral I learnt many amazing things about her, and also understood why we disagreed on a few things. I wondered that if I had taken a little more time in trying to understand her that I would have discovered how we could see each other a little better in this life.

Today I learned of another person’s death. Someone who my family has grown to care deeply about. It is a blow.

The only thing I can think about is a quote I heard today – that I heard before I learned of the death. It was something said in response of a question about Anthony Bourdain:

“Every death is here to teach us how to live better” – Oprah Winfrey

No matter who it is that passes away, this one quote is true. When we reflect on those around us who has passed, and we think of how they lived (or suffered) and/or the way they died… we can learn something from it, and help it add to our perception, and goals in our own lives.

 

 

 

Why Honesty Matters

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In the wake of Anthony Bourdain I sit here and wonder what it is that is causing such a mental health crisis. I don’t just mean depression, but I also include addiction.

It takes me back to the first suicide I experienced with someone I felt was as close to me as an uncle. A man who I felt cared for me and understood me when many others didn’t. We shared interests, smiles, and laughs at a most difficult time, and was considered in close friendship (if not the closest) to my family.

I remember approaching him at a ski trip in Tahoe that I realized he was not himself. He didn’t smile back. I thought I might have upset him. After all, I was only 12 and my under-developed mind didn’t know how to interpret this small sign. He always had a smile on his face that I didn’t know how to interpret that frown other than I must have caused it. A few weeks later he took his life. I unfortunately was not told a lot of details until I was much older and “mature enough” to handle the truth. That my friend, my close family friend who was over at our house all the time, had battled not just one but a few addictions. It was freeing to know this because for many years I thought I was the only one to know about the frown I had witnessed. I thought that maybe I should have warned others. I later found out that there were many signs. I was not the only one who witnessed a change in mood.

I also had no understanding of why someone who appeared always happy, had taken his life. At the age of 12 I remember thinking “Did he not know how important he was to me?”. I look back and realize how selfish that sounds being that he had a wife and two children, but I had no help to process the information, and the word “suicide” and “depression” were still taboo. Many people had focused on helping his family, and had not checked on others that may have been affected.

I remember holding a lot of feelings in about this until a student at my school took his life my senior year in high school (5 years later). The student that took his life was the son of a much loved school secretary. His mother was the one you always went to if you needed any sort of compassion about any difficulty in life. She was the most approachable staff member at our school. It was hard to process how her son didn’t ask her for help. I also remember the bravery of her speech at our graduation. What was freeing about my senior year (the same year and around the same time as the Columbine shooting), was that we had speakers come to our school and discuss how suicide and depression COULD NOT and SHOULD NOT be taboo. Our teachers then had discussions within our homerooms and I remember just feeling this relief inside of me that I could say the words “suicide” and “depression” out loud and that it took away a lot of bottled up pain from years past to talk about it freely.

It’s not that we don’t go through pain and sadness, and yes, even depression. I think a lot of times this may be natural. It becomes a sickness when we aren’t heard and we feel shame in speaking about it. There are so many people out there that are willing to help, even strangers, if we could feel like we can freely talk about it. When we take away the stigma about these things, there may be more people willing to ask for help. I am the first person to admit that when I have had bouts of depression that I can only talk about it afterwards because when I am going through it I feel like the shame envelopes me. I wish that somehow we can cut through that shame.

We need to get to a point of honesty in our society. Honesty without feeling like we will be punished for being open about what it is we are feeling. This must be our number one goal. YET, our world (with the add of social media – and social justice) has become a more hostile world for honesty. We need to reverse this, if we wish to be a healthier society. Please, if you are struggling please call the number (that applies) below.

Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14
National Suicide Hotline (USA) 1800 273 8255

 

 

Balancing Sensitivity

 

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When I was younger I was told by the majority of people around me that I was “so sensitive” and that I needed to “stop being so sensitive”. I tried to change as I thought this was a problem with me and who I was as a person, but as I got older I realized it was a gift not a problem.

I learned to accept my sensitivity and use it in a way that drew people to me through that sensitivity.
My greatest weakness had become one of my greatest strengths…but with some things out there the opposite can become true. Your greatest strength can become your weakness.

I personally think we all have sensitivities that can be used to attract others as everyone’s desire (whether they realize it or not) is to be seen, heard, and understood. However there are some pitfalls with having a gift. When used incorrectly – your gift becomes your weakness.

One of these examples is if you are TOO sensitive to yourself but not to others. We all know them. People who dish it out, and have no awareness that they say awful things but are extremely sensitive to even the slightest look. They definitely can’t take what they dish. This isn’t a balance of sensitivity. You can be just as sensitive to yourself as you can be to others… but it takes a lot of awareness to do this. This can be classic to some of the Autism community, and I think then it falls on the people with those that don’t have the challenges of Autism to try to understand that this is not a personal thing from Autistic people. The other is that there are just some people out there that have never been taught a “greater awareness” of others, or something outside their ‘bubble’. Some people have never been taught about the bigger picture. Some people cannot put themselves in other’s shoes. It usually isn’t something that the regular person can approach. The few people I know that fit this category have total unawareness of their lack of sensitivity and believe they are sensitive to others. The clue is when you find they can be more sensitive to strangers or people on the news than to the closest people to them. I’m not a psychology expert but it definitely seems like something that hasn’t been fully developed.

The other problem is when you are too sensitive to others more than you are to yourself. My mother used to get quite upset when I was just in Kindergarten and she would see a child do something to me and I wouldn’t say (or do) anything back. After five children she was curious and frustrated about this trait. She asked me why I didn’t stand up for myself and she said she was quite surprised that a five year old would say “because they are hurting”. She says that I knew if someone expressed anger it was because they were hurting. I didn’t want to hurt them back. As much as this is probably admirable and quite intuitive, it definitely turned into a fault. I put my needs behind everyone else’s because I was so worried about others. Even now some of my best friends know me well enough to tell me when I am doing this. In the past, this was definitely more extreme and it really hurt me. I had friendships where I allowed others to blame me if I perceived that they felt better about themselves when doing this. This is unhealthy. This is not something that should be continued. If anything this should be a temporary imbalance for someone helping another person out long enough for them to get on their feet. What is important is to get back on your feet. You taking the blame to make others feel better should not be a lifelong crutch. This is something I still struggle with every day. I have to constantly check in with myself to see if I am giving too much of myself away, or allowing people to cross boundaries just because I think they feel better doing so.

Being sensitive is awesome, but it takes skill, a lot of practice, and a balancing act to make sure it doesn’t turn into our weakness.
Hope your weekend is awesome.
Jenny

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health update: Energy and Excitement…

 

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I know it’s not the day I use to do a health update but I’m kind of excited.
I had no clue how much I struggled before. I just thought that I had to focus on what I could do than what I can’t. BUT Who knew losing a 30% of your 3-times-larger than normal spleen could make you feel so good?

I kept getting told by my doctors that if I did “survive” this all, that I would feel better than I have in years – possibly ever. Well, of course there is recovery of procedures to do and such…  and I had been struggling with energy through recovery.

However – I am now feeling less weight internally –  and able to sleep on my left side again (it had been months). I find that my mind feels lighter in the sense that I actually feel like I can accomplish more. To me there is so much proof in that if your body isn’t working right, there is more difficulty with feeling focused and motivated in your thoughts. It definitely causes the feeling of being overwhelmed. This is part of the reason why I started this blog, to use it as a source of encouragement and positivity for those that may have extra challenges.

I have a cold right now, the first I have had in a long time. I’m kind of excited by having my first cold with a nearly normal white blood cell count! It sounds weird I know, but when your neutrophils drop below 1 on the blood test and you are told to “stay inside” on those occasions, well… it can affect you mentally as well as physically. So knowing that I’m almost back to normal blood cell counts like other people has made me feel more optimistic about fighting this cold. I’m a weird one but I said to my husband “I can’t wait to see what this level of white blood cells can do!! They are going to kick some butt.” (Ahh… one of my mottos is that if you don’t deal with health issues with a sense of humor you become mentally unhealthy).

My circulation is so much better at the moment. I definitely feel less sluggish and am motivated to do more exercise. It doesn’t hurt to jump around or dance with this extra-large organ inside of me anymore. To be honest – I may need another procedure in a couple of years that would possibly cause further spleen death. Since my Spleen has gone from 3 times a normal size spleen to twice the size – I think I can afford another 30% off… but that can wait though.

It does prove one thing – that nearly 37 years of struggling there is still hope that technology, doctors, investigations, procedures and FAITH can actually get you to a point where you feel better than you have – ever. Even while having a cold! Keep going…

 

Thankful

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My son happily cleaning windows.

Lately I have been frustrated with life working against us. This has to do with my husband’s Job and my personal life goals and on top of that our whole household has come down with a cold which means my kids have stayed home all week in destructive attitudes which included non-stop fighting.
Today was different. The kids needed to get out of the house but we didn’t want to infect others… my husband was able to put them to work.
Suddenly the destructive attitudes turned constructive and they were so excited to be useful. I was able to watch them from inside the house and I started thinking about how thankful I was for this moment.
Despite my son having some challenges, he is always excited to do things for others. Despite my daughter stirring her brother constantly, her sense of humor and willingness to respond promptly to instructions is a wonderful thing.
My husband is a hard worker – and unfortunately one of those good traits he has worked against him this week when he was told that he didn’t get the position he wanted because he was “too calm” (I know, ridiculous right?). His calmness helped our whole family deal with an incident last year when our car lost its brakes. I wouldn’t trade his “calmness” – for a better position within a company. I’m not sure what company would want a stressed out/yelling type of manager anyway…. I’m proud of my husband.
Today when I went shopping all the things I needed, most of my items were on sale… I didn’t plan that as I needed to do a last minute shop. I remember just feeling thankful that even though money is tight, that so many of our favorites were on sale.
There was a situation in which we have been given a chance to serve in a few months. I usually feel stressed by this, but I feel not only calm about it but excited to help. I’m not only thankful that I have the opportunity but also thankful that I don’t feel stressed and miserable about it like I have in the past.
Anyway, Today was a day where I was able to focus on the good things in life.
I hope you have a thankful and grateful day.

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Jen

 

 

Looking for Respect…

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I have a high tolerance for media insanity.  However my tolerance is running thin. It now seems that name-calling back in the election of 2016 has become mild compared to this past week. We were appalled with “nasty women” and “deplorables” and now these words have little to no effect. One strategy used is to take away the power/pain of words is by normalizing them. So the media figures and voters alike decided they would not be offended by those names but now embrace them. Little did we realize that this name-calling would just be the beginning…

Remember when Hollywood and TV audiences alike were so offended by Ricky Gervais’s humor starting in 2010 (some of us are still offended;-)) But he did tweeted a reasonable question today:

“When did it become more fashionable to undermine and discredit someone who disagrees with you than to offer a reasoned and winning counter argument?”

 We have lost respect for an intellectual, thought-out, researched argument and now we accept the winner as the person who shocks you the most with their insults. Whoever has the better insult with the most supporters wins.

I hate getting political. I specifically created this blog to create positive and uplifting content and to get away from the world which seems politically focused and not human being focused. My ideas were to bring people together on all different sides to remember what decency and respect was.

I hate that we are so willing to look down upon those that think differently than us. We should take that time to listen. One of the worst sayings is “Respect is earned, not given”. NO! You should treat EVERYONE with respect, from the president to the homeless person.

One of my favorite examples of this was when my dad used to run summer camps. There were campers who had made some bad decisions at camp. Their punishment? Instead of spending time with the campers they had to walk around with him for the day. Chatting with him while he was checking on all the activities and running the camp. He would talk to them with RESPECT. 

Since then I have had several men (who are grown-up campers), who have come to me and asked me if I was indeed the daughter of the man who ran these camps. I would confirm – they would break down and tell me how horrible their family life had been and how they were on the wrong path but they would never forget the “day of punishment” they had to spend with my dad. They tell me how my dad changed their lives because he had treated them with respect (something they had never experienced before) and as a result they realized they were worth something. They realized they could do better. As a result they made better choices in their lives. 

Respect changes opinions and makes the world a better place. No one has ever changed their mind through being called names.

People these days are not surprised by name-calling, but what throws them is treating them with respect – even if they have caused offence.  Name calling is a way of dehumanizing others – it’s the beginning of war. A good example of this is Frida Gashumba’s account of genocide in Rwanda. Name calling in the media and political realm causes a theatrical environment:

In leading up to the first World War:

“The theatrical quality of the political world had become so patent that the theater could appear as the realm of reality.” – Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

Giving others respect does not mean you have to trust, like, or even become friends with those you give respect to.  Respect gives basic human decency and acknowledges the rights of others. Acknowledging other’s rights – is one way we prevent the beginnings of war.

Get Hanna Arendt’s book The Origins of Totalitarianism  here

Get Frida Gashumba’s book on the Rwandan genocide called Frida: Chosen to Die, Destined to Live here