Recently, my granddaughter, who is taking linguistic anthropology said that she realizes that people seldom understand each other. Language can mean so many different things. If we grew up in different places our usage of words can be very different from others. This can lead to some pretty interesting mistakes.
A friend of mine from Britain once said that her downstairs neighbor knocked her up each morning. When I asked for clarity she said he took a broom and knocked on the ceiling of his flat to make sure she was awake.
Language is a vague and nebulous way to communicate. Too often we think we have been clear when that is far from reality. My college roommate used to say she was going to red up the room. I had no idea what that meant but found out she was going to clean up. She and I are both from the same country.
Language is tricky. Expressing ourselves and opening ourselves to others can have unwanted results. We don’t know how someone is going to react. I know that some blogs have received hate mail in response to something that was posted. It is very easy to misunderstand when someone is sharing thoughts and feelings. We need to be generous in our response to others and know that we may be misunderstanding. It is also possible that we may not agree but it is fine to disagree. Just know that someone is entitled to think differently. We are not all alike!
Today I read an article about our reactions to stress. With the state of the world the way that it is overreacting to simple events is almost a given. When talking about memory my daughter says that when we can’t access names etc. our RAM memory is full. I think with life being so chaotic our ability to handle events is over taxed. I do wonder if the number of people with anxiety is on the rise because of how the world works. It is hard to get those kind of statistics as many people with anxiety are not known. Are more of us suffering with anxiety? We don’t know but I suspect the answer is yes.
There are so many reasons. The internet makes bad news so much more accessible.
It is almost impossible to avoid it. We now have a whole world of people to agree or disagree with what is posted on social media and some responses attack the writer viciously. Even though it is evident that we are all different and have different opinions people are inclined to take taking sides to the extreme.
There is no silence. We need silence and down time to be creative. We don’t disconnect from everything enough. Silence rests the mind. We don’t know how to sit in silence. We are addicted to noise. Just ask people to sit in silence for one minute and watch the fidgeting.
Life is running at such a fast pace that we barely have time to draw breath. We plan so many things in each day that we are overwhelmed. Whether you are spiritual or not just resting with peace and quiet can help. If you pray, spend time listening for God instead of talking to Him. We spend so much time talking TO God instead of waiting for God to speak. No wonder we can’t hear His voice.
So…turn off electronics…..sit quietly….think…..meditate…..pray. If you do this each day you will find life more manageable.
For the people that see us every day how we appear to them they take at face value. If I don’t bother with my clothes (and I don’t mean how expensive they are) and am sloppy and dirty then that is how I am perceived. God didn’t make junk and I don’t think he wants us to look that way.
Each of us has our own personality and we dress accordingly. I love to people watch and in some cases it is easy to fit people into categories. Admittedly our ideas may be wrong but sometimes we are right on target. Some people’s clothes just shout where they fit in. I was in a restaurant and saw a couple with lots of tattoos, black leather jackets with motorcycle logos, and boots. It wasn’t hard to figure out.
The problem is twofold. Sometimes we misjudge others based on how they look. Discrimination crops up when our view is based on skin color or other ethnic signs. We know that this is the kind of judging that God calls us to avoid.
The other side of the coin is when we don’t care enough for ourselves to put our best foot forward whatever that may be. God does not call us to be sour faced, sloppy and dirty. We are called to be the Christian someone else sees in a positive way whether they are Christian or not.
Remember you may be the best Christian someone sees today. A really scary thought.
O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us To see oursels as others see us! Robert Burns
When I was growing up I wanted to do everything perfectly. Anything that caused me to struggle and that I couldn’t get right I just quit. I suppose that is connected with some OCD. My father was always encouraging me to try things but if I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it perfectly I didn’t even try. I am sure that an attitude such as that kept me from experiencing many interesting things. I really don’t think that my parents expected excellence in everything and I certainly wasn’t perfect in school. (Due to lack of interest) I just didn’t want to try and fail.
It is really important to teach children that it is in the failures that we learn the most. I guess I never thought of how many failures most inventors go though before they discover what works.
If it is pointed out to them children can see that everyone fails at something. The perfect example is the 1986 disaster of the Challenger space flight. That was a huge mistake and the results were horrible. NASA learned from that as do every one of us when we fail. None of us is perfect. We can learn from failure. We just have to get up and try again.
Today I have been thinking about cause and effect. No matter what we do, or don’t do for that matter, there is always a result. It cannot be avoided. Just how much control do we have over the result of our actions? Sometimes I think we don’t have any and at other times it seems that I am definitely responsible for the outcome.
If we have anything to do with the outcome then we need to be careful. What I choose may have a result that affects someone else. Do I think about that when I make choices? Do I have a positive or negative attitude? It seems to me that having a positive attitude can change the outcome.
There is a difference between positive and negative attitudes. All of us have been with people who are always negative. For them, nothing is ever good. This can really wear on me and I don’t like being around them. Their negativity is just depressing. How we approach things is a decision that we can choose. I can get up in the morning and decide that it is going to be a good day and usually it works. Of course there are times when the day goes downhill anyway but not always.
We do have some control over our own mind. For those of us who have anxiety sometimes we feel truly out of control. It is hard to think yourself into a better place. Depending on the circumstances it may not be possible but that is what I am working on. Developing skills for handling bad feelings is a matter of training. It is just so hard to be disciplined.
Taking control of your own mind is a challenge but it is possible to do. It just takes consistent work.
I read an article recently that talked about intuition. Something was said about how little intuition is respected. I think intuition is a good barometer and we should pay attention to it. An intuition is not necessarily a bad gauge to go by. There may be a compilation of experiences and learning that are prompting it and not just some feeling. It is like making soup. If there is just one ingredient it may not be any good but the combination of all the things we put in make it wonderful. All those things meld together to jog something in our brain.
People who are concerned with provable facts don’t think there is anything to intuition. It is often scoffed at….especially as women’s intuition. One of the things I did as a nurse was to have classes for young children called the Touch Program. The program was to tell young children that there can be good touch such as hugging and bad touch like being fondled inappropriately. The children were told to be aware of a bad feeling in the pit of their stomach. A gut feeling. Young children understood this. Those who reported abuse could usually tell you that something felt wrong.
As you can tell I am sure that intuition is a useful tool. Sometimes it can be wrong but most frequently it is right on target and women are not the only ones who use it.
My husband and I have been watching the BBC series “Father Brown.” I have been struck with the many scenes about confession and forgiveness. Father Brown makes completely clear that there is no forgiveness if there is not true regret and a desire to change. That is the view for the person who needs forgiveness. There is also the side of the injured. What is forgiveness from that point of view?
Forgiveness can be a difficult thing. If someone has hurt us badly we can have so many different emotions…anger, pain, hurt, disappointment, betrayal and others. Our emotions may swing from one feeling to another. Forgiveness may be the last thing we think about. Maybe we don’t even want to forgive for to do that we would have to let it all go.
The important thing to remember about forgiveness is that it is not just for the person who hurt us but for us as well. All the emotions that we are feeling heighten our body in a flight or fight mode. We secrete extra adrenaline causing our body to prepare for danger. When we think about the hurt we drag up those emotions again and again. You can feel the upheaval. If we continue to hang on to the hurt and drag it around with us it damages our well being. Somehow we have to find a way to let it go.
Letting it go may take time and conscious effort. Some of the hurts I have encountered in my life have hung on for quite a while. We have to consciously decide to turn it loose…. and do it again and again until those feelings subside. When we can remember the hurt without the emotions attached then we have truly let it go. There may always be a small residue like ashes left after burning paper but the real pain has subsided.
Forgiveness takes work.