Category Archives: Interpersonal Relations

12 Secrets of a Happier Life

Every now and then in everyone’s life we get distracted by things that we either cannot change or that shouldn’t matter to us to begin with. The distraction can cost us time, emotional energy, mental fatigue and more. To increase the quality of our life and the sense of serenity in our days, it’s worth reviewing the simplest of lessons so we can keep our mental and emotional outlook fresh. Continue reading

Sympathy vs. Empathy

Just the other day I was involved in a very brief virtual discussion about the benefits of empathy over sympathy. For the person to whom you’re expressing either of these, there is a benefit; but which is better or more beneficial for them? The person who originally posted it had the position that empathy was ultimately better than sympathy because you were seeing the suffering person’s outlook from their own perspective. I maintained that you can’t do that because you don’t have their same background, experience, knowledge, etc. Then, like I usually do, I overthought heck out of it and ended up simply making sure I understand the differences, strengths and any potential weaknesses. Then, as usual, I started typing. Continue reading

Where The Green Grass Grows

I will never forget parts of my childhood and one of the things I remember best is my father complaining about how he could never get the grass to grow healthy. He’d complain about weeds; he’d complain about fungus; he’d complain about too little rain, too much rain, not enough sunshine, kids in the yard and more. Then one day he decided to have the entire yard cut up and had all new sod put down. I’ll never forget how carefully he took care of that new sod. He watered it religiously, fertilized it in accordance with the landscaper’s directions and mowed it (or told me to mow it) weekly in season. I’d like to discuss the implications and analogies that my father’s yard care represented in comparison to relationships – which is most often how the green grass on the other side of the fence statement is applied. Continue reading

Responsibility vs Blame vs Fault

Have you ever considered the distinct difference between placing blame, finding fault and determining responsibility?  They are surely all interconnected but they are also vastly different in leadership approach, critique for improvement and personal involvement in finding and enacting the solution. In a recent piece about Leadership and Management we identified several characteristics of leadership behavior. The same can be applied here: while managers find fault and place blame, leaders identify responsibility and help others to do the same. Continue reading

Defining & Recognizing Strength

When we hear someone say, “He’s a strong person,” or “She has great inner strength,” it can mean different things to each of us. The word “strong” has a wide variety of definitions available for it, but the one(s) I want to concentrate on here are those relating to strength of character; strength of spirit. Hands down the largest message I want to impart in this piece is that just because someone appears to be strong… behaves in a manner that expresses a greater inner strength… is constantly helping others, DOES NOT mean that they aren’t fighting their own battles. Continue reading

Discussions, Arguments & Education

I am far from the first person to have talked about the difference between discussion and argument or the pros and cons of each. Just recently, though, I was involved in a conversation about this very topic in a place where discussion was more common than argument. Further, it was observed that the discussion in this particular type of establishment tended to be more enlightening than that of some others. As it happens, I was in a cigar bar involved in a discussion with several other military service veterans. Let’s talk first about the difference between arguments and discussions and then we can talk about the difference between the establishments cited and purposes served by the discussions. Continue reading

A Convenient Inconvenience?

Let’s discuss briefly the difference between “convenient” and “inconvenient,” and how being treated as either can be interpreted. This topic came up when a friend of mine said that he often felt as if he only received attention from certain people in his life when it was convenient for them. My over-analytical brain chewed on that and wondered, if people only paid attention to him when it was convenient for them, was he an inconvenience the rest of the time? Continue reading

The Blessing of Convoluted Circumstance

Every now and then we get reminded of just how good the people in our world can be. And “our world” isn’t just our circle of nearby friends, or folks from our neighborhood, friends of friends, etc.  It quite literally is people from around the world. Bear with me as I elaborate and follow along as I try to share what has been impactful for me this morning. Continue reading

Don’t Let Your Education Become Arrogance

This morning my attention was grabbed by a post on social media wherein the person posting claimed that his view of a particular event was more accurate than other views being shared and when asked why he felt his was more accurate, his response was, “Because my level of education is higher than yours, therefore I understand the intricacies better.” The interaction made me stop and think. What I ultimately came away with was 1) the question I’m trying to answer, and 2) the outlook I find value in. Continue reading

Coaching, Mentoring & Criticizing

Just this morning (as I type this) I enjoyed a quick back-and-forth conversation on social media and then via email with a man I consider of reasonable wisdom and maturity. He is a hard worker, husband, father and motivated employee of the same company I work for. He has a quick wit and a good sense of humor. The conversation we shared reminded me of the difference between being critical and being a mentor. The one thing that stands out most in my mind is that a mentor (or coach) has to be critical; he has to be capable of evaluation and judgment as part of his skill set, but he also has to be able to communicate what he sees as deficiencies in a way that offers solutions and recommendations for improvement. That add-on to the critical skill set is the difference between being someone who is negative and just complains and someone who offers a solution to an observed problem. Continue reading