ARE YOU AN ANGEL?

When I first saw this picture I thought to myself, “An angel, really?” After a few moments of contemplation, my thoughts changed. How do we view angels? As an entity that looks over us from above, guiding our actions, encouraging us and keeping us safe. How do we define a great friend? Someone who stays by our side, giving us advice, encouraging us and looking out for us. Other than the geographical location they are very similar.

It has me taking a more venerable look at several of my friends. Unlike the ethereal beings to which I am drawing a comparison, friends make mistakes. Even the best friend can have a bad day. Perhaps they take their frustrations of the day out on us because they feel safe and comfortable in our presence? They may put their needs ahead of ours. They may treat us harshly or say something hurtful either by accident or because they have succumb to their emotions.

Does this mean friends are not human angels? Not at all. Through those lessons, if we truly love our friends, they can teach us how to be forgiving, understanding and compassionate. Something angels cannot do. Maybe angels use these ‘human angels’ to help teach us these lessons? I am not sure. What I am sure of is that I am blessed to have many friends who have looked out for me, tried to keep me safe and gave me an encouraging word when I needed one. To me that is a definition of a human angel.

This week let us approach this idea in two ways. First, take a look at some of our closest friends. Do they qualify as human angels? Chances are in some form or fashion they just might. I hear a lot of voices throughout the day. My stomach tells me pizza for dinner everyday is ok. There are the things my body tells me after the gym, but I do not think they are fit to type here. The closest things to an angelic voice that I hear is from someone I deeply care about telling me they feel the same. Let us, in our own way, recognize these human angels. It doesn’t have to be anything grand. In fact, if you are shy or nervous as to what they may think you don’t have to tell them at all. In my life all of my friends know I am crazy, so I am not worried. Even just taking a moment to yourself to think, “This person is a human angel.” That will be enough to cause a shift in how you see that person.

The second part is being a human angel. Again, this does not mean trying to be perfect or walking around in a toga playing a harp, but doing our best to treat others the best we can. With love, respect and compassion. Do you think anyone would describe you as a human angel?

WHY BOTHER?

Last post we investigated why it is important to give all of yourself when it comes to your relationship with the one you love. We learned that it allows them to give all of themselves to us, we learned that by not doing so we end up drawing into our lives the very circumstances that we are trying to prevent. That is certainly important when it comes to our romantic partners. Most of the time we are not only sharing our hearts and souls with each other, but also our homes. Not only is it very important to keep someone who lives in the same house with you happy, but they are probably thinking something very similar.

What about the other people in our lives? What about our friends? Why is important to put so much effort into our friendships? In case you didn’t read the last post let me refresh some of the points that apply equally to friendships as they do to romantic relationships. There are friends we might be afraid to trust completely because they might take advantage of our trust and hurt us. Unlike the romantic partner, there are less repercussions if they do. We do not have to go home to our friends. The connection is generally not as deep as our romantic relationships and therefore the ending of a friendship is usually less painful than a romantic relationship. Same with sharing ourselves with friends. The less we tell them, the less information they would have to use against us should they decide to do so.

To a lot of us this may seem very safe and logical. The less we give people the chance to hurt us, the less we will be hurt. Seems to make sense, right? Wrong. By doing this we are not only short-changing ourselves out of the deep, meaningful relationships we could be enjoying, but we are also hurting others and increasing the chances that we will be hurt in the future. Wait, what?

That’s right. So far we have been looking at this from only one side of the equation. Let us look at the other side for a second. If you feel that your friend views you as untrustworthy or at best does not trust you completely, how would that make you feel? Do you think you would feel like extending your trust to that person? You would probably end up feeling like they do not hold you in that high of regard. Now follow that up with them not completely sharing themselves with you. That could leave you feeling that they think you are either not worth knowing that information, or again cannot be trusted with it. Do you think you would share things about yourself with them? Probably not. This would leave us with very shallow and incomplete relationships at best. It also leaves the door open to upset or anger people even by accident. If you do not know what a person likes or dislikes, their opinions on certain matters or even their fears and joys you could say something you truly regret even not trying to do so.

We have exhausted why it is important not to not give ourselves to friendships. How it can end up increasing the chances we will get hurt instead of keeping us safe as we may think. What advantages, if any, can we gain by trusting and giving ourselves completely to our friendships? I give you exhibit A in the picture above. This is a story that is so exciting I can hardly wait to share it with you. While Margie and I were DJing at a local establishment on Sunday night, my good friend Cari messaged Margie and asked her what door we use when we come home as she had a surprise for me.

When we arrived home around 2 a.m., after what was a very busy evening I was exhausted. Currently, the date here is January 95th, or so it feels. We should be having highs in the mid 50’s but they had been barely above freezing with the sun so fed up with the long winter it decided to take a vacation. I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, so prolonged cold weather minus the sunshine can be quite trying for me and those around me. At this point if you would like to light a candle for Margie it would not be a bad idea. Because I do indeed trust my friends with this information and share it with them as well, Cari was able to do something so thoughtful and amazing. I arrived home to see the above signs taped to my front door! They ranged from reminding me warm weather was coming, to the fact that the cold weather is what makes the tropics so special to me. She added the Wisconsin State Fair, which I love as well. She even encouraged me by reminding me how much my writing touches her and others.

That night I fell asleep with a heart filled with gratitude for the caring and loving friends I have. The reminders and motivation served their purpose, but so did the fact that I have such a great friend. Her efforts did more than she could possibly imagine and her timing could not have been more perfect!

My point is that this all would not have been possible if I did not open my heart to my good friend. It would not have happened if I did not trust her enough to share not only my joys, but also my struggles and fears. It is true that not many friends can be as awesome as Cari, but by trusting and sharing with your friends you give them the opportunity to be so.

UNDERWEAR AND NICKLES

Here is one of those odd conversations you have. My friend Russ and I were recently having a telephone conversation. We try to catch up with each other about once a week if we can. Russ is like the brother I never had. We share philosophy, jokes, memories and on occasion a weird topic tends to pop up. Today was one of those days.

After the usual update on each other’s lives the topic of underwear came up. Not sure who brought it up, or exactly how and why two men in their early forties found this to begin discussing new styles of underwear we came across and how comfortable the were and how well they performed while working out. We discussed the fact that they cost a little more than we are used to spending, but how we planned to slowly replace all of our underwear with these new, comfortable and costly style.

Reading this as I type it the conversation still seems a little odd. That is who are, two odd gentleman with a panache for discussing off the wall topics. Noting that, I said to Russ, if I had a nickel for every time I had a discussion like this, I would have…a nickel. We both agreed that those extra nickels would be best spent on the products we had been discussing.

A day later I began to think how a younger me would find spending so much money on something nobody else would see might seem foolish. As we grow older, our priorities  change. Suddenly buying those expensive shoes for the brand name, becomes more about buying the most comfortable and durable shoes regardless of the brand. Spending your extra nickels on underwear that keep you comfortable not only makes sense, but should be a priority. After all, you wear underwear daily, it is close to your skin and can make a big difference in the quality of your day.

Stop and think of what you are spending your nickels on. Is it to impress others? Are you focused on things that will make the biggest difference even though nobody else may notice? If you have a friend to have a crazy conversation with, be grateful, you never know where it may take you.

IT IS JUST WHAT YOU NEEDED

Fun… that’s so childish. What does fun do? Provides us an escape. Fun gives us a chance to use our imagination and see the future we would like to create. On the practical side, fun allows us to sneak in some physical activity while enjoying ourselves. We can learn and develop skills all while having fun.

Let me ask you this, when are we most in need of all of these things? When we are children and have little to no responsibility, generally walk everywhere because our legs are too short to reach the pedals, or when we are adults and face the pressures of work, bills, family and fixing the car we are now able to drive?

Another thing that seems oddly more difficult to do as adults is make new friends and bond with the ones we already have. Margie and I began hosting a board game night and had the great honor of being joined by our friends Beth, Terri, Shawn, Josie, Mimi, Michelle, Beto and others. We laughed, drank copious amounts of wine and rum. The best part? We all laughed, and got to know each other a great deal better through this fun.

What does all of that do? The obvious answer is relieve stress, create good feelings and smiles. Maybe not so obvious is that it allows us to get to know our friends likes and dislikes. It allows us to build the level of trust and connection between all of us. The crazy thing? It’s all fun!

So, make sure you schedule some fun in your life! It will help your physical and mental health as well as strengthen your relationships! Now to get some wine, rum and friends together for the next game night!

MAKE IT EASIER

 

All week we have been discussing ways to help us along the great journey we began with Monday’s post. Again, if you have not had a chance to take part of this amazing 7 day transformational event it is never too late. Feel free to click the link below to see how you can get started today!

I DARE YOU….

The last two days we have looked at ways in which we can remain positive and make this journey not only more powerful, but more fun. We mentioned finding the dessert in any situation on Tuesday. Yesterday we talked about making the most of happy moments and how to use them to also help us achieve our goals.

What is the best way to find the dessert in every situation and have as many special moments as possible? Surround yourself with people doing the same! If your life is filled with Debbie downer and Negative Nancy it will be extremely hard to remain optimistic about the realization of any goal you are focusing on. The best is when you can recruit your partner to join you on the journey to having an amazing life as I have. Even if you want to keep what you are doing to yourself, surrounding yourself with people who are not only positive, but want to make the best of themselves can make all the difference.

Above is a picture of my friend Russ and I. We have been friends for…well…let us just say a really long time. Russ and myself have many different viewpoints and have taken several different paths. What is the same is our end goal. To learn how to squeeze every last drop of passion and enjoyment out of life all while learning to be the best versions of ourselves.

Because, not in spite of, the fact that we are different can we help each other so well. Trying to read every book or try every method for self-improvement yourself is just not practical. There is just not enough days in one’s life. Having a friend, or friends, who look at life differently but have the same end goal can introduce you to a world of different options than you could ever discover yourself. In addition, having someone facing the same struggles and cheering you on can get you through the toughest times. So ‘pick your posse’ carefully. This, more than anything, can make all the difference in your journey to live an amazing life.

ONE SECRET KEY…

In life there are many tips and tricks we can employ to assist us in living a better life. Among these there are the few secret keys that can have a radical effect on several areas of our life, but changing just one thing. Today we are going to discuss one of these. The funny thing about these keys is they are often deceptively simple. How would you like a trick that could make every business meeting more productive? Every moment with a friend or loved one more enjoyable? Every difficult situation go a little more smoothly? Of course you would. Who wouldn’t? not anyone reading a blog like this one I am sure. Here is this key, simple and to the point – a sense of purpose – Now what do I mean by a sense of purpose? Decide ahead of time what you want out of any situation. Perhaps you have to make a call to apologize to a friend you may have upset. Before you dial the number take a second to decide what it is you want to solve in this phone call. Do you wish to convey that fact that you feel terrible about hurting this person’s feelings? Do you wish to find a plan for the future so this doesn’t happen again? Or is your goal to just repair the friendship at all costs? Repeat your goal over and over in your mind for several minutes before you actually call. Perhaps you may even wish to write it down so you can have it in front of you? Then while you are in the middle of the conversation you thoughts and words are directed to your desired outcome. If the conversation starts to get off track, think of your goal and how you can steer it back.

Now this does not only have to be a ‘problem solving’ issue like stated above. It can work wonders in almost every other area of your life as well. On your way home from work, decide what you desire out of the evening with your spouse or family. Is it to convey your gratefulness for their love and support? Is it to show them that they are loved? Or is it simply to avoid screaming at them in frustration? The last one is kind of a joke, as you know from former posts I am always insistent on stating things in the positive. Especially goals! Now think of instead of dreading going into that boring work meeting you say to yourself, “What do I wish to get out of this meeting?” decide on that and the meeting may take on a whole new look. Say you are meeting your friend for coffee or dinner just to be social. Think of what you may wish to discuss with this friend. Do you wish to inquire on the health of their family? Let them know how grateful you are that you are friends? Perhaps even encourage them to finish that book they have been writing. That last one may have been a hint for my friends. now, the point here is if we enter any situation with a clearly defined desired outcome it may make fun times that much more enjoyable and the hard times a little more bearable. The point here is not to obsess. you do not have to have a goal for going to the bathroom other than the obvious, or for enjoying a rum and coke, which for me is rather obvious as well. Just try to add a few more into your life and you will notice how quickly your life can improve!