Dealing With The Difficult People In Your Life…

We’re all involved in relationships, and no two are alike. The easy ones bring joy and comfort. The impossible ones may stay for a while, but most of the time they don’t last. The difficult ones may take some work, but we usually feel they’re worth keeping. And each one is there for a purpose, to bring a blessing and/or a lesson. No matter what, our life is blessed by people.

When dealing with those difficult ones it’s wise to first know yourself...to understand your feelings when someone ticks you off. What bothers you and what doesn’t …and why? Do you know your strengths and weaknesses? Are you tactful or confronting…quiet or outspoken…judgmental or accepting? What are your fears and insecurities? And what ability or talent can you express to others? You may have valuable qualities of which you’re not even aware. The better you understand yourself, the better you’ll understand others, even the difficult ones. So know yourself first, and then focus on the people in your life.

“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; oftentimes we call a man cold when he is only sad.”  ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A person’s behavior patterns are clues that reveal much about them. And difficult people may require closer attention to understand their behaviors. The more you observe and understand, the better equipped you are to deal with them. They may have inner fears or insecurities that cause troublesome behaviors that frustrate or irritate you. Maybe there’s fear of losing control, losing position, revealing weaknesses, or some other hidden fear. Or there may be some emotional pain the person is not comfortable sharing. We all try to protect ourselves in some way, and we may use negative behaviors to cope. We can’t see inside of another person, but knowing and understanding as much as possible may lead to a better relationship.

Everyone is unique with particular talents or abilities, and these become part of who they are in the world. Some can fix problems, some are comforting, some are fun, some give good advice, some are good listeners, etc. But no one is all of these, so we can’t expect anyone to be everything to us. Nor can we be everything to everyone else. But learning a difficult person’s talents and abilities can be used to create a more harmonious relationship.

“Some of the best people with whom you can have a relationship are the people who challenge your thinking.”  ~ T. D. Jakes

Years ago when I worked with a mental health team in a jail setting, one Sergeant felt threatened by our presence and always gave us a hard time. So I devised a plan to soften his attitude. I noticed he was organized and had a talent for keeping his floor running smoothly with few problems. So I assumed a subordinate attitude and began complimenting him on the exceptionally good work he was doing. Well, his frown quickly changed as he threw out his chest and smiled with ego satisfaction. From then on, our difficult relationship became one of congenial cooperation. So compliments are sometimes useful in melting a negative attitude.

Sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t. So if your efforts to create more harmony are not producing results, it may be time to regroup and alter the way you relate to a person. If there’s conflict when you try to discuss deeper personal issues with someone, but it’s absolutely necessary, then do it. But try to generally relate to them on a lighter, more surface level, so as not to step on any thin ice. Avoid areas in which they become defensive. Try to understand where they’re coming from, and help them feel safe with you. But if nothing works, be willing to let them go.

“Sometimes God uses difficult people, like sandpaper to rub the rough edges off us.”  ~ Joel Osteen 

If you want to keep a difficult person in your life, try to look past behaviors that disturb or irritate. And don’t get caught up in their chaos. There’s good in everyone, even those who come across otherwise. So look for qualities in them that you can enjoy. You wouldn’t want to keep them if you didn’t already see something of value, even something to help you learn and grow. Approach all of your relationships with love and as much understanding as you can muster. You just might find a diamond in some rough exteriors. And their lives just might enrich yours.


I wish you many happy relationships.

Marilyn Fowler, Author of  “Silent Echoes”  and Writer for “Keys To Recovery”

Ways To Make Wise Choices And Avoid Consequences You Don’t Want…

“Everything we say or do in life is a choice.”  ~ Unknown

Push a button, turn on a thought, talk, get dressed, drive somewhere, thousands of actions every day. We’re creatures of habit, and most of the time we’re unaware that each action is a choice, and each choice has a consequence. Of course, we need to form habits to function on a daily basis. But each decision we make creates a result, positive or negative. And it pays to understand the bigger picture so our major choices can benefit us as well.

“For every choice we make we set a cycle of energy and consequence into motion.”   ~Caroline Myss, PhD

We take everyday habits for granted. But you choose. And those daily activities probably meet your needs. But what about major decisions about work, finances, relationships, health, home. etc…those choices that are difficult to undo or change? And what about situations that just happen through no fault of yours? A few years ago, I experienced a serious car wreck. I didn’t choose the accident, but I chose the route that got me there. So where does it all come from?

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate.”  ~ C. G. Jung

We learn during our whole lifetime, but for the most part, childhood is where we learn how to live our life making choices. We make them in our own individual way, with a number of factors that influence our methods. And these influences prepare us well or lead us to a series of misguided decisions with negative, even painful, results. As children, the demands on us can create a sense of confidence or mistrust in our judgment.

Situations such as poverty, health issues, disruptive environments, and negative messages can hamper our ability to make sound choices. Trying to live up to roles assigned by our parents can engender security or insecurity. Even where you are in the birth line can make a difference. Nothing is written in stone, but the oldest are usually more independent and self-reliant; the middle may feel shadowed by the others; the youngest more dependent and welcome support.

“Life is all about choices. Good or Bad; Right or Wrong; Your destiny will unfold according to the choices you make.”  ~ Unknown

How many people do you know who look back in regret wishing they’d chosen differently in their work, relationships, health, etc? I can’t count the times I’ve done that. I had to experience 2 years of therapy to learn that my fear, insecurity, poor self-image, loneliness, and so forth had altered my ability to choose wisely. And that’s when I turned the page with wiser choices and happier consequences.

There’s no guarantee that all your choices will be the right ones. But you can learn to create better outcomes most of the time. There’s a saying, “Look at your life, and you’ll see what you have created.” So first look at your life and own responsibility for having created it. Then look at each present situation in your life, and think back in time to what choice you made in the past that created that situation, positive or negative. Some choices may appear to have been some mistakes. But re-examine and see if anything good ultimately resulted from them. You may be surprised.

Now consider what there is within you that may influence your choices, positive or negative. Is it doubting your ability, poor self-image, fear of failure, what will people think, etc? What determines the choices you make? Just being in too much of a hurry could be a problem. With awareness and understanding, you can sometimes correct situations in your life with new choices. And those you can’t change, you can choose ways to better cope.

The next time you have to make a major choice like buying a product, finding a doctor, a new friend, a job, a relationship, or a major life change, analyze what you’re thinking, and get in touch with your gut feeling. Don’t expect a perfect answer, but trust yourself, and vanish any fears. Check your options, get a second opinion, gather needed information, talk it over with someone you trust. All of this information will empower you to move forward in confidence.

You’ve done your homework, and in the future, it will pay off. Maybe not perfect, but you can experience more of the life you long for deep inside. And when you learn, you can teach someone else.

I wish you clear vision and happy results.

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer of  “SILENT ECHOES”  and
“ME and GRANMAMA IN THE HILL COUNTRY”  both now on Amazon…

Choose Laughter.

Hello, everyone.

I have to apologize for not having an article ready for this week. But I remembered a time a saw a precious little girl enjoying an absolutely wonderful laugh…and I thought about the value of laughter not only in fun times but especially when you’re down and need lifting up. So today I’m offering a poem about those down times.

Marilyn

If you’re laughing, you’re healing.”   ~Gangaji


It’s not easy to laugh when you’re hurting with physical illness, mental anguish, emotional pain or a spiritual need. It all hurts, and you may feel nothing can help. But that’s when laughter is important to help your inner child laugh again. There have been times when my own faith had to be rekindled and, for me, my poetry helps. I wrote the following poem during one of those times.

I find that when I hurt inside,
I can make a joke and find a laugh.
It comes from yet a different place,
Along my weary path.
Laughter drives away the tears,
And calms the hurt below.
It frees my soul to feel alive
Where I think angels go.

God knew I’d need this useful tool
To lift me high above the dark,
So I can see the truth of life,
And find that vital spark.

Thank you, Lord, for quips and giggles,
For making light of strife and pain,
For finding fun in spite of trial
To find my joyful way again.

I wish you laughter to wash away the tears. Be happy, dear one.

Marilyn Fowler, Author of  “SILENT ECHOES”  and  “Me and Granmama In The Hill Country”
E-book now only $2.99!

Just For FUN.

“Every action in our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.”  ~Edwin Hubbel Chapin

Some people work at jobs they don’t like; others find work they enjoy; and some express a hobby in their work making every day a special pleasure. Either way, it helps to have something to get excited about. And what a blessing for those who can maintain happy work and play.

Years ago when my son and daughter-in-law’s bicycle shop became too demanding, they sold it and went into other careers they enjoyed. But they clung to their love of bikes, and over the years they’ve biked all over their state, up into Canada, and on camping trips. Now they’re retired and back into the bike business. My daughter-in-law finds used bikes, and my son repairs them. Then they sell the bikes from their garage or rented booths downtown in flea markets.

I’ve had some happy work and some not so happy. But since childhood I’ve clung to my love of writing. And today I’d like to share a shortened whimsical story I created. Enjoy…just for fun.

Tandemonium
     “Take your hands off me, you brute,” Rosie demanded. “Bert, help me.”
     “What can I do?” Bert yelled. “He’s got me too.”
     A tall man with muscles like footballs hoisted Rosie and Bert up the side of a truck and threw them flying over onto the middle of a trash heap. When the truck took off, their chains rattled with every bump in the road.

     “We’ve been kidnapped,” Rosie screamed. “How can we get out of this, Bert?”
     “Hang on, Babe. Let’s see where we’re going, and look for a way out.”
     Rosie trembled with fear, and couldn’t keep her chassis still. She’d never been so shook up. “What’s he gonna do with us, Bert?:

     “Probably what everybody else did with us our whole life–get rid of us.”
     “That’s not true. Remember that nice couple we met a couple years ago? We had a good time with them before they moved to Wyoming and had to leave us.”
     “I’m glad they left. I didn’t like the way that dude looked you over, checked out your rear end and everything. Yeah.”

     “He was just curious. Don’t let things like that get to you. I don’t think…”
     “Whoa, Babe. We’re slowing down.” Bert strained to see ahead. “Oh, no. It’s that salvage dump around the bend. Now we’re doomed.”

     Rosie and Bert braced their bodies as the truck turned into a long driveway and parked. When the driver pushed a button, one end of the truck bed rose up, and the whole load clanged and banged to the ground, rattling in all directions. Rosie looked around and cried, “Now my seat is full of dirt. It’s bad enough being kidnapped and stripped of all decency, but to see my rump like this is too much.”

     Bert ignored her complaints when he saw the truck pull away. “Never mind that now. It looks like we’ve been spared, for a while anyway.”
     They huddled together, unsure of their next move, when they heard thunder overhead. Rosie panicked again. “Oh, Bert. What if it rains? I’ll get soaked like last year. Remember what a mess that was?”

     Bert grinned. “I sure do, Babe. I kinda liked you that way.”
     Before Rosie could answer, they heard a car pull into the area, and a young couple got out. They wandered from one pile of trash to the other, and ended up in front of Rosie and Bert. “Honey,” the woman said. “This is perfect. Not much fixing up to do.”
     The man walked around and took a better look. “Well, I thought we’d look for two, but yeah, this will do fine. Won’t take much to make it look like new, and it might be fun riding together on a tandem bike.”
     Rosie squealed. “Bert, we’re saved. We’re saved. They want us. Oh, I know they’ll take good care of us.”
   
Bert smiled and whispered. “Take is easy, Babe. Don’t look too anxious.”
                                                                       THE END.  .  .


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“You don’t need a reason for doing everything in your life. Do it because you want to. Because it’s fun. Because it makes you happy.”  ~Unknown

Maybe you can’t incorporate a hobby in your work, but you can find expression in your life for something you love, and create a necessary balance. We all have a talent, a yearning, a fire inside. But we get lost in daily activities and push it aside. Don’t let your fire die. It’s an important part of who you are. Let all of you shine through, and make it fun.
I wish you many happy days being you.

Marilyn Fowler. Author/Writer

*My Books on Amazon ~ Just Click Them!*

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Acceptance – Courage – Wisdom. Do These Words Have Meaning In Your Life?

Welcome To My Self-Help Blog Friends,


Thoughts behind the Serenity Prayer have been around for centuries but, according to Wikipedia, the actual prayer as we know it was authored by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) for sermons at Heath Evangelical Union Church in Heath, Massachusetts, and was first published in 1951 in a magazine column. The prayer spread through Niebuhr’s sermons and church groups in the 1930s and 1940s, and was later adopted by Alcoholics anonymous and other twelve-step programs.

The prayer has appeared in many versions, and the best-known form with 3 lines is today found in many homes, including mine. Its meaning is profound when examined with the mind and heart. But its words are simple, and it’s so familiar, we take it for granted. I doubt that many could explain its meaning in depth unless they knew it first hand as a source of hope and guidance in addiction recovery work. And unless someone is involved in this type of life-changing experience, the value of this meaningful prayer oftentimes is not being used.

How many times
have you read the words in the Serenity Prayer and not related them to your own life? Are they just words, or could they have an important influence on the quality of your life? What does acceptance mean, and how is that done? What is courage, and where do we find it? What is wisdom, and how do we get it?

“The real peace of mind is accepting reality as it is.” ~ Swami Premodaye

 Acceptance: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
The first line of the prayer implies that serenity is needed to accept what you can’t change. Acceptance doesn’t mean it’s okay if you lose your job, you experience illness, you lose a loved one, your car breaks down, a storm blows the roof off your house, whatever the situation. That is the pain of human life, and it’s not okay that it happened or is happening. But you must accept that it exists, and you can’t change it. It doesn’t mean you won’t suffer, but rather than stew, fret, stress over it … Let it be. Be willing to assume a more calm, peaceful mind and heart to accept the reality of it and respond with the strength you need to survive, and not let it destroy you.

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” ~Andre Gide

Courage: Courage to change the things I can.
You were born with all the courage you need. Your courage just gets lost sometimes behind a fear of the unknown or in the false belief that you lack the ability to create change. But as you focus less on what you can’t change and increase focus on what you can, your confidencecourage … will increase. So when there’s something that you can and want to change, then assume a calm, serene mind and heart attitude toward whatever’s holding you back, and respond with your courage in spite of it. John Wayne said, “Courage is being scared to death … but saddling up anyway.”

Sometimes the status quo may feel safer, but how would it feel to spend the rest of your life watching ships pass you by and leave you standing on the shore in your own prison of fear? Think on that and heed the prayer for courage to change the things you can. Because you can.

Wisdom: And wisdom to know the difference.

Your life belongs to you. You have the power to accept what you cannot change and the power to change what you can. And wisdom is the ability to know and
understand what you’re dealing with and to act accordingly.

It’s been said that experience is the best teacher, and I think that’s pretty true. So pay attention, and don’t take your good times lightly or curse your suffering. Great lessons are learned from some of our best and worst times. And this teaches us to know the difference between what we cannot change and what we can. Read the Serenity Prayer thoughtfully in relation to your own life. Read it everyday. There’s much wisdom here with opportunity to expand your life in wondrous ways.

Much of what I’ve written in this article is from my own observations with the Serenity Prayer. I hope you find some of them useful, and that your life is enriched with some of your own.

I wish you happiness as you create what you want in your life.

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer of
“Silent Echoes  & Me and Granmama In The Hill Country”

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Me And My Nightmare!

“It is only when they go wrong that machines remind you how powerful they are.”   ~ Clive James ~

 

Yes, I told you about the computer I lost over a year ago, but I’ve had several since then. And I try not to remember the good old days, because whether I like it or not, today I need a computer. I will never understand a computer, but I’m learning how to protect myself from its devious ways to torture me. And perhaps my experience can help you too when your computer throws a tantrum at you.
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That computer suddenly gave me a blank page, and the hard drive roared like a storm raging through a tunnel. At first I was patient, but after the 3rd time of this, I had enough. So with a few choice words, I projected my frustration onto that machine. And in malicious retaliation it bellied up and died. Stone dead. I may be semi computer illiterate, but I did nothing to antagonize that monster.

Some people develop good person-machine relationships. But some find machines daunting mysteries that have an ability to drive you up a wall. The closest I ever came to any machine proficiency was when my old Chevy died at red lights. Someone taught me to lift the hood, reconnect 2 wires, close the hood, jump back in and go, and ignore my children yelling and other drivers honking at me.

I’m pretty good at a lot of things, but computer stuff isn’t one of them. Years ago when I was a bar waitress on an Air Force Base, I knew how to deal with guys who had too much to drink. There’s a method to that, and I learned quickly. When I lived in Las Vegas, I went to the desert and learned to shoot a gun. I was pretty good at it, but the gun scared me, so I got rid of it. Then when I worked in a jail as a Mental Health Counselor, a violent schizophrenic was no problem for me. The officers called me to handle those situations. And I’m only 5ft 1in tall. I also remember a time I was alone in a London, England airport, and I couldn’t figure out how to get my huge suitcases from the first floor to the second floor to change planes. You’d think the airline would have done that for me. I felt pretty stupid, but I finally figured that one out. There are carts to do that. Duh.

In my later years, I actually wrote a book, Silent Echoes. It’s a memoir, but it has lots of adventures in it. I reveal some of my stupid escapades, but I had sense enough to survive. Then I wrote Me And Granmama In The Hill Country, and now I’m writing about the years I worked in the jail.

So why is a computer such a mystery to me? I understand what makes people tick, and they fascinate me. But the computer is like a giant stranger hovering over me, chiding me, because I don’t understand that piece of solid mass with a mind of its own.

I missed my old computer after it was gone, and I was kind enough to give it a proper burial. Then a very kind friend, who understands my ignorance, got me a new one. He called it an upgrade, and he spent 2 hours instructing me on how to work with it. Now I realize that if that computer and I are to have a future together, I’ll have to make some concessions, because that computer ego will never give an inch. So I will practice patience, and only in extreme anger will I reveal that other models are available. I also have good contact with my friend who is willing to come to my rescue, and will treat my computer with utmost care.

I wish you many happy days with your computer. And don’t forget to treat it kindly.
It’s hard to live a full life today without it. . . . .

Marilyn Fowler, Author
http://www.amazon.com/Silent-Echoes-MarilynFowler/dp/1432749498/

“Break Ups ~ They can come in all forms on Our Journey Of Life”

We usually think of a break up as with that special someone in our life. But a break up can also be with any person, a situation or even a place–a good friend, family, an organization, the place where you live. A break up means leaving someone or something you’re attached to. And that can be painful, or not. But it does mean facing change and making adjustments. Some break ups are what we want and we initiate them, but some are out of our control. And we don’t always react to all of them in the same way.

When I got my first divorce, I was surprised by my reaction. I wanted out of the marriage and I initiated the break up, but when I got the final papers, I didn’t feel happy like I thought I would. I remember sinking down on the floor in the hallway, leaning against the wall and crying buckets. I was sure I had done the right thing. It was what I wanted. But I felt a deep sense of loss and failure. I’d done all I could to make things work, but it seemed so sad for a family to break up. It took a while to face a new life.


Hug the lion in yourself and move on from break ups . . . .

Then years later I was living in Las Vegas, and had to make a move I hadn’t anticipated. I was working in the Mental Health Center in my first job as a Therapist. I loved my work, had close friends, and I was very happy where I was. But my mother who lived in another state had a stroke, and I quit my job to move near her and help my brothers care for her. This was a real break up for me, one I would not have made had it not been for the situation. I didn’t cry when I left Las Vegas, but I will always miss it. And I’m glad I was there for my mother the last years of her life.

Everyone goes through break ups at some time in their life. It’s part of the journey. Some are good and bring happiness. Some are painful and bring a need to heal and adjust. But I think we grow and change a little, or a lot, after each one. Hopefully they make us stronger and better able to face the next one. When you face a painful break up and you have to leave someone or something in your life, do what you can to heal your wounds, and know you can make it. You’ve made it this far, haven’t you? You’re probably stronger than you think, and you can make it this time too.

I wish you healing, blessings and peace when you need it.

Marilyn Fowler, Author of, Silent Echoes and Me and Granmama in the Hill Country.