The day has arrived. It’s a day we have all been aiming at for 18 years. All of your hard work in grade school, junior high and high school—and it was a lot of hard work—paid off in a big way.
You’re entering as fine an institution for higher education as we could have hoped for you. You have a strong foundation of success that will serve you well. You have established positive behavior patterns and habits that will support you when facing new academic challenges. You’re going to be fine.
Even though you don’t totally believe that. (more…)
Across the spectrum of social media, as well in business publications and self-help books, there’s a theme gaining traction: losing the losers.
The argument goes something like this:
Each of us has people in our lives that are, well, less than optimal. Their influence isn’t as uplifting as it could be. They don’t add much to the quality of your life. Perhaps they even somehow inhibit the direction you want to go in. Worst of all, they may even be conveying to you, from time to time, a negative message or attempt to exert influence on you.
That said, because there is a limited amount of time to spend with people—and life is short—therefore it only makes sense that we dump these loser friends. Right? We deserve better. Who wants to interact with a person who “drains”? You should surround yourself with people that make you happy and fulfilled. Without any drama. They should contribute to your life experience.
If not, they are losers and they should be dumped. Or if that sounds too harsh, you need to get real, grow up and distance them from you. It’s only right.
So, does this message ring any bells for you?
Losers Are For Losers
Like most things in life, nothing is quite as simple as it seems.
There are five problems with this position:
Who all is included in the “loser” category? Maybe family isn’t included in the argument—maybe—but pretty much every human you could ever interact with gets lumped into this generic, probable “loser” category. Any principle built on such a wide focus needs some level of vigorous skepticism. Not mindless embrace.
At what age does the principle become appropriate? Is a parent “less than optimal” by insisting that Junior clean his room, zip up his pants or earn his keep?
In what setting does the principle work? For instance, is it unjust when an employer requires the employee to complete the tasks they were hired to do? Or does that “inhibit the direction” the employee thinks is best?
Why does hearing a “negative message” from time to time qualify that conveyor for ejection into the realm of “Loser”? Isn’t that exactly what a true friend sometimes does—say something the other doesn’t want to hear?
Why do “we deserve better?” According to whom? It smacks of raw narcissism to believe that everyone else—or at least those we interact with the most—should add to our “life experience.” Wow. What happens when illness enters into the picture? That’s kind of a negative, isn’t it? Dump them?
Losers ‘R Us
Seizing upon the idea that it is justified, even enlightened and spiritual, to dump the losers in your life, is a harsh position to embrace. Because someday, more than once, you will be that loser. Think about it for a minute. You already have been.
Being dumped as a loser is not going to leave you happy and fulfilled. It hurts. You are not going to be more inclined to uplift others. Quite the opposite. Your messages will lean more towards the “negative” and your willingness to support others in the direction they’re going will be diminished. At least.
Dumping the losers in your life is, eventually, self-destructive.
Rather, struggle through difficult conversations. Work towards understanding. Be brave enough to speak truth to influence (when is that not received as “negative”?). Whether the person is in a position of power or not. Whether the person is a friend. Whether they are family.
Engage in real living to experience real community. Embrace the losers in your life. Because you’ll also be embracing you.
What’s been your experience with this theme? Where have you seen or heard it? In the workplace? In the–gasp–church? Have you been the dumper? How about the dumpee?
Next time: How To Follow Your Dreams Without Dumping People Along The Way
Have you ever invited someone, or been invited, to a tea party?! If you haven’t, you must! However, I must state that your tea party will never be a match for having a tea party at Anne’s, my mother-in-laws, home. She is the Queen of Tea Party! As the phrase goes, “she is the Hostess with the Mostess!”
For five years, we had the joy of living just down the street from Joel’s mom in Yakima, Washington. Joel and I knew that this was a very special time for our little family of three which, now with “Mams” just a block away, made four. We spent many a weekend visiting each other. Mams also did a lot of babysitting of Jessica, so Joel and I could go out on a date together. Anne would also watch Jessica once or twice during the week so I could go write music with my friend, Jeff. Mams actually was really my support staff. If it hadn’t been for her, my music would never have had the chance to blossom! I am forever grateful for this. Thank you, Mams!
Earl Grey? Hot!
Oh! Back to the tea parties! Once a week or so, after school, Jessica and I would walk from her elementary school across the street and stop in at Mams house for a visit. Often those visits became little tea parties.
Anne has this way of taking any normal everyday food and making it extra fancy and special. She also is a great house decorator, so doilies and fancy table cloths decorated her dinner table. She often had a candle and petite little plates for us to use along with her beautiful teacups and saucers. She would often take a large blueberry muffin and divide it into thirds, and sometimes have a few crackers and cheese on the side. Our “Tea Party” consisted of her very weak coffee, and my hot water with a variety of teas. And last, but definitely not least, Mams would put together the perfect mixture of juice and water just right for Jessica’s tummy.
We would often talk about Jessica’s day at Preschool, Kindergarten, or First Grade. Usually, much laughter took place along with silly stories and little games Mams and Jessica would routinely play.
It truly was a special time we shared together. I encourage you to stop and take time to slow down. Enjoy a treat and something warm to drink. This is a great time of year to make memories with family members, neighbors, friends. But then, what time of year isn’t a great time? You could also pick up the phone and give someone special a call and have a long distant Tea Party!
I wrote this song, “Tea Time,” for Mams. It is written from the perspective of Jessica, reflecting on these days when she was a wee little thing.
Who in your life would love a tea party? Put the pot on and start a new memory.