Loving Without Condoning Poor Behavior

It’s Saturday and you wake up to a beautiful sunny morning.  You’re looking forward to an unplanned day filled with endless possibilities.  You’re happy and rested.  Suddenly out of left field you’re smacked with a curve ball on the side of your head with a rant of accusations by a frustrated loved one.  All before stepping out of bed.

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article on Acceptance | One of the Hardest Things to Do.  And I asked myself ‘Where do you draw the line between accepting the person without condoning their ‘off the handle’ behavior?’  Accepting them for who they are does not mean you have to agree with their behavior.  In fact, tough love will require you to have the courage to confront.  The key factor to confrontation is that your intentions need to come from a place of love and the well being for that person rather than from a place of anger or spite.  And even with your best intentions, it may still be received with defensiveness, anger, resistance, or withdrawal.

It’s natural for us to protect ourselves and take the path of the least resistant and remain silent.  But overtime, your inner fuming and staying bitter towards them will harm you.  Never make the assumption they’ll pick up on your silent cues and magically put the pieces together, or that they’ll feel remorseful for their actions and take the first step towards reconciliation.  They’re not mind readers, they can see you’re upset but they won’t necessarily know why you’re upset.  Plus they’re still probably upset themselves and wondering why you haven’t figured it out.  This will only create more distance between the both of you and at this point, become a battle of wills.  So take the initiative to clearly and objectively communicate what you’re seeing, experiencing and feeling.

It’s also good to keep in mind, that people’s frustrations usually stem out of their own personal issues, inner hurts or past woundings.  So it’s not you, your actions or words that necessarily trigger them but a hurt, resentment, bitterness that might already be within their hearts.  But if they’re not aware of this, they’ll think it’s you and blame you for how they’re feeling.  With this in mind, it’s easier to be patient with them as you walk beside them in their journey.

Since these hurricane days come when you least expect it, it’s emotionally difficult to brace for it.  Loving the person without condoning their poor behavior is very hard to practice.  But it’s possible with compassion, courage, love and truth.  After all you’ve said and done, ultimately it’s up to them to choose what they want to do with it.  My hope is that they’ll see the love behind your words, take responsibility for their feelings and move toward healthy steps for improvement.

© 2012 Susie Lee

Video of the Week | This is Your Life

A few weeks ago, I posted The Holstee Manifesto Poster, This is Your Life.  Today, I’m posting their video they creatively made from their poster.  This Lifecycle video calls everyone to live a life full of intention, passion, and community.

This is your life, what are you going to do with it?

Disappointments | Re-evaluate & Re-create

At some point in our lives, it’s inevitable we’ll face disappointments. It might be with our career, relationships (or a lack of), health or the world at large.  The good news is that disappointments come whenever we attempt to do anything great in our lives or for the world.  The not so good news is that it’s closely followed by resistance, doubt, cynicism, or setbacks in the pursuit of that greatness.

Why this gloomy topic?  Because I know some of us are in this journey right now.  Disappointments will often crush determination with hopelessness, despair and “what’s the use?”  Our minds and bodies will begin to shut down with weariness.  I find when I’m in this place; it helps to step away from my efforts and rest.  In the meantime, I connect with my family and friends for encouragement – drawing strength and wisdom from them.  I, also, read books, get out in nature, watch movies and listen to songs that will inspire me, as it fills me up with love, light and life. After a period of time, I have the newfound energy to help me move forward with clarity, courage and creativity.

But I understand this overwhelming feeling of despair might be a heavy burden for some people to carry that they may decide to throw in the towel.  For others, this feeling of despair may become a catalyst to grow stronger and wiser – fueling their passion, energy, and creativity.  They can choose to remain in despair or see the undercurrent of hope.  For many people, this is where the rubber meets the road.

My message to you is don’t give up on your convictions.  Disappointments are a part of the journey; it’s a sign that you’re closer to success than when you first started.  You’re an amazing being who is highly adaptable and strong-willed.  When the weight of the world is crushing you – there’s still more inside of you.  You can never be completely crushed unless you allow it.  Continue to explore, discover, create and dream of a better world… and a better you.

© 2012 Susie Lee

*This article is dedicated to my aquaterra tv co-host Peter Ormesher

Quotes ::
Anytime you suffer a setback or disappointment,
put your head down and plow ahead.
– Les Brown

Enthusiasm is followed by disappointment and even depression,
and then by renewed enthusiasm.
– Murray Gell-Mann

Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal;
it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.
– Eliza Tabor

One’s best success comes after their greatest disappointments.
– Henry Ward Beecher

The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire;
the size of your dream;and how you handle disappointment along the way.
– Robert Kiyosaki

Quotes of the Week :: Choice in Life’s Struggles

When, at some point in our lives, we meet a real tragedy —which could happen to any one of us — we can react in two ways. Obviously, we can lose hope, let ourselves slip into discouragement, into alcohol, drugs, and unending sadness. Or else we can wake ourselves up, discover in ourselves an energy that was hidden there, and act with more clarity, more force.

-The Dalai Lama

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.

We all have a choice in life’s struggles… stay where you are or grow from it. Stay in the pit or get out. Stay in the dark or come into the light. Be alone or be with others. Be defeated or have hope. Be bitter or forgive. This week, make the choice to pull up your bootstraps and climb out of the pit.
Then surround yourself with beauty, life and love.
–susie lee

Giving Something Up in Exchange for Something Greater

Around this time of year, many Christians and Catholics from around the world observe Lent. They choose to abstain from certain foods or pleasurable activities for 40 days leading up to the single most important event of their faith, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, otherwise known as Easter. Some popular choices include, giving up desserts, taking time out from social media, refraining from deep fried foods, being caffeine-free or simply unplugging the TV… I know it sounds absurd, why would anyone want to give these up? It’s an annual spiritual pilgrimage believers go on to grow closer to God and grow stronger in their faith. So instead of surfing on their iPhone they might use that time to read their Bible or write in their journal. Or when tempted to reach for the sprinkle colored donut, they might see it as a reminder to pray for family, friends or the world around them. This may be a foreign, even strange, concept to those who aren’t familiar with Lent.

I believe this practice of ‘giving something up in exchange’ can benefit anyone. Your exchange may not be for spiritual reasons but you can make it deeply personal and meaningful. It can be giving up something tangible like your late night snacks to the intangible like a negative attitude? Or instead of giving up, why not take something on? Encourage a person everyday, ‘ungrudge’ those grudges, look on the brighter side of things, read to the elderly, become a Big Brother or Sister, write that book or take that class?

Over time, this practice will de-clutter the mind and create more space within the soul to grow. It will help you to focus by letting go of things that slowly steal your time or letting go of attitudes that unconsciously hold you back. I’m not advocating that vices are bad but I believe, sometimes, they have an invisible hold on us. How strong – only you would know. I’m confident that you will feel and see a difference within 40 days. If you’ve decided to take up this challenge, I would love to hear how your journey’s going – where it’s taking you and where you are.

I’ve heard it takes 21 days to break a habit and 30 days to retrain a new one. Hmm… This sounds vaguely like the New Year’s resolutions doesn’t it? And while we’re on that topic, how’s that going for you these days?

© 2012 Susie Lee

Quotes of the Week: You are Amazing!

You already possess everything necessary to become great.
-American Indian proverb

You are beautiful.
You are talented.
You are creative.
You are treasured.
You are wonderful.
You are handsome.
You are worth it.
You are dazzling.
You are amazing.
You are loved.
You are brilliant.
You are cherished.
You are breathtaking.
You are appreciated.
You are fantastic.
You are incredible!
Believe it and live it.
Today and everyday.
-Susie Lee

Acceptance :: One of the Hardest Things

Tom has the tendency to have a pessimistic outlook in life.  Stacy gets defensive and takes things personally.  Susan is usually consumed with her own problems that she fails to see the needs of other’s around her.  David is frugal with his money, time and affection.  Darcy is rude, inconsiderate and holds on to grudges.  Charlie is suspicious and thinks the worst of everyone.

You may have encountered some of these fictional characters in real life or may be living under the same roof with one.  At some point in time, you may have secretly (or openly) wished they were better, different, exciting, spontaneous, funny, or outgoing.  How do we reconcile our feelings with the reality of ‘this is the way they are’?  In this article, I’m going to write about one of the hardest things to do in life but an essential component in relationships:  Accepting the other person for who they are.  I mean truly accepting them without any unconscious intentions to try to change them, even for the better.

I believe one of the reasons it’s hard to accept another person for who they are is because we have a natural tendency to filter people’s actions, behavior and personality, through our own life experiences, upbringing and perspective.  It’s through this paradigm we view the world and the people in it.  And when they don’t ‘fit’ into our worldview box we come up against feelings of frustration, agitation, or unhappiness.  And unless we change the way we think, give up our ‘only-best-right way’ attitude, shift our paradigm, alter our perspective, this mountain will remain impossible to climb.  So how do we do this?

Like most things in life, we always have a choice.  In this case, we can choose to accept or change the person or walk away.  In accepting the person with their ‘flaws’ we let go of control, experience a peace of mind, invite harmony into the relationship and see the bigger picture of life.  On the other hand, if you’re determined to change them you’ll end up on a dead end road of frustration and a battle of wills.  But if the first two options are not feasible or working out for you the way you’d like, then the third option might be the best solution for the both of you.

The irony of trying to change someone is that it is us who changes, for the worse.  Let me explain, your decision will ultimately affect you.  If you choose to accept someone for who they are, the possible benefits you’ll reap will be having more patience, peace, freedom, compassion, and unity.  But the consequences of trying to change someone will cripple you with cynicism, negativity, unwillingness, bitterness, anger, or resentment.  This change in you won’t happen overnight but over a period of time.

My motto lately for acceptance has been, “Life’s too short.”  Life’s too short to fuss and fume. Too short to stay upset and hold a grudge.  Too short to point the finger and accuse.  Too short to be miserable because the person is not what they’re ‘suppose’ to be.  Too short to believe the myth I’d be happier if they changed.  Ultimately what I’m demanding them to be is a mirrored image of myself.  And I guarantee eventually I’ll find a flaw or two.

Of course, there are exceptions to every case; you don’t want to condone destructive habits or abusive behavior.  Tough love will call for a change and for a period of time, you may need to love them from a distance while they get the help they need.

One of the key ways in accepting another person is through appreciation.  Focus on the good qualities they already possess – strengths, positive character traits, accomplishments, their hopes and dreams.  Then share this admiration to the person genuinely without expecting anything in return.  I believe this seed of authentic appreciation and unconditional acceptance will blossom into something beautiful in them.  And please don’t be hurt or offended if they don’t appreciate your appreciation, this is bound to happen.  Mainly, you have to do it for yourself, your peace of mind, sanity, and happiness.  And my hope is that one day you’ll also experience the same unconditional acceptance you showed to others.  Making this world a beautiful place to live in.

©2012 Susie Lee

Food for Thought ::
“Strive to be patient; bear with the faults and frailties of others, for you, too, have many faults which others have to bear.  If you cannot mould yourself as you would wish, how can you expect other people to be entirely to your liking?  For we require other people to be perfect, but do not correct our own faults.
We wish to see others severely reprimanded; yet we are unwilling to be corrected ourselves.  We wish to restrict the liberty of others, but are not willing to be denied anything ourselves.  We wish others to be bound by rules, yet we will not let ourselves be bound.  It is amply evident, therefore, that we seldom consider our neighbor in the same light as ourselves…”
-The Imitation of Christ pg. 44

Quotes ::
You take people as far as they will go,
not as far as you would like them to go.
-Jeannette Rankin

Whenever two people meet there are really six people present.
There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him,
and each man as he really is.
-William James

Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect.
It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.

When you find peace within yourself,
you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.
-Peace Pilgrim