Do you respond or react to opposition? The first requires thinking before you speak. The second is a knee-jerk action that many people seem destined to wallow in and sink into.
Recently I was dealing with a troubled teen at school. This boy is constantly in trouble with his teachers and the administration. I was talking to him in a calm voice about his bad behavior and all I got from him was deflection and argument. He took no responsibility for his own poor choices. It was constantly someone else’s fault…never his. Perhaps you have someone like this in your life and you can identify with the dilemma of trying to talk to a brick wall.
Everyone has the ability to respond vs. react. It is up to each of us to choose how we will handle opposition and problems. When you find yourself in a confrontation, what do you do? Do you argue? Deflect? Blame someone or something for your bad behavior and poor choices? It is our responsibility to use our response ability. I realize that is easier said than done, but it can be done if we learn to just breath….literally.
Stepping away from a contentious situation may be the best thing you can do till you can think clearly and unemotionally. Emotions seem to short-circuit our brains…and not in a good way. Negative emotions like anger, jealousy, envy, rage, and a host of others can take us off course and derail us if left unchecked. Words spoken in haste can kill a relationship and have violent outcomes.
One of the things that we tell kids who are having disagreements is this: “You don’t have to like each other…but you DO have to respect one another.” That is good advice no matter how old you are. Learn the art of disagreeing. Be willing to compromise and find areas of common ground; and most of all….respect one another.
Those that insist on reacting their way through life will find life meeting them with brutal force. My hope for the young man I spoke of earlier is that he comes to his senses before someone does serious injury to him. The choice is ultimately up to him…as it is for each of us.
Be careful what you wish for. Sometimes when you win (get what you want) you lose. We have all experienced getting something or someone we thought we had to have in our lives only to be bitterly disappointed. I have had times where I was disheartened in not getting what I wanted, only to find later that there was something much better for me.
Here is the principle: For something to live, something has to die. This applies to all aspects of our lives. It affects our relationships, our happiness, and our destiny. Here are some examples to illustrate the point:
For us to ever truly love others, we have to learn to die to self. I understand that we have to love ourselves in a healthy way, but what I am saying is that we have to express love to others in more than just words. Love is an action verb in the purest form that puts others before self.
For us to be happy, we have to let the pursuit of happiness die and enjoy the journey instead of focusing on the destination. This requires that we have an attitude of gratitude and be thankful for the daily blessings we receive…no matter how small. Put to death the thought, “I will be happy when….”
For us to find our destiny, we have to put to death the good things that have sidetracked us from pursuing what is great. When we pursue great instead of settling for good, we are on the path to fulfilling our destiny. If we focus on discovering and using our gifts and pursue nothing less than what is great, excellence and purpose are born out of the passion.
For us to move forward, we have to let the things behind us die. Holding on to the past is like trying to leave the port with your anchor still dropped. Let go of past hurts, pains, problems, and mistakes. Today is a new day. Lift the anchor.
How many sides does a coin have? One? Two? If that is what you said, you would be wrong. There are three sides to every coin. Most people forget about the edge. The truth is often like that: there is my side, your side, and the truth that is in the middle. Sometimes people get so caught up about being right or wanting to argue that they lose sight of the truth.
You can choose to be right all the time, or you can choose to have relationships. You can’t have it both ways. Sorry if I burst your bubble. Being right for some people is almost a do or die thing…even over petty issues. My question is, “Why?” What is so important about being “right” that you would sacrifice your relationships? Does that make any sense?
Most issues can be seen from three sides: my side, your side, and the truth that is somewhere in the middle. However, there are some absolute truths that you don’t have to question: Is murder right? Is immorality right? Is being unforgiving right? You were probably with me on the first one for sure. I probably had a few of you questioning what is morally right…but then I had to drop the bomb and talk about forgiveness. That lost a bunch of you because you say: “You don’t know what I went through. You don’t know the things I endured. You don’t know”….and you know what? You are right. I admit it. YOU ARE right. I don’t know any of that.
What I do know is this:
If you want relationships in your life that are healthy, you can’t insist on being right all the time. You have to admit when you are wrong…and yes…ask for forgiveness when you offend someone (isn’t that just being an adult?). You have to be willing to admit you were wrong!
This is great advice: seek to understand first. We often don’t know what the other person is really thinking or feeling because we don’t ask. We assume…and you know what that gets you. Don’t assume. ASK what they mean. ASK what they think. ASK how they feel.
Is it possible for both people to be right and disagree? Yes! We assume that every disagreement has to end in a win for someone and a loss for the other person. That is not necessarily the case. It is possible that you are both on point, right in your perspective, and correct in your assessment. You just have come at the problem from different points of view. Allow for the possibility that you are BOTH right.
I know that some things like religion and politics are hot topics. People are passionate about those things. I remember one time I was selling insurance and I had a couple tell me about global warming. I made the mistake of saying: “You don’t believe in that, do you?” OMG. You would have thought I spat on their baby. Needless to say, I did NOT get the sale and they were deeply offended…although I could make a strong argument why they were wrong. LOL.
As individuals, families, communities, and countries, we have to learn to communicate and speak our mind without being judgmental of what other people believe. That is easier said than done, but just remember this: every coin has three sides, and BOTH of you could be right.
Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone did that one thing? Think about the wars that would be avoided, the race relations that would be healed, and the families that would be restored.
I heard a man speak about this very thing and he was talking about why some people can’t communicate. They choose not to listen. If you really want to get to the heart of racial issues, we need to be asking people of other races what it is like for them to live in America…then shut up and just listen.
There will always be wars and rumors of wars, but what if we simply learn to listen to those who oppose us? What if we seek to understand them first rather than just write them off as an enemy?
One of the biggest raps that Christians have against them is that they are judgmental. Jesus was only harsh to one group of people in the Bible….the Pharisees. They knew the Scriptures very well, and yet they were far from the truth. He called them a brood of Vipers!
Having discussions with people who have opposing points of view has to be done differently if we expect different outcomes. Think about a controversial topic like gun control. The question is not about whether guns are good or bad. The real question is, “How do we responsibly deal with guns in this country?” That is a question that opposing sides could actually have some dialog over, right? Find some common ground and get creative with how to solve the problem rather than just believing someone is right and someone is wrong. This process could be applied to pretty much any hot topic, but it would require that both sides agree to truly listen and understand. At the end, we still may have to agree to disagree.
We all live in a world full of confusion. There are always things that surface to give people ammunition to argue their point. My hope and prayer as we get ready to enter a new year is that we all learn the art of listening.
The homestead exemption that the Government offers you is great and gives you tax breaks on your dwelling place; however, here are a couple of things you may not know:
The homestead exemption is not a one and done deal. If you move, you have to reapply for a homestead exemption. It is based on your dwelling, not on you. I was aware of this one, but only because my CPA explained it to me many years ago.
Did you know about the age 65 exemption that supplements the homestead exemption? This is HUGE as it uses the year you turned 65 to set the baseline for taxes. There is a ceiling that your taxes will never go over based upon that baseline number….with the exception of the Hospital District Taxes. Those have no cap…sorry. Not sure what it is in your state, but it is worth a phone call to you county tax assessor to find out what your state offers.
By applying for the homestead exemption you get tax breaks. Add to that the age 65 exemption and you put a cap on your taxes. That is pretty cool for us senior citizens.
You might be thinking, “That is all well and good, but I turned 65 last year, or the year before that, or 15 years ago.” He is some good news (again…this is here in Texas). You can automatically roll back one year, and they allow you to request however many years it was that you turned 65. There is no guarantee that the review board will grant you the full rollback, but even if you get to roll back one year, that is a great thing here in Texas where the prices of real estate seem to be going crazy with the thousands of people moving here every month.
I hope this will help you or someone you know. It is going to make a big difference for me and my wife. For anyone that is 65 or older, this is a huge benefit that you need to take advantage of.