136: All of our interactions have the power to TELL

This summer, the Show & TELL blog has been about TELLing better life stories – Teaching, Encouraging, Listening, and Loving yourself and others better (Posts #102Post #135). I pray these posts have allowed you to learn more about the power of words spoken to yourself and others.

As I think about telling interactions in my personal and professional life, it surprises me daily how interactions impact the mood of the day and the relationships with those around you. With just one interaction, life stories can change – for better and/or worse – just because of the thoughts and feelings being communicated.

I hope you try and tell yourself better, and try and tell others better.

We at Tell Our Children also hope you try and tell the children in your life better. Children are the builders of future generations, and adults show them the way – just as the adults in your life showed you.

Today, the world is much more complex and overstimulating in so many ways. It’s easy for children to lose their sense of direction. They need adults leading and telling them in the right directions. One day, a child becomes an adult and will begin leading his or her own way. In childhood, they need you to share, give, and care messages that give them the building blocks for their future.

Strong child with muscles drawn on chalkboard in elementary school

In the next posts, I am going to revisit some of the earlier Show & TELL blogs on telling children. I will build on previous ideas to talk more deeply about the child’s story and why adults are needed to lead children. How can adults tell the youth a better story?

P.S.: The Show & TELL posts are returning to the regular schedule again: every Tuesday and Friday.

Focus: Teach, Encourage, Listen, LoveTags: #, #, #, #, #, #, #, #, #

135: How well do you Teach, Encourage, Listen, and Love every day?

Every day, our interactions impact the story we live in this moment and possibly future moments. Through our interactions, we send and give messages about the current situation as well as how we view our relationships with one another.  The ideas being communicated become a part of our story, whether we realize it or not. We all come to know about life by our life experiences – by our interactions with ourselves and others.

This summer, the goal for the Show & TELL posts has been to clarify how you tell through interactions. That is, how you Teach, Encourage, Listen, and Love the messages being communicated in your interactions. How well do you tell yourself? How well do you allow others to tell you? And how do you tell others?

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Since Post 102, the intent has been to reflect on these questions. Are you better able to decide how your interactions tell your story? Have you thought about how every day you Teach, Encourage, Listen, and Love your story to some degree? Have you thought about how you can make the story better? Or how you might be able to help make another person create a better life story? If you are willing, you can have a great impact on your story, and other people’s story (Post 103).

This week, I am highlighting the big ideas discussed throughout the Show & TELL posts this summer. In the last post, I summarized telling love-full messages (Post 134). Love never fails; however, your message also can Teach, Encourage, and Listen. Have you thought more intently about how you Teach, Encourage, and Listen?

Teach…. What ideas do you consistently promote? Are these ideas helpful in allowing you and others to become their best selves? How do your messages influence others’ thinking? Do your interactions hinder or promote the message you desire in your story? How do you teach people your thoughts and feelings? Love-full or love-less? How can you teach a better message to yourself and others? Who teaches you better?

Encourage…. What encouragement (emotion) accompanies your messages? Do your messages influence others to feel better or worse about the human relationships and situation? How do you communicate empowerment? How do you communicate and promote the courage needed to try, live, and learn? How do you offer encouragement? Do you offer encouragement when others need it? Where do you go for encouragement when you need it? Where do you seek courage?

Listen…. Who is paying attention and processing the ideas in your interactions? Is the listening two-way or one-way? Do you ignore, pretend to listen, selectively listen, attentively listen, or listen empathetically? Similarly, do others ignore, pretend to listen, selectively listen, attentively listen, or listen empathetically to you? How well is everyone listening? How do you know?

The painful truth is that the majority of us do not pause and seriously think about the message we tell. More painful is the message that is being communicated in most relationships and situations is “we can’t” or “whatever,” or “you better think and act the way I want you to, or else.” There is not a strong message that promotes perseverance, the belief that everyone can become their best selves, and “let’s work on this together.” Do you communicate messages that mean “do it, or else” or “I am here for you, just as you are”?

By recognizing you tell every day, you open up the possibility to tell more powerful messages.  To many, these ideas make sense. Yet it isn’t until you practice telling others and yourself that you begin to fully comprehend the power in creating telling interactions. Or, telling better stories!

Bottom line: it isn’t until you give the time to reflect on your interactions that you will be able to impact the messages you give and receive. Every day you Teach, Encourage, Listen and Love by your words and actions. For better, or worse? How well do you Teach, Encourage, Listen and Love?

Focus: Teach, Encourage, Listen, LoveTags: #, #, #, #, #, #, #, #, #

134: When you realize love never fails, your story drastically changes

This week, I am summarizing the big ideas from the Show & TELL blog posts from this summer.

In the most recent post, the first big idea was realizing that EVERY interaction tells to some degree. That is, every interaction embeds a message that Teaches, Encourages, Listens, and Loves to some degree. If you missed reading this post, click here for Post 133.

The second big idea from the summer posts is how important it is to have love-full interactions. Even though your messages have elements of Teaching, Encouraging, and Listening, it isn’t until an interaction is Loving that it impacts our story.

Throughout the summer, while writing the Show & TELL blog, a diagram has been created to distinguish loving and unloving interactions. Inside the circle, the blue space, defines characteristics of loving interactions. The green space points to the more unloving characteristics.

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If you think about it, we all give and receive both loving and unloving interactions. It’s human to be irritated by demands placed on us and other people’s behavior because we don’t feel well, or other reasons that limit our thoughts, feelings, and communication. How we feel can have a major impact on how we communicate with ourselves and others. When you are feeling irritated, aggravated, annoyed, spiteful, or irked, at times it can be difficult to compose yourself and not to take it out on those around you. How you respond in these moments becomes a scene in your story.

Similarly, when you are talking with someone who seems to understand, accept, and tolerate you just as you are, as well as interact in respectful and selfless ways, doesn’t this also impact how you think and feel? And aren’t those interactions much more pleasant?

There are three truths here.

The first truth is throughout life, we all experience both love-full interactions and love-less interactions. We are on the receiving and giving end of love-full and love-less moments. The stronger relationships, the more positive relationships, are built on more love-full interactions. Weaker relationships are set in more love-less relationships. A very love-less interaction can ruin a relationship.

Another truth is that we learn from both kinds of interactions. We can choose to grow stronger and wiser from love-less interactions as much as we can from love-full ones. Actually, we tend to learn greatly from love-less interactions because these seem to get our attention more. There is research that says human beings tend to think in more depth about extremely good moments, extremely bad moments, or moments when something unexpected happens. Otherwise, we do not tend to think much about what is happening around us. There are many successful stories because people refuse to allow a negative situation or relationship to impact their story.

Finally, the third truth here is that even though we learn greatly from love-less interactions, it isn’t until you return to love that the better version of yourself can show up. It isn’t until you have an interaction based in love that will you be level-headed enough to take steps forward and grow stronger. You create the better life story – at least a better scene for your story – when you become understanding, compassionate, peace-making, etc. The loving interaction may be with yourself or it may be with another person who is there for you to grow stronger and wiser, but it isn’t until you are in a love-full state of mind that you can grow wiser and stronger.

Ultimately, we create better life stories from love-full interactions, and many of these interactions are with ourselves.

It isn’t until your thoughts focus on being understanding, accepting, compassionate, etc., that you will be able to think about the next steps. While you remain annoyed, irked, aggravated, etc., you will stand still or digress in that moment. I hope you take a minute to really think about this. I have yet to experience a moment where I have grown while entertaining unloving thoughts.  It’s that simple, yet it’s also complex.

I have to forgive and forget the love-less ideas in order to design better scenarios for my story. I have realized this is one of the hardest ideas to comprehend because it still feels like we should just ignore what other people are saying and just let the situation and relationship to continue. “Forgive and forget” does not mean to ignore (Post #130).

Interacting in love-full or love-less ways is our choice every day. We fall short some days and we are successful other days.

Where are you consistently? Love-full? Or love-less? Where are you consistently with the interactions you have with yourself? Where are you consistently in your interactions with others? Where are you consistently in your personal relationships? Where are you consistently in your professional work? Love-full? Love-less?

When you realize love never fails, your story drastically changes.

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Focus: LoveTags: #, #, #, #, #, #

133: Have you started to tell a better story?

This summer, the Show & TELL Blog posts have been about how with every interaction we have with others and ourselves we are simply telling a story. We are telling how we feel and think about a situation, and we are telling about our thoughts and feelings regarding the relationship we have with whoever we are interacting.

The bottom line is, every interaction is telling – Teaching, Encouraging, Listening, and Loving to some degree.

Every day we tell ourselves and we tell others. The question is: What exactly are we telling, and how do our messages build, or hinder, the life stories – yours and theirs? The majority of people do not stop to think about the messages they communicate. They tend to think about their interactions as much as they do eating and walking; however, it is through our interactions that we tell one another. By interacting, we communicate the messages we feel and desire in the moment and in the future. We communicate stories, or at least scenes in our stories!

Retro effect and toned image of a woman hand writing a note with a fountain pen on a notebook. Handwritten text Tell Your Story as business concept image

Every interaction tells a message. That is, every message involves Teaching, Encouraging, Listening, and Loving to some degree. The question is, to what degree is the message telling? And does the communication hinder or help a desirable message? Does the message bring you together in loving ways, or is it a message that separates you in unloving ways?

This week, I will blog about the big picture ideas discussed this summer.

Have you started to pay closer attention to your interactions? Have you started telling yourself a better story? Have you also started to interact – Teach, Encourage, Listen, and Love others toward a better story?

Focus: Teach, Encourage, Listen, LoveTags: #, #, #, #, #, #, #, #, #

132: Love always protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres.

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Protection, trustworthiness, hope-full, and perseverance are all messages of security to be in the moment and to take one step forward. When feeling insecure or uncertainty, don’t you want a trustworthy, hopeful message that allows you to feel safe and able to take steps forward? Don’t you want to hear a message of “you can… this moment you are capable of becoming stronger and wiser….I will walk by you as you take these steps…I believe in you…”

When individuals care for your well-being and want you to become your best self, they interact from a loving place. They give you messages that allow you to feel safe to be there and hopeful for becoming a better version of yourself. We only receive these positive messages when they are given to us from a loving place. Many times, we have to tell ourselves these messages in order to move toward our better self.

No one wants, or needs, to be neglected – or attacked. Nor does it benefit anyone to be around hopelessness, pessimism, and despair for long periods of time. Too many give up or become idle in moments of uncertainty and insecurity. They do nothing because there is not enough love being given unconditionally in those moments.

Do your words and actions communicate protection, trust, hope, and perseverance? How do you tell others when they need a positive message to see something better than the moment? Who do you turn to when you need to hear a better message than the one you have in mind? Where do you go to receive protection, trust, hope, and perseverance?

Do not give up. We can always grow wiser and stronger. We can always love.

Love never fails.


Focus: LoveTags: #, #, #, #, #, #

131: Are you speaking evil or truth?

It’s all about love! When you communicate within the boundaries of love, your intentions are to unify and to allow progress to occur. When you communicate outside the boundaries of love, what are your intentions? One way to distinguish the two is within loving boundaries you rejoice truth. Without love, you delight in evil.

The image below has been developed in the posts starting with Post 120 focused on what it means to interact with-in loving boundaries and with-out loving boundaries.

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I have been using the Bible to clarify interactions with-in love. 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13 says..

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

This post is about loving interactions that do not delight in evil, but rejoice with the truth. At first thought, evil may seem extreme, but consider other synonyms for this term: trouble, blame, guilt, distress, crookedness, and distorted. Evil communication is not necessarily inherently wicked. When our words and actions intend to blame others, when we want others to feel guilty, manipulate a point of view toward wrongdoings, or alter the truth, we are interacting in evil. The deceitful heart described in Post #129 tends to interact in evil. Gossip, shutting someone down with words and actions, or any communication intended to make another feel less than who they are is a form of evil.

We all have been on the receiving and giving end of evil interactions. I believe speaking evil, not truth, is another way many interact outside the boundaries of love.

Think about it. Haven’t there been times in your life when someone has hurt you, and you want nothing more than for them to know you survived their hurt? I know I have been guilty of this thought and desire. Wanting to respond with “I am doing great….” and continue with stories how life is so good, giving examples that are intended to let them know they were wrong and that I’m standing stronger than ever! Evil. My intentions are, “I’ll show you.”

What is the loving thing to do in these instances? Truth. Maybe it is true that we are stronger than ever, but the intention of our words and actions is to put them in their place. When you interact with these intentions, you are really saying, “I am putting you in your place and that is behind me.” Evil. 

Haven’t we all experienced someone clearly intending to bring us down, wanting us to feel and be less – only for them to feel better? They think you deserve to be put down. How does this help anyone? These interactions clearly hurt relationships and do not make the situation better. These interactions result in uncertainty, instability, and distrust. They tear down, not build up individuals. They do not improve the situation.

Recognizing this intention as evil, unloving, and not a message that contributes to anyone’s well being opens the mind to consider how we might speak and think in truth.

Truth is synonymous with certainty, stability, rightness, and trustworthiness. Truth conveys a sense of dependability, firmness, and reliability. When you speak with truth in mind, you consider the veracity, reality, sincerity, accuracy, integrity, truthfulness, and dependability of your words and actions. When our mind goes to evil as described above, how might we shift to truth?

For the longest time, when I recognized thoughts as being evil in nature, I kept my mouth shut. I would rather say nothing than to speak evil. For example, I would listen to gossip and not say anything. However, then I questioned whether in many of these moments, wasn’t I still allowing evil? How might I tell a better story in these moments? It can be so complex!

True, there are times saying nothing is better than actually adding to a hurtful conversations; however, how might we speak and think truth? How might we speak within the boundaries of love? To cultivate and explore better words and actions? How might we think and speak so our words are sincere, real, dependable, and trustworthy – not only relative to the situation but also relative to human relationships? How might we interact in personal, honest, sincere, and humble ways toward better, not worse?

Speak truth. As noted in the keep no record of wrong post (Post #128), here I rephrase this in term of speaking truth, not evil. 

To interact in loving boundaries means to speak the truth relative to the situation and human relationships, avoid speaking ideas that are evil for the situation and human relationships.  Suspend your own interests long enough to understand other persons’ perceptions.  Allow new, better, and truthful ideas to emerge. This embeds all the ideas we have discussed so far: patience, kindness, not being boastful, envious, or proud; not easily angered or self-seeking; not keeping records of wrong. Don’t focus on the evilFocus on making the relationship and situation stronger and better, truth-full. 

Does not mean everyone will end up agreeing with one another, and that has to be okay. That is not evil, that is respecting varying points of view. Allow each person to be exactly who they are in the moment. You avoid contributing to evil and instead focus on there being incomplete or inaccurate understanding, and you can have an opportunity to expand your understanding of the situation.  Keep the interaction truth-full. Then you do your part to keep the relationship in love.

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