201: Healthy interactions build healthy relationships

To interact is not a mechanical, rote, or mere human activity we do on a daily basis.

Most of our interactions are dynamic actions for creating relationships – relationships with people (ourselves and others) and things (such as a person’s relationship with food or money).

As far as I know, the only way to create healthy relationships with someone or something is to interact in healthy ways. The manner in which you speak and act determines whether in that moment you are building a healthy or unhealthy relationship. There are no if, ands, or buts about it – your words and actions determine the quality of your relationships. What you experience consistently will determine the quality of your relationships in the long run.

It is critical to learn how to have healthy interactions. Have you thought much about how you explore, discover, and cultivate healthy ways to interact? When I think of healthy interactions, I mean where you give personal time and energy sincerely, interact with a humble manner of transparency, and uphold integrity. These are interactions where you consistently mean what you say and be what you say.

Isn’t it a person’s responsibility to always be discovering, exploring, and cultivating healthier ways to interact? How else will you learn to consistently create healthier relationships in your life? Think about it today – How will you Teach, Encourage, Listen for, and Love healthier interactions?

Will you pay closer attention to whether you – or the one you are interacting with – give time and energy sincerely?  Will you recognize if you – or the other – interact with a humble manner of transparency, or uphold integrity? Will you ask whether each of you mean what you say and be what you say?

You cannot control how another individual interacts, that is his or her responsibility to discover, explore, and cultivate. Can you T.E.L.L. them, though?

You can T.E.L.L. as you continue exploring, discovering, and cultivating healthier interactions. What do you have to lose…. well, except the possibility of having even healthier relationships in your life?

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200: What does it mean to TELL?

The previous 199 Show & TELL posts have predominately focused on what it means to TELL a youth in your life, as well as to be mindful of the messages we communicate, or tell, ourselves.

For the 200th post, I decided to look up the meaning of the word tell in a number of online dictionaries. They all seem to agree that tell means to:

  • communicate information, facts, or news to someone in spoken or written words.

This can be accomplished through various formats. For example, a) you tell to order, instruct, announce, proclaim, or advise someone to do something such as “Tell him to go clean his room”; b) you tell a story which means you narrate or relate your own or another’s experience; c) You can also communicate and reveal information to someone in a nonverbal way like when we say ‘the smile on her face tells you everything!; and d) the last example of communicating information, facts, or news to someone is when you tell on someone, meaning you inform someone about the misdemeanor of another. (Keeping in mind, that to tell on someone could be for better or worse. For example, I want a teacher or another parent to tell on my child if they witnessed his or her misbehavior.)

Or, tell can mean to:

  • decide or determine correctly or with certainty.

For example, when we say I can’t (or can) tell the difference, we are saying, or thinking, I can’t (or can) decide correctly on my own. Likewise, saying ‘I can tell they are happy together’, to mean you notice and discern an opinion from the information, facts, or news you gather in mind.

The third tell definition stated in the dictionaries was to:

  • describe a type of experience or period that is having a noticeable effect on the success – or otherwise– of an individual, albeit typically harmful. For example, “The challenges at work are beginning to tell on her.”

As I complete this 200th blog, these definitions further validate the TELL our Children message and mission to inform, mentor, and inspire people to recognize they are the ones communicating information, facts, or news to the youth in their lives. We want people to notice how their words and actions assist, or hinder, a younger person to think and live – righteously and with certainty. Our message is about telling people ways to T.E.L.L. (Teach, Encourage, Listen, Love) so they are better able to communicate, decide, and have a noticeable effect in the success of their children. In other words, so they are better able to tell their children.

Will you help me celebrate the writing of the 200th blog by sharing the T.E.L.L. message with others? Will you share this post? Ask your friends to subscribe to the Show & T.E.L.L. Blog so you can talk about the message! ‘Like’ our Facebook page!

In advance, thank you….TELL Our Children appreciates your support and encouragement.


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199: Stop, look, and listen

Have you used the simple phrase “stop, look, and listen” before crossing a road with a child? Or do you recall someone using the phrase when you were growing up? I recall walking with two of my children, at the time ages 3 and 4, and asking them, “What are we supposed to do?” as we started to approach a corner.

“Hold hands,” said the 4-year-old. I’m smiling even now just remembering her response and the proud look on her face.

“Yes, let’s hold hands and then let’s stop, look, and listen to make sure it is safe to cross the road. OK, let’s stop. Now look and listen. Do you see a car? Do you hear a car?”

It took a few times saying “stop, look, and listen” and asking if they saw or heard anything, but eventually, with practice this phrase became the habit before crossing any road.

Today, I started thinking how “stop, look, and listen” may also be a good phrase to practice before speaking – especially to a younger person. Stop before saying anything. Look at the body language – how is the person feeling, what is happening in this moment? Give a moment to look and listen before you react with your first, possibly less T.E.L.L.ing thoughts.

It may take a few times to “stop, look, and listen” before you react, but with practice and repetition, this may become your habit.

And when you stop, look, and listen, if appropriate, hold hands, too!

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198: Everything speaks

I was having breakfast with a prospect board of directors member for Tell Our Children, and she made the comment, “everything speaks.” She went on to clarify how that simple phrase has made such a difference in the way she looks at her surroundings and interactions. It made her mindful on how her actions and words are always speaking to others.

Not only are our words spoken in a conversation, but our choice of words and our body language say volumes to others engaging in the conversation. You are speaking and they are perceiving who you are and what you are about in this moment. She added how our words and actions observed from a distance also speak. People often watch and perceive from a distance. Every moment you are speaking a message.

We also talked about how our physical space speaks. How a business or home looks when a person walks into a space speaks to them. Without anything actually being said, a message is still spoken. Everything speaks. Every moment perceptions are being formed.

Everything speaks. Everything communicates a perception.

Likewise, everything that is speaking is T.E.L.Ling.

Imagine everything around us as Teaching and Encouraging a message in our mind or the mind of others sharing this time and space with us. And, we all are impacted to the extent we Listen and Love the messages that are speaking to us. Everything speaks, and everything is T.E.L.L.ing.

How might we interact today if we were more aware of the messages we speak? How might we interact if we were mindful of all the messages we T.E.L.L. knowingly or unknowingly?

I don’t know about you, but today I am looking around me and asking, “What is this  speaking about me and my life? Is that really the message I want to T.E.L.L.?”

Everything speaks, and everything T.E.L.L.s…. for better or worse? Be mindful and we might realize ways to speak and T.E.L.L. better.

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197: Are you T.E.L.L.ing successfully?

A successful T.E.L.L.ing interaction:

is constructive, not destructive, to the situation and relationship

is more uplifting, not diminishing of the person or situation

considers potential for something better, doesn’t focus solely on limitations

intends to be helpful, not hurtful

is physically and emotionally safe, not driven by threats and fear

includes, not excludes, other’s ideas….

In other words, a successful T.E.L.L.ing interaction means saying the right thing for the right reasons, which also means….a successful T.E.L.L.ing interaction can be knowing you must walk away because there is more harm than good being spoken this moment.

Today, pause and think about whether your interactions could be labeled as successful T.E.L.L.ing interactions. How might you T.E.L.L. better?

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196: Choose words and actions that T.E.L.L. better messages!

Every word you speak describes…

1) how you think and feel about the situation in that moment; and

2) how you think and feel about the relationship with whom you are interacting…

The majority of people do not realize how much their words and actions embed a message. They do not realize their message is expressing personal ideas and emotions for the moment. The majority of people do not comprehend how their words Teach, Encourage, Listen, Love.

The good news is, the more you think about how your words and actions T.E.L.L. yourself and others every day, the more likely you will improve your interactions. You become wiser with your words and actions. You begin to understand at times it is best not to say anything at all because you are not in a good frame of mind to do so. You realize the words you are about to speak are bitter, not better. You start listening in order to respond and not react.

Bottom line: You begin to choose words and actions to T.E.L.L. better messages.

Learning how to have better interactions is something that can be done daily, not occasionally.  Every day is an opportunity to understand more about the messages you Teach, Encourage, Listen, Love.

One thing I have learned for sure, it starts with what I T.E.L.L. myself every day. You T.E.L.L. others to the extent you Teach, Encourage, Listen, Love yourself.

I wonder how I will T.E.L.L. myself – and others – better today? You too?

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