173: Think better to know and live better, Part 2

The previous blog made the following statement: “When you think better, you know and live better.”

Why is this true?

Well, think about it.

You can’t DO better if you don’t KNOW better.

You can’t KNOW better if you don’t THINK of another way.

Look at it this way:

Think it –> know it –> do it –> live it!

If you’re living something that doesn’t seem to be working, what should you do?

If you don’t know any better, you’ll keep doing and living the same thing, wondering why things never get any better.

Take that wonder and turn it into reflection about your situation.

Think about WHY the situation is the way it is. Get to the real root of the problem and think of new ways to solve it that are different than what you’ve been doing.

In other words, TELL yourself better!

Teach, encourage, listen, and love yourself to a better way.

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172: When you think better, you know better and can live better

Doesn’t it make sense that when you think better, you know and live better?

To think better means you consider possibilities that allow the moment to be better. You don’t just react in the moment with the first thoughts that come to mind.

Many of us tend to react and not consider other possibilities first. Youth in particular are known to react. In order to learn to think of better options, it is critical that adults talk to them throughout childhood and into adulthood so they learn to consider other possibilities.

Take for example the story about Jason, a teenager who lied to his parents about where he was spending the night. His parents found out about the lie the next morning before Jason arrived home. Naturally, they were upset, because in their mind it was not like Jason to do something like this.

The dad began pacing, ranting, and raving, thinking aloud, saying such things as, “I can’t believe this; what are we going to do? Just wait ‘til he gets here.”

As he continued to pace and rant, “There has to be a consequence; we have to punish him; we can’t have him lying to us; I think we should ground him; how long do you think? What other punishments should we have? What about taking away his X-Box?”

Obviously, Dad was angry and only thinking about how to punish his son’s behavior. His mind was focused on Jason’s guilt and punishment … understandably. Then, the mother turned to her husband and asked, “Why do you think Jason felt he needed to lie to us about where he was spending the night?”

This question shifted the father’s mindset. Instead, he began to wonder what Jason’s motivations were. What caused Jason to lie to them in the first place? By the time Jason arrived home, the father was thinking differently about the interaction with his son. He chose to talk calmly and he chose to talk with Jason about lying.

The father shared what he knew, and then asked Jason to explain why he decided to lie about spending the night at one friend’s house knowing he was going somewhere else. The father listened and asked questions because he wanted to understand why Jason felt he had to lie to them.

After hearing his son’s reasoning and apology, the father talked to his son about the consequences of lying. He pointed out how important it is for people to believe what you say when you tell them something. A lie breaks trust, respect, etc. In the end, Jason still had consequences for his actions, but the conversation turned into a redefining moment for the son and the father. They both learned about thinking through possibilities. The dad shifted his mindset and chose an empowering vs. disempowering interaction with his son. Jason learned to think deeper about being truthful – not to react in the moment but to consider whether this response could mean a lie and correct accordingly.

Both men are now thinking better, able to consider possibilities that allow the moment to be lived in a better way. In a similar situation in the future, they are less likely to react with the limited thoughts that may first come to mind. They both now have a better way of thinking.

Doesn’t it make sense that when you think better, you know and live better?

Today, if you find yourself reacting, pause. Think of better possibilities. You might come to know better and then live better! Also, whenever possible, help the youth to think better – so they too can know and live better.

 

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142: Help others weather a storm – physical and emotional

beach-768587_1280This past weekend, the southeast coast of our country experienced Hurricane Matthew. If you were directly impacted by the storm, did it cause you to stop and think twice about relationships and how you interact with one another? Even if you were not directly impacted, did it cause you to reach out and check on family and friends? Did you call someone and ask, “How are you and your family? Is everyone and everything around you okay?”

Being that I live in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and have family who live on the northern coast of Florida, Hurricane Matthew directly impacted us. Now, as I reflect on these past few days while weathering the storm, I can’t help but also think on how the storm connected people. Interactions changed.

Leading up to and during the storm as well as the following day, I witnessed neighbors coming together and sharing supplies. Individuals were interacting about ways to make life in this moment better. “You are welcome to stay here, no need to be alone”; “We have plenty of food, water, as well as flashlights and radios, do you need anything?”; “Come over for breakfast, I have a gas stove”;  “I will drive to my church and get ice for us”; “I hear you have coffee, may I have some?” I received and sent numerous texts, emails, and phone calls: “Thinking about you … How are you and your family?”

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During storms, people intentionally connect and express patience, gratitude, and hope with one another – loving interactions seem to appear in particular while weathering a storm. The messages being communicated tend to be about being in this together. Each person intentionally relaying messages like, “I am here for you”; “I care about you”; “You matter to me”; “We can get through this together”; “Let me know how can I help.”

These messages t.e.l.l. how we all can help and experience a better life in any given moment.

How can we help one another weather a storm? How do you weather a storm?

Maybe we can learn from this physical storm and realize how so many people are weathering personal, emotional storms every day. Everyone’s life has storms – major and minor. How can we do better at helping each other weather storms?

How can we show and t.e.l.l. each other, “I am here for you”; “I care about you”; “You matter to me.”

How do you show and t.e.l.l. yourself, “Where are the skills and tools I need right now?”; “Who can enlighten and empower me right now?”; “Where is that cup of coffee I need to help me wake up and get moving?”

When weathering a storm, helpful interactions definitely make life better in the moment.

In closing, prayers for those who are still weathering the impact of Hurricane Matthew. May you find strength, patience, and hope as you go through this difficult period. May you have individuals around you who are there to help you weather the storm and make this moment at least a little better.

 

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