I love to travel. And the majority of the time, I travel alone. I am often asked questions about my adventures and I love to talk about the places I go and the things I see, but I also get a lot of questions about my thoughts on safety.
So while it's fresh on my mind- since I just finished up a trip from the West Coast- I thought I'd share a few of them here and then some tips I've learned along the way.
So, just to start- I never just wander. When I travel, I always have a destination in mind... and on the way there is pretty much the only time I am spontaneous. I do like to have at least 75% of my trip planned. I usually pull a camper, but this last trip, I lived out of my truck. (I can write an entire article on the pros and cons of just that! Lol!)
I love history, so most of my sidetrips are usually triggered from that but I am also a HUGE fan of natural beauty. I'm a sucker for a waterfall or a sunset and have been known to go out of my way for some beautiful scenery. And yes, I love being outdoors, so this kind of lifestyle fits me to a tee.
I absolutely love to travel and I am always looking for a new adventure or places I haven't been. I am working on the United States and have yet to visit other countries.
Okay, now to your safety.
I'm often asked if I'm I ever scared...
Yes. Yes I am. And there's a fine line between trusting your gut and realizing you may just be looking for things to make you afraid. Trust your gut. If you are ever in a situation and it just doesn't feel right, pay attention.
- Always let someone know where you are.
I am constantly checking in with someone in my circle when and where I stop for the night and when I leave again in the morning. Sometimes I'll let them know where I'm headed, or when I've crossed markers like state lines. Always let someone know where you are. My phone is always linked to someone else, so if anything happens, they can ping my phone... which makes sense that the next one is:
- Always have your cell phone on you. Carry it with you everywhere. Don't leave it in your car, keep it with you. You may need to make an emergency call. You may need someone to find you. You may need a flashlight. You may fall and hurt yourself... and if you ever feel uncomfortable or feel you might be in a dangerous situation- call someone and just talk with them. Even better, FaceTime them. They can see where you are and can see if anyone comes up to you and most times, it will deter anyone's interest in you.
- Always have self protection.
Now, before you dismiss this one with, well, I have a gun, hang on. If you are attacked, they are not going to wait until you fish down to the bottom of your purse or unlock the glove compartment to get your weapon before they proceed. You need some kind of weapon, whatever one you are comfortable with, on your person or in your hand whenever you stop somewhere or are alone. Always, Always, Always in rest areas. Make sure you have multiple options that are easily attainable no matter where you are. Meaning. have them in several places in your vehicle as well as on you.
A caveat to that... know how to use it. And be prepared to use it. If anyone gets close enough to me that I'm able to USE any of my weapons, I won't stop fighting until I am safe.
- Don't wear your hair in a ponytail. (Researching murders and serial killers, you learn weird things.). They look for this and will use your ponytail as a handle. Does this mean you can never wear one? No, just if you're by yourself and in a not-so-crowded space, maybe not then... or wear a low one or a close to the head braid.
- Be aware of your surroundings. Look at everything. Notice where the cars are parked. Hallways. Alleys. People.
-Don't wear headphones or earbuds. When you are out there on your own, you need all of your senses. You certainly don't want to make it easy for someone to be able to sneak up on you.
- Be aware of your cell phone usage. This falls back to "Be aware of your surroundings." If you have your head down, lost in your phone, you're not paying attention to the people around you. Also, try to have your back to a wall or lean against your vehicle while using your phone, so you have one less angle you have to worry about. And on that note...
-Women are the worst about getting into their cars and checking their phones without shutting their doors or locking them. I am guilty of this too. After I fill up the tank at a gas station, I'm usually checking missed messages or my gps... and I leave myself wide open for attack. Get in your vehicle, shut the door, lock it and then check your stuff.
-Make eye contact. Attackers look for easy prey. Shy or timid prey. Don't be that. Stand up straight and hold your head up. If you look at every person in the eye as you pass one another, it's not only a sign of confidence, but you already have a solid look at the person's face. They are less likely to attack you if you can identify them.
- Always park under a light. Make sure you can see and be seen.
- Don't let your gas tank get so low that you are dependent on the "next" gas station. You don't know what that place will be! Pick ones that are well lit and "bonus" if they have security cameras. (and clean bathrooms!)
We have to acknowledge that whenever you choose to travel alone, you are accepting that there is some risk. Something bad could happen. You choose that traveling solo is worth the risk so, even though this section might be uncomfortable, it's quite necessary.
- Security cameras. Always look for and AT the security cameras. Know where they are and always let them see you. If anything should happen to you, this will give the police a time stamp and a visual of where you were. Always look directly into the camera.
- When you go into a gas station, always say something to the cashier. The more unique the better. Ask a question. Pay them a compliment. Say something funny. Drop your change. Be memorable. If something happens to you; when the officers ask, "do you remember seeing this person?" Hopefully they will say, "yeah, that's the lady that complimented me on my hair."
- Have an ICE contact clearly marked in your phone or wallet. (ICE= In Case of Emergency). Make it easy for authorities to be able to connect to your people... just in case.
- Always let those you love know you love them, because... you just don't know.
I don't say these things to be morbid, and even by doing every single thing does not mean it will be 100% effective. But it might help.
Life is too short to pass up opportunities that make you happy or to stay in one place because of fear. But you can also be smart about it.
These aren't in any order, I just added them as they came to me... and yes, I follow each one. I love my family and as much as I love going out to wander, I love coming back home to see their faces. So I try to be as safe as I possibly can.
I hope these help you too.
Follow your heart. Make some memories. Have adventures! Leave a legacy. You only get one time around so make the most of it!
I was taught to "leave things better than you've found it." And my mother was/is a huge advocate for "be respectful of others". And when looking out into the world and intermingling with other humans, I forget that not everyone had the same amazing momma as I did.
I try never to travel on the weekends as there seems to be heavier traffic and people get upset if I don't want to go 75 on the highway dragging my camper. (Now if it was just me and Xander - my truck- I'd be all over it!)
So, that usually leaves me in campgrounds over the weekend.
Normally, I don't mind. I love hearing the kids squealing in the cold water and playing into the sunset. I love seeing that families are spending time together. I love the smell of a good campfire and grilling of their fresh catch of the day. I love that people still appreciate nature... sort of... and that "camping" is still a thing that is sure a tradition that will carry on into the future.
This weekend, there was such little regard for others and zero respect for the grounds and the nature around it. It just makes me so sad. Who taught you that this is okay?
There was trash, broken bottles and cigarette butts all over the place. People left their wrappers for the brand new floaty devices all over the beach.
People drove through the campgrounds- despite there being signs, despite the children running around- too fast or in the wrong direction! Would it take SO much time out of your life, just to follow the rules?
While I was out walking a vehicle sped past me and kicked up all kinds of rock dust, but also shot a rock out that hit me in my leg. That sucker hurt! I have a lovely purple bruise commemorating the moment and a regular reminder, every time I accidentally bump it, about that rude human.
If you want to play music at your campsite, that's fine. But don't assume everyone else needs to hear it. And, in the same instance, if you are in a neighboring campsite and the music is not to your liking, is it REALLY necessary to play YOUR genre even louder?
The bathroom... oh... please... just... can't you just... you know, be considerate of others? Or at the very least take responsibility for yourself and don't assume that it's someone else's job to come along after you and clean things up.
And please... keep an eye on your children and pets. Neither are meant to be left in a vehicle while you go out and play. No other explanation should be necessary. And if you keep your pets on a leash or lead, there would be no need to scream and yell obscenities at them because they are not staying in the invisible parameter of your space.
All of these things, state parks especially, are here for your enjoyment. Please stop doing the things that will make the state parks decide that it's just not worth it anymore.
We all have different ideas of what we want to experience in our campground vacations and we all have a different idea of what a good time is. Please! Go camping! Have a good time! Create awesome memories for your children and yourselves- but don't rob others of theirs.
Please don't make my state parks unsafe for me, I would just be so sad.
Consider this a public service announcement.
-Pick up your trash.
-Respect others and their space and property.
-Take care of your littles, furry and otherwise.
-Leave things better than you find it.
And our state parks will be here for years and years to come.
Rant over. Have an amazingly beautiful day.
This morning I had a private prayer meeting at the sunrise service. It was just me, the Platte River, the sun sneaking up over the plains and God. The birds were the choir and a slight breeze kept the heat away.
The brand new sunlight caught the mist coming up from the water and gave it warm etherial look.
Per our usual conversations, I begin with gratitude. How thankful that I am that I can take this journey. It's come at a high cost, and I never want Him to think that I don't realize it. I also know that there will probably be a high cost when my travels end, and I let him know that I accept that too. I am grateful for the littlest things like a safe place to sleep and the beautiful orchestra of nature around me, but I am most grateful for an audience with Him.
Because, and I'm sure He knows it... it's not long before I begin to fret about all the things. "How am I going to afford this?" "What happens next?" "What if this... what if that..."
His answer, is always the same..."Let me take care of that, you take care of the things that are in your control."
At which, I instantly felt the tiniest sting of reprimand.
Am I doing all of the things I'm supposed to be doing? Maybe... but am I doing them to the best of my ability? Probably not.
I am easily side-tracked with the latest, newest idea and I usually chase it down for the length of my leash to see what I can do with it. Sometimes I have no business being there. Sometimes I can find a few nuggets to make the things I do better and sometimes, I think that I have the power to bend time... that's my biggest problem, I think. I WANT to do all these things, so I TRY to do all these things, but it turns out that I have the exact same number of hours in the day as everyone else. I'm not SUPPOSED to be doing ALL the things apparently. And He waits patiently until I can come to our meetings for Him to tell me so.
I have been given a great deal of success and growth with my podcast, Bag of Bones. I love it. I really love everything about it, but I'm not utilizing it as best as I could. Meaning, I'm spreading out, instead of digging the well a little deeper. I jumped into a second podcast before Bag of Bones was even a year old and one, both are extremely research intensive, and two, I wasn't able to give them the amount of time I need to bring forward the quality I desire. So, with heavy heart, I am cancelling the release of Trails of History. Maybe postponing it? I don't know, but for now, it needs to come off my plate so I can continue to grow and nurture and monetize the podcast I have currently.
The other thing I need to remove right away is the more public version of the Writer's Lounge. I am moving this branch of my company to a more niched down version. I am discontinuing the Facebook group. It takes a huge amount of time creating daily posts for people and it's just not being used. And I am also discontinuing the League of Authors Membership site for this year. I love the concept of this- but it's just too big for me to deal with at the moment.
I am going to switch my focus to smaller group coaching to writer's who are ready to get their first book written and published. Many people SAY they want to write a book but few actually put in the time and effort to do so. I want to work with those few and help them with all the crazy transition stuff to make it a dream come true.
And then finally, my readers have been most patient with me, allowing me to follow this path and that- not having a new book from me. I need to get back to that. I owe you all A Devil's Errand that was supposed to be released in May, but I will do my best to get it released before the end of the year.
So keep an eye out, these transitions will be happening slowly throughout the website. Things will disappear and new things will pop up, fear not... all part of the Master's plan...
The heart wants what the heart wants. How many times have you heard people say that to explain why they stay in a toxic relationship?
The statement usually goes along with a shrug. Nothing they can do about it. They just love their mate so much that it would do no good to leave because they would find their way back. The circumstances are beyond their control.
They want to be in a relationship so badly that they are willing to settle for things less than they deserve. Sometimes it shows up as abuse. Sometimes it's neglect. Sometimes the puzzle pieces just don't fit, but it's not uncomfortable enough to do anything about.
Oh! I just want to shake some sense into these people! That is not love! Love goes both ways! Love doesn't just take and take and take. The heart does NOT want that!
I believe that you believe that it is love. But if I've said it once I've said it a hundred times, love NEVER hurts. That is not the design of love.
The thought of leaving hurts, I know. The thought of being on your own is scary. Having to start all over again with someone new is daunting. But you are worth more than staying in a relationship that doesn't serve you.
I've got news for you.... the heart wants a loving partner. The heart wants love in return. We were built to give love and seek love in return. SEEK LOVE IN RETURN!!! Notice what 's missing??
We want to believe that love is a feeling... that we just are swept away, and we have no control over the flow of the current. Whether it's calm, or it pulls you under and you're gasping for breath.
But love doesn't just happen. Love is a functioning, growing system that two people are supposed to work together to create. When it's love, you are both building a foundation. One that will last and that you can stand on and feel solid ground when a storm comes.
When a relationship is only one sided, that is not love. If you are feeling alone, or that you are doing all the "work" to maintain this relationship, what kind of a foundation does it have to stand on? We all know that a foundation that is littered with cracks or chunks missing isn't going to last for long. And every storm that comes along chips away at those crack a little more each time....
How long can the heart really "want' emptiness just to have someone lay beside them at night? How many excuses do you need to make to others, or worse, yourself for the bruises... or the lonely times... or the neglect? Where does love say that you should tolerate lies, or deceit or unfaithfulness? Let me give you a hint- it DOESN'T!
The heart wants what the heart wants...
That is just romanticized logic for staying in a defective relationship. Because sometimes it's easier to take the neglect than it is to face the conflict that will come. The guilt that rises and gets caught in our throat. The emptiness of being alone. The pain of rejection. The fear of the unknown reaction. The terror of the known reaction...
Love yourself enough to know if you are in a toxic relationship. Love yourself enough to know when to walk away. Yes, it will be difficult. We have no control of what others do and do not do. We can't expect them to love us back just because we pour out love on them.
Let me say that again: You have not control over what others do. It is not your fault if your partner makes bad, unhealthy choices for your relationship.
You only have control over what you do. What you think, how you respond, your actions, and... what you tolerate.
I'm sure you can read the passion I'm feeling under these words. I'd say that at least 75% of your emails to me deal with unrequited love. And almost every single plea for help is the same... the truth, the signs, the red flags, are all right there, but we love him or her so much that we are blindsided. What many of you are looking for is permission to leave. The others are looking for reasons why... I don't have those answers, but I do know this:
You can't love someone enough for two. You can't; no matter how much you'd like to.
You can't make someone change if they don't want to.
You can't be someone you're not, in order for them to "love you more".
And sadly, most people don't change. If their behavior hurts you, most likely, it will continue.
No matter what you may think you deserve... I promise you, it's never so bad that you should tolerate abusive behavior. Physical. Mental or Emotional. No one else gets the right to mead out your "punishment" as they see fit.
Love yourself, just a tiny bit... just look inward, and see the smallest spark... it's waiting to be seen. You are worth more. You deserve love.
Take one step toward releasing yourself from a toxic relationship. Just one. Then do it again the next day and the next... That spark will grow and ignite a fire inside you and you'll look back and wonder how you put up with such nonsense for so long.
I hope to get that email saying that you have had enough and you are standing your ground; living life on your terms, loving the way love is meant to be.
The heart wants love. Real love. Don't just shrug and take whatever the wind blows your way. Let today be the day that you choose. Let today be the day that you take responsibility for what your heart wants. Just one step.
I'll be waiting for your email. :)
1 Corinthians 13:4
Comment below with #justonestep if you are ready to own your choices or you are showing your support for others in toxic relationships.
I've never been so happy to do the dishes!
I have been without running water for a little over a week now and nothing makes you more grateful for the things we take for granted like having to be without them!
The hose for the water going into the Beach House busted and the hot water heater decided to call it quits as well. In all fairness, it was over thirteen years old, so it had every right.... however...
I ordered the necessary parts thinking that they would be here in two days (I mean that's why we pay the extra for Prime, right?) only for it to take five days. Ugh.
Do you have any idea how difficult it is to function with no access to water? No bathrooms, no showers, no clean dishes, no coffee, no cooking, cause you can't rinse your dishes, (it IS sugar ant season and they are everywhere here in the South!!), no drinking water, no washing your hands.
There were times I would absent-mindedly still turn on the faucet expecting magic to happen...
Today, my hose came in. I hooked that sucker up so fast and turned on all the faucets just because I could... and water came out. It was a miracle! I heated some water up on the stove and set about doing my dishes. Such a glorious task that I will not complain about ever again! (Okay, at least for a week or so...)
This got me thinking about all the things that we take for granted. Being grateful doesn't have to be for something amazing or life shattering! Sometimes I think that we need something short of a miracle to remind us to be thankful. And then we chalk it up to luck. But life, in general is filled with uneventful days sometimes blending one into another. And yet, in the midst of our complaining and trudging through what feels like mundane lives-even on the worst days- we wake up in the morning, and our eyes take in the sights around us. Without any extra thought or effort from us. We take in the inside walls of our home. We're surrounded by "things" that bring us joy, comfort, security. Our heart is beating and directing our insides that serve us the best that we can.
And when we get out of bed, our legs support us and keep us upright. We flip the switch and darkness becomes light. Pushing a button gets the brown, flavorful liquid of life bubbling and gurgling away.
Take in that deep breath... because you can.
Feel the rain on you skin. Close your eyes, hear the birds sing their songs.
What are some of the things that you are thankful for that you take for granted?
The love of a faithful pet? The sweetness in your children's faces? (No matter how old they are.) A best friend? A key that turns the motor over on your vehicle? Tastebuds! A well-prepared meal. Money enough to cover the bills. That hidden money in a coat pocket. A reliable job.
Everything might not be where you want it to be at the moment, but there is SO much that you can be grateful for every single day. Every. Single. Day. I mean, I still don't have hot water, and I probably won't for a while until I can afford a new hot water heater, but life is still good.
Life is so good.
Don't let a day slip away without taking notice of those things that make your life just a little bit better.
What are you grateful for today? Right now, in this moment?
Let It Begin With You
With it being a new year, it seems like everyone automatically hits the “restart” button and is on a search to make their lives… better, more productive; their bodies, healthier, skinnier, stronger. Their thoughts more wholesome, or more private or public, learn more, change for the better.
We all seek transformation.
It makes sense. While the thoughts of these changes may flit about our thoughts for moments or months, the new year gives us a starting date. Walking up to that white line at the beginning of a “race” is intimidating enough, but when the rest of the world is joining you in their various audits, it doesn’t seem as impossible.
The trick is to find what works and what will stay with you for the duration of the project, the goal or the lifetime.
Change must begin with you. It can’t happen from the outside in. There could be circumstances that happen TO us that may force our hand, but in the end, it still has to be our choice. Our change.
The doctor may tell you that if you don’t quit smoking, you will shorten your life by X- amount of time. You must choose how important/valuable that time could be. And then take steps according to the value you’ve placed on his advice. Quit smoking? Cut back? He’s a quack…
In my line of coaching, unfortunately, I do not ask for quick changes. I’m not the one you seek out when you are looking for different food diets to lose a few pounds, or room customizations, or resolutions that will be let go in a few months. My teaching/training/coaching demands so much more. I deal with heart transformation. Life changes. Love changes.
We only have one life and how you are remembered by others, is a question I ask myself on a daily basis and then act accordingly. That is my line of “work”. It my calling to Lead with Love and teach others the same methods.
Now that I’ve lured you in and if you are still reading, perhaps your heart needs some tweaking and you are looking for some ways to take small steps to change your inner-love values*.
Here are just a few, simple suggestions to add to your New Year daily dose of becoming a better person adgenda…
You don’t have to get all creepy and stalker-ish, but don’t you love to be complimented? We are often so hard on ourselves that while we are so busy tearing ourselves down, someone out there thinks you are amazing.
It took me a long time for me to learn how to accept a compliment without downplaying the comment, but now, it is so appreciated because they didn’t have to say anything. They could have kept their comments to themselves, but they chose to share it with me. And so often, I am so surprised that I am twice as grateful that whatever it was had not escaped their notice. And belive me, your kind words will stay with that someone for a long time to come.
Another benefit of compliments, is it helps to build up another person’s self-esteem. And as we all know, the stronger your self love foundation, the stronger you are able to withstand harmful words, attentions and actions. Isn’t it better to give someone a stronger shield than to pierce it yourself? (P.S. It ends up building your self confidence as well! Win-win!)
Yes, be yourself, but you can also be considerate.
Remember your manners. Just because they are related to you doesn’t mean you don’t need to say “please” and “thank you”.
Don’t take and take and take- what can you do to give back? So many adults are angry with a family member because they feel they are not getting the attention they feel they deserve. My question to you is, what are YOU doing to participate with the family? How often do YOU reach out to each of THEM?
Aging Parents- It’s taken an enormous amount of time, money, effort, patience and love to raise you into adulthood. Don’t take it for granted. Be respectful. Be patient. It is such a difficult thing to KNOW that you are not as sharp or as healthy or as quick as you once were. It’s not like they don’t know of the changes happening in their lives. Life is busy. You have a life of your own. But don’t forget that at one time you were their whole life. Keep them in the loop.
I hope these simple starters are tiny little adjustments that you could add to your “attitude regiment” to have really and truly a happier and heart healthy new year and lasting relationships.
* For more reading, Love Begins With You is available on Amazon!
My latest manuscript, A Detour Home, has been sent away to my team of editors and I am supposed to wait patiently until they arrive back to me covered in red ink.
It is a most anxious time for me and I have to remind myself not to text them with silly, insecure questions like: Are you reading it? Do you like it? What part are you on?
I just need to trust them and give them their space and hope it comes back marginally inked to death. (With every book, I try even harder to watch my grammar and punctuation as a competition with myself to see if I can improve with every venture.)
I do have lots of work to do in between the time that the editors are reading and when I get it back to do the correcting and formatting, like marketing plans, new projects and more, but this time, I thought I would try something new.
Once people find out that I am a full time author, they first off, wonder why I’m not rich and then they have a multitude of questions for me. I am all to happy to answer, and am flattered that people would be interested in my passion for writing and creating.
I recently put out a few memes that give snippets of some of the behind the scenes of being an author and they were well received prompting more questions.
So I thought, just in case you never get a chance to meet an author in person and ask questions, I would share the questions and the answers asked of me, here with you. I have about a dozen questions lined up from those who have previously written to me or have met me out and about, but if you’d like to add one I’d be most honored.
You can ask it in the comments below, or shoot me a message via the contact page or through my Facebook page.
Hopefully it will keep you entertained (or perhaps if there are budding authors out there, it may inspire) and it will keep me from pestering my editors and slowing down their progress. Fun experiment, wouldn’t you say?
Here’s a few inquires that I have gotten:
Please feel free to add to the list!
The answers can only apply to my writing quirks and you would probably get a different answer from every other author you meet, (or follow). But this is me and for what it’s worth, these are my quirks.
Thank you for being on this journey with me. I love writing and teaching and hope that my offerings touch your heart in the best of ways, even if sometimes it has to sting at first. I write from a place of love and hope that it brings you happiness!
Stay tuned for Operation Keep Elizabeth Distracted…
When you are asked the question, what is love? It can conjure up definitions, quotes, stories, experiences and scripture. And while every single one of those has truth, I'm going to oversimplify the definition today.
Love means putting others first.
There you go. Done.
Botom line, love means putting others before yourself. Seem too simple? Let's break it down.
When you love someone or want to show love to someone, anyone, you want their happiness. And you are willing to put your needs second to ensure their happiness. No one shows this better than a parent.
Our children eat before we do... Our children sleep before we sleep... Our children get new clothes, haircuts, new toys, new technology and we are playing catch-up; happy with the few moments to ourselves in the bathroom! Lol
No matter how old our children are... you never lose that feeling. I would do everything in my power for my children if that was in their best interest. I love them with every fiber of my being. It comes natural to me.
In our intimate relationships, the same is applied. If you want nothing more than your partner to be happy, and he/she want's nothing more than your happiness, then you have found the right equation.
What things do you do in your relationships to see that your love relationships are your priority?
When you love someone else, you are constantly thinking, what would be in their best interest?
Selfishness thinks only of oneself. Love thinks of others.
It's not about what you can get. The power you can wield. It's about what you can give. How can you help? What can you do to make their life easier? What would make them smile?
It's not about following blindly, or losing yourself within someone else. It's about helping them to shine and you grow from their glow.
Love is shown in similar forms all day every day and can be displayed with everyone you meet.
Love is opening the door for someone else.
...letting someone go in front of you in line.
... buying someone else's order.
Following the simplicity of this rule, sometimes, showing love, by putting others first isn't always easy. At times, there are tough choices to be made still keep their best interests in mind.
By putting others first, does not mean you become a doormat. (That is usually the first argument I get when I talk on this.) It does not mean you have to do whatever the other person says, just to make them happy. It does not mean that you have to go against your beliefs or endanger you or your family in any way. If they ask you to do any of those things, they are not seeing you through eyes of love and you will have to make some tough decisions.
Sometimes you have to make that call to the addiction hotline to get your love some help.
Sometimes it means you have to walk away from an abusive relationship to save yourself.
Sometimes you have to stand firm on a decision if it means the best for your family.
Love does NOT mean to follow blindly. If the other person loved you, was putting YOU first, you wouldn't have to be making these difficult decisions. You can love them, still, and love yourself too. By putting others first, it is a sacrifice. But you shouldn't be in love by yourself.
Recognize love coming back to you. Recognize when it does not.
Love is putting others first. The end. If the ones you are in a relationship with are not putting you first? They are not in love. If you are not putting them first? Guess what? You're not in love either.
Every couple is going to have disagreements, arguments and maybe even a few knock down drag outs, and all will be well, but I promise you, there will be times when a line has been crossed and your only way to mend the wound is by offering an apology.
Why is "I'm Sorry" so hard for some people to say?
I'm pretty sure it's a pride thing. When you are willing apologize to someone, you first have to admit that you did something wrong. And who likes to do that? Next, you have to put your partner's feelings above your own, and acknowledge that you have caused harm. A humbling task.
Pride is a powerful thing to set down. But if you continually:
-pretend that an offense never happened
-downplay the hurt
-refuse to take ownership of the infraction
-avoid communicating (with the intent of resolution)
... then pride will destroy your trust, intimacy and may even destroy the relationship itself.
Don't let pride steal the intimacy from your relationship. Allow yourself to be vulnerable to the fact that you just might be at fault.
Avoiding the conversation is not the same thing as resolving it!! By pretending the offense never happened will do far more damage in the long run. You may be able to distract your partner a time or two or charm them into forgetting the offense this time, but believe me, it will catch up to you. No amount of charm or chocolates are going to save you now!!
So go ahead. Do the deed. Don't put it off any longer. Take responsibility for hurting your partner's feelings and do what needs to be done to salve it. Not sure how to go about it?
Here are a few tips:
- Just start by saying it. I'm sorry. (That will get their attention!) But don't stop there...
-address the problem (I'm sorry for...) Let your partner know that you are acknowledging the unhappy emotions you caused. This, usually means more than anything else you can say. Try to identify with your partner's feelings. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but it is to your partner. Don't argue your point, use this as a chance to try and understand.
-really make an effort to say and show how you are going to change in the future in case a similar situation arises. What's the point of apologizing if you have no intention to change? Make sure your partner knows you regret causing the pain and that you sincerely want to work toward a resolution.
-ask for forgiveness. These words are truly humbling and powerful. By asking for forgiveness, it shows that you are choosing to start again with different behaviors. It encourages trust.
-do what you say. Trust grows when you demonstrate the changes in your actions and behaviors that will benefit the relationship.
When NOT to say "I'm sorry"
-when you don't mean it anyway and you're just trying to "move things along".
-not every conflict requires an apology- just be sensitive to times when you know you have crossed the line. You'll know. You'll feel it. And if you don't, the silence will usually let you know.
-if you're just going to deflect it. (When you actually turn the offense back on your partner- guilt) "I'm sorry if you think...." or "I wouldn't have ____ if you hadn't ___" "It's not my fault if you took it that way..."
-if you're just going to take your partner down with you. "I'm sorry, but remember that time when you did ___ to me?"
-and worst of all, if you're just going to repeat the same offense time and again.
Sometimes it may take a few hours or maybe even a few days before the emotions settle down and you can discuss the offense with your partner. Take that breath. Don't storm off or slam doors, just let them know you need a break. This is not the opportunity to hope they "forget about it". If you want to make things right, you're eventually going to have to address it. Just do it, and get back to loving.
Sometimes it may take a while to be forgiven. And that is their right. If you hurt some one and they need time to grieve, allow them that time. And when they do come to accept your apology, be gracious. Don't hold a grudge or get defensive, allow for reconciliation.
I hope this helps. Too many relationships are being slowly shifted a part because of the pride that blocks the apology. We all make mistakes. Take the responsibility to own up to yours. Make things right, make the changes and grow closer together.
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As many of you know, I am a hairstylist when I am not writing, and I have recently moved from my home state where I'd been living most of my life to someplace completely different. Adapting to the changes have been quite a challenge.
People fascinate me. Granted, being an introvert, I like to watch from a distance, but being part of the human race, I eventually have to participate as well. When I was studying relational coaching, my goal was to use it for mainly teens, but I am surprised that I can use this knowledge in every aspect of my life.
I have been a hairstylist, off and on for over 23 years and have belonged to several different shops. The one I left was probably my favorite and the one that I developed the best friendship skills. They were essentially my tribe. I belonged. We all looked out for one another. We played together, we worked together, we loved, we lost, we bonded. It was the first time in my life, I had multiple friends. In the past, I had only been able to concentrate on one friend at a time. This became a separate.... family, so to speak. (Like I said, I'm an introvert but never had a name for my "condition" until a couple years ago!)
When I moved and started my new job here, it's been an excellent reference as to how complete strangers assimilate to become one team. These twelve people, my new tribe that I had been assigned too- some have worked together before, some knew each other in passing, and I, of course, was completely new... but all new to this franchise and brand new store.
I like watching the natural progression of things grow. How people group together; find different ways to assert their authority, come together to weed out a common enemy, toleration, education and bonding together. It is amazing to watch.
I had been asked to be the leader of our motley crew but had declined. I wanted to devote my time to creating and not so much cutting. But knowing that I am out of the running for leadership, I am able to watch the process unfold without bias.
It's a good group of girls here, under a good GM and a positive owner. The shop will do well, and these girls look like they are here to stay. So I am anxious to watch the friendships unfold and to see if it stays "just" co-worker status among them or if they will bond together as a cohesive unit.
I am have a nice time learning who everyone is. They're likes and dislikes, things we have in common, their work practices (how they cut differently than me or customer skills or retail skills). I am fascinated with their family-lives, how many kids they have, boys/girls, ages, married/single. Their hobbies, their joys, their addictions, what makes them laugh.
While I miss the cohesiveness of the tribe I left behind, I am learning so much about myself and the others and this experience is only going to make me a better person by being able to love on these new people.
We have all been thrown together for about a month now, and in that short of time I have learned so much about these young women. Their heartbreaks and their trials and the things they are doing to cope. If they have a common denominator among them all, it's strength. I have heard of some of their trials that would cripple another human being, but these girls don't give up. They find a new way to keep going. They all have strong family ties and as with everyone, they are all struggling through something. I am humbled that they trust me, an outsider, to tell their troubles to. They don't tell me to "get" something from me, they are just sharing. I am honored that they feel comfortable in such a short window of time to share with me. Apparently, I fall into the "momma" role wherever I go.
It is true that people fade in and out of your life in seasons and that not everyone you meet is supposed to be in your life forever, and sometimes its hard to let go of your "comfort zone", but we can grow stale if we stay in the same "place" for too long. I have discovered that I am a wanderer. I physically need to move from place to place to stay inspired. I think I've known it for a long time but was too afraid to step out of the "norm". But when I say "place", I am more referring to a mental or spiritual attitude if you will. We as humans need to grow. We are created to want other human companionship, and yet its scary to face change. I wish for you to embrace change. Me, the introvert, says reach out and love people. All kinds of people. It doesn't have to be up close and personal, but we can love from a distance as well.
I will have to get used to meeting new people and leaving others behind. And while I feel the need to not settle- at the moment- I hope that I leave behind me a trail of affection and that I touched people's lives with love. I hope that those I come in contact with feel inspired and if I'm lucky, I will have the opportunity to watch their dreams come true. (Facebook at its finest! I can move about the country and still keep track of all my people!)
We all come in contact with people every single day. Make it a positive experience. And while we won't build tribes with all these people and they may only be in your life for a season, (or less), let it be a good experience for all involved. A little love, a little kindness can go a long way. Lead with love.