Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Friendly Pruning

The other day I made a mistake in an assignment I was doing. I was told of my mistake and felt kind of foolish at first because I thought I knew better. However, as I interacted later with the person who had corrected me, I realized he thought no less of me. In fact, even when he corrected me, it was done with a smile. As I felt his support and good will towards me, my feelings of foolishness soon left and I was able to focus on what I could learn from my mistake. Perhaps, I had taken some things for granted that I could now pay more attention to. Or perhaps, I really didn’t know better and needed to learn and practice more. Or maybe I just needed to realize that we all make mistakes from time to time and chalk it up to being human.

Because I felt my “corrector’s” friendliness and support, I could focus my energies on learning from my mistake. How different it would have been if he had looked down on me, frowned instead of smiled or shook his head disapprovingly at me. Then my energies more likely would have been focused on how foolish I was, how I didn’t like working in this “hostile environment” or what was wrong with me that I should make such a mistake. In other words, my energies would have been focused on feeling bad about myself or the other person instead of learning from my mistake.

The fact is, we do and will always make mistakes because we are human and we are continually learning, growing and developing. However, the likelihood of actually learning from our mistakes so we will make them less often, increases significantly when our mistakes are corrected with warmth and support rather than coldness and disdain. This is true in work relationships, parent-child relationships, husband-wife relationships and even in the words we say to ourselves.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ocean Waves and Relationships

We recently returned from a family reunion cruise. It was a great way to bond as a family and enjoy the sites at the different ports as well as the entertainment on the ship.

One of my favorite things to do was to observe the ocean waves. Their rhythm, grace and consistency were both soothing and inspiring. The water was always moving - sometimes the waves were big and quite dramatic and other times they were just little ripples but there was always movement.

Just like the ocean waves, relationships also have their own rhythmic movement. Sometimes the “waves” seem pretty big and couples wonder if it’s worth it or if they married the wrong person. However, research has shown that in most cases, if they just give it more time, things naturally improve. Just like the ocean, big waves turn into smaller waves and smaller waves turn into little ripples. But there is always movement – problems to solve, challenges to face, opportunities to grow and learn from. That’s the nature of relationships. That’s the nature of life. And just like ocean waves, we can’t change that. But we can learn to be more aware, accepting and appreciative of the rhythm, grace and consistency in our own lives and relationships.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Something Better than a Gold Medal

What a thrill it was to watch the Olympics that just ended in Vancouver and share the euphoria of winning with each champion!

The grace and beauty of Kim Yu-Na’s figure skating was breathtaking! The courage of Lindsey Vonn in skiing even when it was painful was inspiring! And, of course, Joannie Rochette gave us all pause as she skated so elegantly even while grieving the recent death of her mother.

The Olympics were inspiring and mesmerizing to watch but for the Olympians, there was something more important than winning medals. For Kim Yu-Na, it was pleasing her country that was counting on her. For Lindsey Vonn, it was being wrapped in the arms of her husband and sharing their joy together. And for Joannie Rochette, it was looking heavenward to her mother and giving her all for her.

Better than winning a gold medal (or any other success) is having a loved one (or loved country) to share it with.