No matter who you work with, marry, be-friend, date, parent, or live beside, sooner or later there’ll be personality traits which you don’t agree with, or find uncomfortable to be around. We’re all created differently, are an original masterpiece created by God, and like any living thing, there are no two of us exactly alike. It’s what makes the human race such an incredibly diverse body of souls. But, how we interact, and appreciate each others positive and negative qualities is more about our personality rather than the individuals inside our target zone.
I’ve always enjoyed the answers long-married couples give for their relationships standing the test of time-- you know, those 50-60 year marriages which have become so rare, and so far-in-between among today’s divorce-filled society. For most of them, their answers always seem to come around to communication, respect, flexibility over disagreements, patience, keeping the chemistry flowing through small gifts and gestures, responsibility, maturity, and the all-important trait of dedication to the marriage through thick-and-thin. Most say they simply learned to appreciate their partner’s many good points instead of dwelling over the bad. That no two people will ever be 100% perfect for each other, but valuing, and always remembering what brought them together in the first place is what kept their feet firmly planted through the test of time; keeping in mind that the grass is not always greener on the other side.
My Grandparents were married for over 60 years, my parents over 40. Like most, I can remember seeing and hearing both couples having arguments, disagreements, going without talking for a few hours, or even one sleeping among the cozy confines of the living room sofa for a night here and there. But, they always carried on, moved forward, forgave, and enjoyed better times when they came. Marriage was a life-long commitment for both, was taken seriously with mature attitudes, and didn’t involve the knee-jerk harsh reactions to minor issues as they came and went. Most of all there was enduring love, and love is a tolerant, patient, and forgiving beast.
These same feelings should carry over to our other relationships no matter co-worker, friend, or foe. We all come into contact with others on a daily basis, and like anyone else, comments oftentimes swirl inside my head about someone’s outward appearance, attitude, religious or political beliefs, etc. It’s only natural to see and feel something about another human being when you’re around them. But, I’ve also tried to learn that for every item I don’t like, there’s probably going to be many that I do. And those are the things much easier to discover and appreciate rather than wasting time on the negative.
I’m a pretty regimented type of person. If I tell you I’ll be somewhere at say, 12 o’clock, you can count on seeing me within five minutes when the hands on the clock strike noon. If I say I’m going to do something task wise, I get with the program and keep after it till its completion. Need to catch an early flight the next morning? The night before I’ll lay out my clothes, get the coffee ready, and be at the check-in counter at least an hour prior. Going out somewhere during the evening, I’ll peek inside my closet a couple of hours before and pick out something to wear, all the while keeping an eye on the clock. I’m also one who’s never afraid to speak up, voice an opinion, but try and do so in a respectful manner. You get the picture, and I’ve been both criticized and praised for who I am. Many appreciate my attention to detail, organizational attitude, timeliness, focus, and realize I’m someone you can count on to be somewhere when I say I will. Others have said to lighten up, relax, and go more with the flow. Either way, I am who I am and at this stage of the game it’s doubtful I’ll be changing anytime soon. But, here’s the thing: for every item you may not like about me or someone else, I’d like to think there’s several that you do. It’s a balancing act, and something we should all enjoy playing.
Remember the TV show, All In The Family? Good ole’ Archie, Edith, Meathead, and Gloria used to disagree (mostly Archie) like angry teenagers. They’d fight, have long heated discussions over religion, politics, racism, and other social issues while solving the worlds problems, They’d get so upset and opinionated with each other you’d think the kicks and punches would be coming soon. But, at the end of the day, or week, they’d always come together and defend each other no matter what. Simply put, they’d eventually focus on the 80% good, while letting go of the 20% bad.
Thanks for listening…
To see more of Randy Mitchell's writing, visit his website @ www.theinspirationalwriter.com
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