Between the violence in our own country and that abroad, both by hate groups and by single individuals, as well as the fact that our own government can’t seem to get along (I swear, I need to go to Washington and teach proper social and communication skills), I am reminded of the poem below that I had read a while ago and had forgotten about. It reminds me of how our choices impact children (and adults)-positively and negatively. Thanks to my friend Jayne for sending it to me.
If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be sharp.
If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to be confident.
If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love and warmth.
When we teach and we live negatively, we receive negativity in return in the forms of criticism, hostility, ridicule, and shame. Negativity can be very contagious. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Misery loves company.” There are many people in the world who love nothing better than to tell everyone their problems in the hopes that these people will validate those negative feelings. We all have at least one person in our lives like that. In his book, Every Day a Friday: How to Be Happier 7 Days a Week,
Joel Osteen reminds us that people have the right to be unhappy and you have the right to ignore them. It is all about choices and control and power.
Recently, a friend of mine had to deal with someone who wanted to put his misery onto her. My friend lives a positive life and understands that she is cause. Therefore, she made a decision that she was not going to give into that negativity or to feel guilty and condemned. She politely told her friend she was not going to participate in the negative decisions he was making. She refused to give up her power and her control. She fully understands that she is the cause. She doesn’t wait for someone else to decide for her; she lives proactively. Because she knows what she stands for, she is able to stand up to others in a very respectful manner, all the while keeping her own self-respect, confidence, and integrity intact.
Many people are under the impression that they are being treated rudely when they don’t get their way; when others won’t give into them. This is a powerful form of manipulation people use by trying to make you feel guilty. It is very disrespectful to you. It can create a belief that to be respectful we have to give in to others or they won’t like us. It can also create a feeling of shame. However, neither is true. It is completely possible to be very respectful, stand your ground, be just, and continue sometimes difficult friendships. This helps to create a friendship/relationship where there is love, warmth and/or respect.
Have I had people in my life who have chosen to be unhappy and couldn’t accept my honesty and the standing of my ground? Yes, of course, I have. We all have. But, I have found this to be rare in my life. Most of the time, when you stand your ground people will accept it. There have also been times where I have needed to make a decision to let the other person go, and continue down my own path of positivity so I could maintain my own power, control, self-respect and integrity. I stated before; setting boundaries and being assertive (very different than being aggressive) can be done with dignity and respect to all parties. Taking the high road is always the right road. The low road is often more “scenic,” but it is never the right road.
We teach others how to treat us by the way in which we choose to live. We teach and are taught to love or to hate (You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught to Hate). We teach others to condemn, to fight and to ridicule by our acts of negativity. The other side of that coin is that we teach others tolerance, justice, love, and warmth by our acts of positivity.
Do you live a life of positivity? If so, congratulations! You are contributing to our world in a productive, peaceful way. If not, what can you do today to start down that path of change to bring more positive living to your life?
Be kinder than necessary, be grateful, and create a peace-filled week,
P.S. We are celebrating our first birthday! To commemorate this event, we are giving away a free “No Bull Teacher” polo shirt every week this month. Congratulations to this week’s winner. Check you email to see if it was you!
Thank you for supporting Ms. Brown the No Bull Teacher.