Ashley - posted on 06/04/2009 ( 7 moms have responded )
In the interest of furthering the purpose of this group as revised by Emily, this is a re-post of a post that I posted back in April on the Stepmom's group. I think its a good reference. Here goes:
I'm reading a book. Most of it isn't very good. But, it did reference a little gem from the October 1991 edition of the "Active Voice"; a newsletter of the San Francisco chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (for those of you who care about the reference).
Anyway, I was reading over this gem and thought immediately of my communications with BM. In fact, this list is pretty versatile for just about any relationship. So, I thought I'd post it... see if you all find it valuable and what you all think. Here goes:
Ten Proven Ways to Get Along with People
1. Refuse to talk negatively about others; do not gossip and do not listen to gossip.
2. Have a forgiving view of people. Believe that most people are doing the very best that they can.
3. If someone criticizes you, see if there is any truth to what s/he is saying. If so, make changes. If there is no truth to the criticism, ignore it and live so that no one will believe the negative remark.
4. Before you say anything to anyone, ask yourself three things: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?
5. Make promises sparingly and keep them faithfully.
6. Never miss an opportunity to compliment or to say something encouraging to someone.
7. Forget about counting to ten. Count to one thousand before doing or saying anything that could make matters worse.
8. Let your virtues speak for themselves.
9. Keep an open mind; discuss, but do not argue. It is possible to disagree without being disagreeable.
10. Cultivate your sense of humor; laugther is the shortest distance between two people.
In case you haven't guessed, I'm big into self improvement. In that vein, I've been attempting address and refine my communication issues for a long time (both professionally and personally). The book that I'm reading is for work. Personally, my mom has been preaching to me a lot lately since I've been so frustrated with teenage SKs and the BM. She was (and still is) a big believer in "tough love" (which isn't what a lot of people think it is). Basically, tough love seems to resonate pretty simply in the list above which is what I think really drew me to it.
The basic premise is that you cannot change what the other person is going to do... but you can change how you are going to behave/react. In essence, through your response and the other person's response to your reaction, you can help to cultivate better responses from the other person. It doesn't always work out that way, but it does bring peace and sanity to you. The bottom line is that it doesn't matter what the other person does. It matters what YOU do and THAT is the only thing that you can control to impact the situation. That's where I think it rolls into the list above.
I've been applying it with my teenage SK's (do "X" and you will loose my cooperation which means that you probably won't get a ride to do whatever with your friends or be able to use my computer to play on Facebook, or whatever). I've also been attempting to apply it to BM to bring sanity to myself and hopefully further my ability to have positive conversations.
The goal is no anger, no frustration, just kind-hearted action to protect myself and avoid being hurtful to the other person. As a result, I strive to make my actions kind (and necessary... I love that in #4)... and in the end, if it does not provide a desirable result for the other party maybe they will consider changing their behavior. Its totally impartial and a win-win. I can avoid being pissed off and the kids/BM live by the consequences of their actions. Ultimately, it has been doing a lot to help bring peace to my life and I hope some of the women here may be able to use it too :)