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As We Move Forward: Acceptance

KidsThere are few issues more basic to a person’s overall sense of well-being than the need for acceptance. The widely different outcomes in the lives of people based on the degree to which they either experienced or were denied acceptance has been the subject of numerous studies and much literature on human development and behavior. We don’t need exhaustive studies to explain the plight of the child who was either chosen last or not picked at all for activities involving peers. That is a familiar scene to all of us.

I had the experience early in life of being praised and complimented when I volunteered an answer in school. In the third grade, tryouts were being held for a class musical. During the casting for three clown parts, I shouted,”I can stand on one finger!” I immediately placed an index finger under my shoe and “stood on one finger,” I got the part, and the acceptance I experienced encouraged me to speak up and spontaneously say whatever came to mind. I gained the acceptance of being told I have a way with words.

I am fortunate that my early experiences were largely positive and gained me the acceptance and approval of others. I am aware that many people do not find that kind of acceptance. Like many of us, I have known people who engaged in elaborate behavior only to be rejected by others. In a few cases, I have seen this behavior become so extreme that it led to serious negative consequences. The attention this type of behavior gains is as far from acceptance as it can be.

As we grow up, our behaviors can take on the form of ideas. As we share these ideas, one of the things we are seeking is acceptance. As these ideas deepen and become our core values and beliefs, sharing these ideas with others carries the possibility that our beliefs and our values will either be accepted by others or rejected by them.

To further clarify acceptance, let me say that I have always enjoyed discussing ideas with people who hold opinions different from mine. I learn from people who have deeply held beliefs that reflect a different point of view. This level of acceptance requires us to distinguish between a person and their ideas. It also requires an understanding that acceptance does not necessarily mean agreement.

GroupAs we move forward, it is a good idea to look at our own lives and the areas where we feel accepted. What does that mean? Do people we are in relationship with us have the ability to accept us if we have differences in ideas and or beliefs? Does the respect in these relationships go beyond ideas we may or may not hold in common?

I hope you, like me, accept and respect people with whom you may disagree or whose ideas and beliefs you may not share. Remember, acceptance of another person does not mean you agree with everything they think. As we move forward, let us keep the difference between integrity and ideas clear. That way we can all grow in our understandings of one another and our acceptance of one another.

If you would like to receive new As We Move Forward posts, please subscribe to the As We Move Forward mailing list by clicking here. I release entries on a bi-weekly basis.

We have a podcast containing the As We Move Forward articles read by Jonathan Bloom.

As We Move Forward: Complexity

FrustratedI was thinking recently about how complex things seem to have become in so many areas of life. At first I assumed this was a natural conclusion on my part reflecting the fact that I am getting older. On further reflection, and after talking with others, of various ages, I have reached the conclusion that complexity seems to be increasing at a very rapid rate.

One area I have witnessed this increasing complexity is in the rather broad realm of the internet, including social media. I have watched the internet become an increasingly integral part of our personal lives, as well as business and professional applications. While this spread has led to many incredible improvements in our lives, it has led to other things not so positive. I have become amazed at how fragile the internet is for something we depend on for so many things in our lives. “The internet is down,” is a crisis call that can cripple normal activity, personal or business.

I know several IT professionals. I am alarmed at the stress in their lives. People experiencing an IT crisis want it solved–immediately. That is a level of complexity that I am pretty sure did not exist a few years ago. I am not even talking about things like cyber hacking, identity theft and the ever increasing number of security protocols that have become necessary to survive in this environment. The progress has led to some tremendous breakthroughs in our ability to manage information. It just seems no one person has the knowledge to solve the problems that arise, let alone understand the complexities that occur in our connected world.

Social media points out the increasing complexity of relationships that increasingly involved technology brings. Social media has given us the ability to communicate instantly with virtually anyone in the world. This should have resulted in a one hundred percent increase in effective interpersonal communication. Somehow I think complexity has prevailed here as well. We can definitely share more words more quickly than ever before, but are we really communicating with more clarity and understanding?

ThinkingAs we move forward, what do we do in the face of ever increasing complexity? First, we have to accept that this seems to be an inevitable by-product of change and especially progress. We need to accept that we will be facing more and more problems for which we have neither the solution nor a full enough understanding of the situation to begin designing a solution to the problem at hand.

That is OK as long as we remember to think of each new challenge in its simplest form. What is the basic problem that needs to be solved? Then ask what resources are needed to solve the problem and how to gain access to them. This way we can stay focused on the good things that complexity brings us. Hopefully, this approach will keep us moving forward, in a positive frame of mind and moving toward our goal.

If you would like to receive new As We Move Forward posts, please subscribe to the As We Move Forward mailing list by clicking here. I release entries on a bi-weekly basis.

We have a podcast containing the As We Move Forward articles read by Jonathan Bloom.

As We Move Forward: Finding the Way Forward

Dealing With Roadblocks

RoadRoad is a symbol for life that nearly everyone is familiar with. The image of a journey from beginning to end, with many twists, turns, changes and terrain and attractions, distractions and sights along the way can provide the description of many adventures and diversions as we make the journey. Even our various modes of transportation can prove fascinating.

We can describe how we begin our journey being carried everywhere at the whim of others. Where we start the journey on this road we begin at a time and place determined by others. Our understanding of what the road is and where it might lead are shaped by those early experiences. We tend in those early years to think that everyone’s experience is the same so we think the road we know is the same for everyone.

Gradually, as we crawl, then walk, we become aware that we have choices as to where the road takes us. We discover new modes of transportation with varying numbers of wheels and different sources of power. Some of these are literal forms of transportation. Some are opportunities which can take us on various journeys on our road. These can include relationships we develop, life experiences and educational opportunities. These can also include things like sports, music, drama and other activities that take us in very specific directions on our journey along the road.

RoadblockFrom time to time our journey on the road will be interrupted by a roadblock. These can be as simple as an adult blocking the movement of a small child when that movement can take the child out of a safe space. They can be a rule such as that an older child cannot cross the street or leave the block, especially without accompaniment. These roadblocks are intended to be temporary. Some roadblocks, like a loss, an illness or a disability may be long term to permanent in terms of blocking the journey down the road.

Some people, when encountering a roadblock, simply stop the journey and stay where they are. They accommodate to where they are on the road when they are stopped by the roadblock and they spend the next part of their journey in the same place. That can mean spending the remainder of their journey exactly where the roadblock stopped their progress on the road.

As we move forward it is helpful to have a good idea where we are on the journey. This can mean examining where we began, how far we have come on the road and what means we have used on our journey. This can take some time and can bring up memories, some pleasant and some painful, of what our journey has been up to this point.

What are the things we have encountered on the road. Have these helped us on our journey? Have we gotten sidetracked by any of them? Have any of these things been roadblocks? How have we handled these?

Now, let’s look at where we are on the road. Are we continuing our journey? Have we gotten sidetracked? Have we possibly encountered a roadblock? This examination is something only we can make. We might ask other people, but it is really our decision to make. If we have stopped in one place, how do we feel about that? How long would you like to stay here? What would it take to get moving again, to overcome the roadblock? Where would you like the road to take you next? Do you  think you will move past the roadblock? When will you start to do that?

Road AheadAs we move forward, let’s remember that much of our journey on the road is up to us. Whatever you decide about this part of your journey, I wish you clarity and peace with your decision. I look forward to our moving forward together on the road.

If you would like to receive new As We Move Forward posts, please subscribe to the As We Move Forward mailing list by clicking here. I release entries on a bi-weekly basis.

We have a podcast containing the As We Move Forward articles read by Jonathan Bloom.

As We Move Forward: Your Age is a Two-Edged Sword

InfantOur age defines much of who we are during nearly all of our lives. As infants, we may be described as an ideal age because everyone around us does pretty much whatever we want when we want it. People smile when  they are around us and tell our parents how adorable we are. We are virtually free from expectations, and we receive praise and attention for everything we do.

This state of being the perfect age gives way to the period as young children when we are too young for everything. Who of has not told a young child,”When you’re older….” regarding something they had either expressed a desire to do or witnessed someone else do and tried to imitate the action. Play has been described as the way children imitate adult behavior. Sometimes the instructions to wait until a child is older are the loving words of an adult trying to keep the young child from trying something too difficult and possibly dangerous for the attempt. The desired result involves a desire to keep the child safe or to safeguard young feelings from frustration and disappointment.

Sometimes the warning comes from an older child, such as a sibling, who simply does not want the young child tagging along and getting in the way. Sometimes the message of being too young is conveyed through age restrictions on an activity such as a ride at an amusement park.

How many times has a child been told that they are too young to use the “big” slide or swings or merry-go-round. We even had “little kids” restrooms in school. So many events in the lives of young children seem to focus on “when you are older,” “when you are big enough,” or when you grow up. Young children are frequently asked, ”What do you want to be when you grow up?”

TeenagerA strange thing happens during that transition from being a child to an adult–the teenage years. With the approach of adulthood, the things the child has always been too young for gradually become closer. Hopefully  education and the choice of a career come together in the exciting beginning of a life lived doing, ”what the child wanted to be as a grown-up.” Adult relationships and responsibilities develop during this period. For a period–a short period–there is the possibility of being admired for accomplishing things “at such a young age.” This can be an amazing period, but even at this time there are moments of nostalgia.

Suddenly the memories of what we did as children that now we are too old for may creep into our thoughts. There comes a point when the things people, younger than you, find interesting are strange to you. One day you make a reference to something out of your childhood–a song, a movie, a TV show or a celebrity. All of a sudden, young people around you have no idea what you are talking about. This begins without your even noticing. People who are graduating, getting married or going through some other rite of passage seem to be younger all the time. Suddenly you are not the youngest person at work–soon, not even one of the younger ones.

PersonThe person you see in the mirror seems to have aged while you are still young and vibrant. The idea of aging is constantly shifting, too. What you once considered old no longer seems to be. What does all of this mean to us as we travel this exciting journey of life?

As we move forward, it is helpful to remember that where we are on the continuum of age changes each day of our lives. Whether we are too young or too old for anything is not nearly as important as being exactly the right age for who we are today. If we can learn to be content with exactly we are in life today, we can learn to balance our excitement, knowledge and experience to have the most positive impact on the people and situations that are part of our lives today.

SunriseIt can be challenging to embrace all things that have become a part of the life we have today. This is especially if things have happened either through choices we have made or circumstances that have come into our life that are out of our control. I sometimes use the phrase, ”Age is just a number.” I believe that is true in terms of our age being a reference point. Join me in being grateful for all the experiences that have brought us to today. While we have arrived at today through a progression of being too young for some things at some times and too old for other things at different times, let  us resolve to be precisely the right age for today. Let us bring the best of everything that has made our life what it is today as we live the future to the very best of our ability.

If you would like to receive new As We Move Forward posts, please subscribe to the As We Move Forward mailing list by clicking here. I release entries on a bi-weekly basis.

We have a podcast containing the As We Move Forward articles read by Jonathan Bloom.

As We Move Forward: Never Give Up Your Dreams

Dreams have always been an important part of the human experience. Some of our earliest experiences as tiny babies involves responding to bright colors, shiny objects, movement of all kinds. Are these babies having dreams? We don’t know, but the responses to these stimuli seems to evoke pleasant responses. Playing simple games like “peek a boo” appears to elicit dream like responses.

Later, as children play independently and then in groups, the focus of the play takes on the characteristics of acting out dreams. This play simulates real life activities that the children see going on around them. Playing house, school, store and other observed adult activities helps children dream about the possibilities that lie ahead for them.

DreamingThe dreams that start at this point in life further develop dreams about what we will do as we grow up. These dreams not only help shape our goals for the future, they also help solidify our beliefs and values. It is exciting as a child to begin to discover interests and talents and to dream about how these can be woven into the fabric of our lives.

Some extreme examples of this involve children whose abilities are recognized and honed in the hopes of achieving mastery of a physical, mental, musical skill. Every two years, in Olympic competition, we see young people whose dreams have been cultivated in the context of extreme discipline, all focused on a particular goal. It takes a lot to sustain that discipline and focus while holding on to the dream that motivated it.

We will never know how many people have the dream of being an entertainer and go through an equally demand process of seeking fulfillment in living out the dream. Again, there is no way to really know how many people start with those dreams of stardom and realize a somewhat different outcome.

The fact is most of us start life with those childhood dreams that had no boundaries. Sometimes the limits in our lives lead us to live out our dreams in other ways. I have had several dreams about the direction my life would take. At the root of all my dreams has been a desire to help people become the best they can. Several dreams were not possible or at least not practical because of certain abilities I simply do not possess. Pursuing our dreams does not always mean we will be appreciated. I have had people who were part of the reason for acting on a particular dream who have not appreciated the effort and who have even rejected me. None of these things take away from the dreams I have.

Vision and DreamAs we move forward, I ask you to join me in thinking about some of the dreams in your life. What dreams do you recall from earlier in your life, and what dreams are part of your life today? Before you are tempted to say you do have any dreams, answer this question, ”What would you do if time, money or any circumstance didn’t hold you back?” That may be one of your dreams.

Your dreams may find expression in the relationships you have, your hobbies or outside interests. As we move forward, let’s rekindle our forgotten dreams. Whatever we do, let us determine to never give up our dreams. They help make us the best person we can be. Our world needs that. Our world needs our dreams.

If you would like to receive new As We Move Forward posts, please subscribe to the As We Move Forward mailing list by clicking here. I release entries on a bi-weekly basis.

We have a podcast containing the As We Move Forward articles read by Jonathan Bloom.

As We Move Forward: Pick Your Battles

StudentsThe college I attended changed the degree requirements of my major during my junior year. One of the changes called for every senior with this major to take an examination in this subject area as a requirement for graduating with this major. I reviewed the degree requirements in place when I began my major and determined that I had completed the requirements for the degree that were in place when I began.

When the chairman of the department announced the time and place of the examination and that all seniors expecting to graduate with this major were required to take it, I informed him that because I had completed the requirements in place when I began, I was respectfully declining to take this examination.

As a result of that I found myself in the academic dean’s office. After I explained to him that I had completed the degree requirements that existed when I had begun my major, I told him I was respectfully declining to take this examination.

He looked at me and said, ”David you’re right. You do not have to sit for this exam.” He paused and continued, ”Some day a request for a recommendation for you will come across my desk. Your decision regarding this examination will have a direct bearing on my recommendation. You need to pick your battles.“

I took the examination. I passed. I decided that the risk of some future recommendation having a negative impact on something I could not even envision at the time was just too big a risk for me to take. His challenge to pick my battles has stuck with me. Picking our battles involves a very complex process of decision making.

It is important to ask if the cause behind the battle is right and if I have the right to what I am fighting for. This calls for diligent soul searching and coming to terms with our core values. People were held to be accountable for atrocities they committed as part of the Third Reich during World War II. Personal accountability and the consequences of our actions comprise a large part of picking our battles.

Asking if we have a reasonable expectation of success and if that expectation is worth the risks goes a long way to inform our decision as to which battles to pick. Some people respond out of anger in nearly every situation in their lives. It is as if they believe everyone in the universe starts every day trying to see what they can do to make this person’s life miserable. As when trying to help a trapped or injured animal, every move toward them takes on the same intensity. The response is attack that comes from pain or fear. Texting in all capital letters is an example of this no filters response. Everything seems to set these people off, and their response is always loud and heated. Panic seems their initial response to every situation.

Many of us know someone who responds with that same high volume of hostility and antagonism in nearly every situation. Picking a battle with someone who responds in this way leads to exhaustion and frustration.

As we move forward, we want to pick battles that will accomplish something useful in our lives and in the lives of others. We might take on a battle because it is the right thing to do, but we will do it with an understanding of what is at stake and what the outcome is likely to be.

Picking our battles rises from maturity. Experience helps guide this maturity. Join me as we pick our battles based on the best information we have so we can feel good both about the battles we pick and the ones we avoid.

If you would like to receive new As We Move Forward posts, please subscribe to the As We Move Forward mailing list by clicking here. I release entries on a bi-weekly basis.

We have a podcast containing the As We Move Forward articles read by Jonathan Bloom.

As We Move Forward: Consider Your Legacy

When most people think of a legacy, images of wealth, power and fame come to mind. Some of the most intriguing fairy tales of all time have the prince falling in love with the beautiful girl. They go to the castle where the story ends with them living happily ever after. I grew up in a resort community where wealthy people owned summer homes. As I saw those homes, I imagined the lives of people who could spend their summers in those beautiful homes. Over the years, I had the opportunity to get to know some of the young people from some of those families. I was pleasantly surprised at how much alike we were even though our lives and legacies were different in so many ways.

I have had the privilege of traveling in forty-nine of the fifty states in the USA. I have actually spent some time in a number of states. It has been fascinating to explore the legacies of people from different geographic backgrounds. Obviously, the legacy we have each received is made up of many different pieces. Each is unique, and each is ongoing.

ChildWho we are at any given moment in our lives is influenced by an almost unlimited set of factors. Obviously, at birth we arrive with a genetic legacy, but our entry into the world also presents us with a whole set of environmental, social and physical conditions. There is a lot of evidence to support the theory that what happens in the very early portion of our life has a lasting impact on who we are throughout life. That, too, is a part of the legacy we receive.

An immeasurable number of people and circumstances influence us and become part of our legacy as we go through life. Think back to your earliest childhood memories. Who are the people and what are the events that seem most vivid to you. Hopefully, most of these are positive. This would mean you received a legacy upon which to build a happy, productive life. If most or all of these events and people were not positive, then your legacy might look much different.

Major events, like illness or loss, moving to a new location and so many other factors go into forming the legacy we each receive. Is there someone you can point to as the one who influenced your life in a major way? Have you looked at someone as a role model for the way you would like to live your life? Did you have an experience in life that shaped or helped confirm the direction in your life? All these things are a part of your legacy.

As we move forward, it is important to realize these things are still going on in our lives. Are there still people or events who help shape the direction of your life? Are there still people you view as role models for what you desire your life to be? We never stop being influenced by the people and events around us.

Part of our moving forward is to realize we also have a legacy to pass on to other people. Who are the people who see you as someone important in their lives? In addition to the obvious answer of people we are in a close relationship with, who are others who may see us in a still more casual way and still be influenced by us?

Thinking of the legacy we are leaving others might be an opportunity to objectively look at our lives and ask if we are the person we would want to be seen as a role model to others. Seeing ourselves as others see us can be helpful in evaluating where we are at the moment in the journey of living. As we move forward, let us remember that the legacy we are leaving for others is the special, unique contribution we make in the lives of others. Join with me in creating the best legacy we can and enjoying the experience.

If you would like to receive new As We Move Forward posts, please subscribe to the As We Move Forward mailing list by clicking here. I release entries on a bi-weekly basis.

We have a podcast containing the As We Move Forward articles read by Jonathan Bloom.

As We Move Forward: Make New Mistakes

I have never met anyone who had never made a mistake. I did hear about one person who said he thought he had made a mistake once, but he was wrong! For Consequencesthe rest of us, making mistakes goes right along with the risks that are a natural part of life. Little children routinely make mistakes as a part of learning to play. Kindergarten and first-grade teachers keep extra clothes because often children make mistakes about bodily functions and the frequency of needing to use the bathroom.

Learning things like arithmetic and spelling as well as sounding out words while learning to read involve trying, which consists of a combination of success and the making of mistakes. Discovering those things that tend to lead to more victories than errors helps us figure out the direction in our lives that lead to the most satisfaction. As we move through life, both the consequences of our mistakes and the positive outcomes of our success should combine to form the people we come to be as adults.

As we move through the teen years and into adulthood, more and more of the things that happen in our lives depend on the choices we make. We choose the friends we associate with, the activities we invest our time and energy in and the direction our life rakes as we reach the point where the decisions and the outcomes we experience are ours.

As behavior patterns and habits become established in us as adults, we will continue to make mistakes. While the premise behind our making mistakes while growing up was that we would learn from our mistakes and grow from having made them, we find that often as adults our mistakes become ingrained patterns of behavior. It would be easy to assemble a list of errors people make over and over, seemingly learning nothing from them. Take a minute and ask yourself what mistakes of that type are part of your life. What do you do over and over, telling yourself you will change?

Are there things you have resigned yourself to in your life? There is no benefit to be obtained from these mistakes. Their outcome is predictable. Making the same mistakes over and over can lead to discouragement and boredom. We might even come to the point of merely being resigned to living a life we believe we are powerless to change. Is there any part of your life that feels like that?

DecisionsAt specific points in our lives, we may want to consider making the kind of changes that seemed so exciting earlier in our lives. Now that we are more mature and hopefully wiser, we may see once again a vision of what is possible. What might happen if we were to make one or more of these changes? Many things might happen.

One thing that is apparent is that we will make mistakes. When we try new things, some will work and some won’t. The critical thing in this circumstance is to create different blunders. Make mistakes from which we will learn and grow. Make new mistakes from which lives–ours and others’ will be better.

As we move forward, let’s resolve to learn from and be guided by the past. Let us decide not to be limited by the past. I honestly believe I have learned more from the mistakes I have made than from the things I have done right. As I look to the future, I am excited about the possibilities. I want as many of the mistakes I will make to be new ones, mistakes from which I will learn and grow. I hope I never become discouraged about past mistakes or afraid of creating new ones. I hope you feel the same way.

If you would like to receive new As We Move Forward posts, please subscribe to the As We Move Forward mailing list by clicking here. I release entries on a bi-weekly basis.

We have a podcast containing the As We Move Forward articles read by Jonathan Bloom.

As We Move Forward: One Day At A Time

Kid playing guitar at homeWe all know that the only moment we have is the one we are in presently. We may wish to, but we cannot relive the past, and despite hoping and planning and even wishing, the future is still just that—the future. It has not come, and when it does arrive, it is often much different than we thought it would be.

Little children are often told not to try to grow up too fast, to enjoy their childhood. This statement is interesting because much of a child’s time and energy is spent playing at what it is like to be an adult. Conversely, some older adults seem only to want to remember their past. It appears as if we live our lives between the past and the future, trying to find the balance of the present. So many things seem to make that balance challenging to achieve, let alone maintain.

Throughout our lives, we wait eagerly for so many things. We anticipate the start of school, look forward to celebrating things like birthdays and Christmas. We look forward to having someone special visit us. We wait until we are old enough for milestones. For instance, joining a particular organization or team. We look forward to being able to drive. The list goes on and on.

Many things can make it difficult to live in the moment, to take life one day at a time. A sudden loss or the diagnosis of an illness on the part of ourselves or someone close to us can make us anxious for another time. Many people in circumstances of drastic external change express the desire to “get their life back,” to return to a time when things were or at least seemed more straightforward and to make more sense than what was going on in the present moment. It is hard to live one day at a time when we do not like what our life experience at the moment is.

There is a difference between liking the life we have today and being content with our life as it is in the present. Being content may involve accepting some things we cannot change. It can also include being ok with things as they are for the moment. It is a mark of real maturity to be able to focus your energy and attention what is occurring right now. The operative word in living one day at a time is balance. Living in the moment does not mean we can not have fond memories of the past and hopes for the future. Instead, it is the realization that where we are right now is the very best place we can be today.

Time ClocksAs a way of living in the present, look at your life concerning what has gone before and what you think or hope will come after. Start with some easy comparisons, especially if there are some painful memories from your past or some real or imagined fears about what the future might hold for you. Given that today is the reality each of us has, how can we make the most of right now. How can we live the best today possible?

This practice is not easy, and sometimes we will make mistakes. We may at times disappoint ourselves or others. A goal as we move forward is to look back on each day and know we did the best we could do given what we know and what we have to use. That is the day to day secret to a life well lived. I hope you enjoy the journey and become really good at moving forward the only way we can–one day at a time.

If you would like to receive new As We Move Forward posts, please subscribe to the As We Move Forward mailing list by clicking here. I release entries on a bi-weekly basis.

We have a podcast containing the As We Move Forward articles read by Jonathan Bloom.

As We Move Forward: Signs of a Good Relationship


We live in all sorts of relationships. These begin at birth, and unless we spend our last days alone on a desert island, they continue for our entire life. We choose several of these relationships, but many are the result of circumstances over which we have little or no control. There has been much study as well as much debate over just what effect these relationships have in forming the person we become, but we know that relationships can have a lifelong influence on each of us. The discussion is ongoing about the role of nature versus nurture in shaping and defining our personality. What is clear is that from the very beginning, the relationships we are part of are vital to who we are.

Some of our earliest relationships, such as family, neighborhood, social groupings such as our neighborhood and our school, although mainly beyond our control, play a significant role in shaping our development and determining the kind of adult we become.

Abuse, neglect, ridicule, and bullying at an early age have been shown to have a lasting effect on people. Care, affirmation, support, and encouragement early in life also have demonstrated  that they leave their positive influence. KidsNone of these explains thoroughly why each of us becomes the person we develop into, but these and other factors present in the early relationships over which we often have little or no control seem to guide and inform the choices we make for the relationships we have some say in forming.

If our early relationships were by fear, mistrust, anger or other harmful or painful factors, we would likely base the relationships we choose to form at least in part on these things. It is difficult to establish relationships based on positive factors if all or most of what we have experienced are not positive. A crisis such as a loss or severe illness in the framework of some of our early relationships can be challenging to overcome as we form relationships on our own.

Even as adults, we often are part of relationships we do not choose. Our work may be a place where we find ourselves in relationships we do not or would not wish. To be successful in some of these relationships, you might find it helpful to think about some of the foundational ingredients that go into making healthy relationships. It would be wonderful if each of our relationships were with people we like and with whom we agree on everything. Unfortunately,  that is not always the case.

CoffeeMutual recognition and acceptance of people we do not agree with can be a challenge. A fundamental willingness to agree to disagree can be the basis for a satisfying relationship with someone whose ideas are different than ours. One of the more difficult aspects of this type of relationship is to keep harsh judgment and the struggle to exert power out of the relationship. It is hard and painful to stay in a relationship built on conflict and the willingness to inflict hurt for the sake of maintaining power over someone.

It can take serious self-examination to determine if it makes sense to enter or remain in that type of relationship. It is fascinating to have relationships with people who differ in their ideas from us. Keeping conflict and hurt out leaves the possibility for learning from someone whose view of the world may be vastly different from yours.

It is sometimes difficult to realize that some relationships are only for a season. This fact can be both painful and comforting. It is occasionally possible to endure a challenging relationship if we know it will not last forever. ThinkingSadly, that can also happen in relationships we thoroughly enjoy. It  might be helpful to think of the impact on our lives that each of our friendships had at this time.

I would invite you to think about three or four relationships in your life. What do/did you enjoy about each of them? What do/did you wish could be/have been different? If the relationship was in your past, what have you learned from it that helps you in current relationships? If the relationship is current, what can you do to make it better?

Barring that isolated desert island, we will be in relationships the rest of our lives. Let’s do all we can to make each one the best it can be from our perspective, and let’s choose relationships that have the most potential to bring fulfillment and satisfaction to us and those with whom we are in relationships.

If you would like to receive new As We Move Forward posts, please subscribe to the As We Move Forward mailing list by clicking here. I release entries on a bi-weekly basis.

We have a podcast containing the As We Move Forward articles read by Jonathan Bloom.