August 16, 2012

learning RESPECT.

can you see the hurt in that woman's eyes?
i can.  what a HORRIBLE drawing.
is that what you would want to look at every morning when you wake up?
do you want your spouse to see himself through this distorted lens?
i hope not.  i HATE these kind of drawings.
for the most part, society today has LOST the art of RESPECT and HONOR.
watch the Disney channel today-- compare Zack and Cody to Leave it to Beaver.
"Father Knows Best" is replaced by today's Bernstein Bear father- who is an idiot.
(Even when older tv shows have the father being a bit off-- think Mary Poppins-- there is still an air of respect and honor from the wife and children.)
I have many excuses for my sometimes BRASH communications.
I'm Italian.
(Ha!  Actually, I'm Italian and Scottish and Irish... feisty all the way around.)
I'm from New Jersey.
I was raised by a single mother, who was raised by her aunts once she entered high school.
She was never really taught to resolve her conflicts in a positive way-- and neither was I.
Most of my interactions with my father were over holidays-- when everyone is drunk, everyone is a bit harsher in their communication.
"I am honest."
I am blunt.
I am REAL.
I "say it like it is."
I'm smart and I enjoy intellectual banter.
I love deeply and hurt deeply.
I'm passionate.
This is what i KNOW.
I'm FUNNY!  (Much harshness is done in humor...)
sigh...
I am very MILD compared to the rest of my family.

Those are my excuses... what are yours?
Do you have a soft, mild manner?  Or are you hurtful with your words?
Do you say things in the heat of the moment that you regret later?
Do you hear your children bickering or arguing and wonder HOW you can teach them to BE KIND!!
How can we teach our children to be KIND and RESPECTFUL?
How can we teach them to love each other and to obey without being sassy?
WE HAVE TO MODEL FOR THEM.
WE HAVE TO BECOME RESPECTFUL AND KIND and they will SEE that in us.

I once went out to lunch with two of my friends.
One, a single mother who had been divorced many times.
One, a friend who was struggling to hold on to her marriage after her husband had been unfaithful.
My married friend recounted an argument that she had with her husband, in front of her children.
She said it was awful, she said things she should never have said and she felt sick.
Although I UNDERSTOOD why she was angry (!!!), I suggested that she apologize.
I told her to try again.
To TALK with her husband in a loving way, explaining her feelings and pain, AWAY from her children.
We ALL make mistakes-- and that is why there is no limit to the amount of times we can say "I'm SORRY!"
My single friend piped in. "That is ridiculous!  I want to marry a man who will love me for who I AM... I don't want to have to change in order to be loved.  If I'm mad, he should know that I'm mad.  And, if he can't handle it, I don't want him anyway."
i wondered if that was why she had yet to form a LASTING relationship?
to LOVE is an ACTION.
to LOVE requires that we act loving.
to LOVE requires that we are kind.
that we bridle our passion so that we are filled with greater love.

i will tell you the problem with believing that "BEING HONEST" will lead to happily ever after...
it is THIS--  HONEST is NOT HONEST-- it is distorted.
people who allow themselves to find fault with their spouse, or to say whatever they are feeling at the time, no matter how harsh it is... they are NOT being honest.
They are hurting others with the swing of their emotions.

In speaking of those who highlight the faults of early Mormon pioneers, President Gordon B. Hinckley made the following analogy-- i think it applies well to faultfinding in the home.
"We recognize that our forebears were human. They doubtless made mistakes. … But the mistakes were minor, when compared with the marvelous work which they accomplished. To highlight the mistakes and gloss over the greater good is to draw a caricature. Caricatures are amusing, but they are often ugly and dishonest. A man may have a blemish on his cheek and still have a face of beauty and strength, but if the blemish is emphasized unduly in relation to his other features, the portrait is lacking in integrity."
("Be Ye Not Deceived, Gordon B. Hinckley, October 1983)

Those who are brutally honest, sometimes enjoy the brutality more than the honesty.


I have heard myself telling my husband a grand list of PROOF that i have that he doesn't love or care about me enough...
and guess what?
I KNOW HE LOVES ME A LOT.
He is NOT perfect.
There was only ONE perfect person that ever walked the earth... and dang it, he is not looking for a wife at this time.
so the rest of us have to deal with REGULAR, old, flawed folk.
and our men have to deal with US-- flawed.

Growing up, i had this idea that the WAY you build a good relationship was to be HONEST about the things that made you mad, fight about them, talk about them, work THROUGH them... and in the end, you would have a stronger relationship.
I JUST DON'T BELIEVE THIS IS TRUE.

i am NOT a doormat wife... but you do not need to be a doormat to be KIND and LOVING and RESPECTFUL.
even with you disagree.
faultfinding and blaming is WRONG.
when you are constantly pointing out others weaknesses, you are focused on the WRONG things.

You will SEE what you are LOOKING for.
If you LOOK for faults, you will find faults.
In FACT-- you may even create problems.

A dumb example.
This summer my friend asked me to go shopping with her for some things for her home.
We spent a lot of money and I worried that she wouldn't like the things that we picked out once she got home.
I worried her husband would be upset at the money we spent, and that he would think i was to blame.
(My friend does not EVER shop for house stuff.)
As i was worrying out loud, she said to me, "Jen, stop it.  You are making me have buyers remorse and I DON'T EVEN HAVE BUYERS REMORSE."

People will BECOME what we SEE in them.
If we are constantly pointing out the faults of others-- those faults will MAGNIFY.
This is SO TRUE with parenting and is one of the main principles of one of my favorite parenting books, "The Power of Positive Parenting" by Dr. Glen Latham
This books if FULL of specific HOW TO examples and instructions for parenting positively.
It works and it is TRUE.
"Research has shown that the most effective way to reduce problem behavior in childern [AND HUSBANDS] is to strengthen desirable behavior through positive reinforcement rather than trying to weaken undesirable behavior using adverse or negative processes." (pg 9, The Power of Positive Parenting).

BY ATTENDING TO INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR WE ARE FAR MORE LIKELY TO INCREASE ITS FREQUENCY AND INTENSITY THAN WE ARE TO 'NIP IT IN THE BUD'." (pg5, The Power of Positive Parenting.)

"Creating a happy mood in the home is our responsibility as parents.  By first controlling our own behaviors, then by effectively applying selected skills, we can have a remarkable effect on improving the quality of life." (p.369, The Power of Positive Parenting.)


I believe these are true principles in parenting and in all relationships.
We will SEE what we are looking for.
If we LOOK for the bad in others, we will find it.
WE ALL HAVE BAD.
But, if we LOOK for the GOOD-- we will find that too!
You can always find what you are looking for.

I've told you before, one of my favorite quotes by President Brigham Young.
"Were I a woman possessed of great powers of mind, filled with wisdom, and, upon the whole, a magnanimous woman, and had been privileged with my choice, and had married a man, and found myself DECEIVED, he not answering my expectations, and I being sorry that I had made such a choice.  Let me show my wisdom BY NOT COMPLAINING about it.  A woman’s wisdom and judgment has failed her once in the choice of a husband, and it may again, if she is not very careful.  By seeking to cast off her husband—by withdrawing her confidence and good will from him, she casts a dark shade upon his path, when by pursuing a proper course of love, obedience, and encouragement, he might attain to that perfection she had anticipated in him."

We live in a society that is CRASS and CRUDE.
Respect and honor are old fashioned values that are hard to learn and hard to teach.
I was not raised in a home where these principles were taught, but i have a feeling that my grandparents were.
I imagine that not too many generations back, these were virtues that were held to with great esteem.

I want to learn to be more respectful.
I want to learn to honor my husband.
I want to teach my children to respect authority.
There is much good in society today.
Children are smart and think for themselves-- I like that.
But, I WANT honor and respect.
My soul HURTS when others are harsh with me and when i am harsh with others, i see the pain in their eyes.
It makes me sick.

The HONEST truth is... when i am the CRANKIEST, it has NOTHING to do with anyone else-- it has to do with ME.
I am tired.
I am feeling overwhelmed.
I have been lazy all day and regret my choices.
When I feel the lowest, I tend to find fault in others.
I blame them for my mood.
When i waste time at night and don't get my kids in bed soon enough, I yell at them to stop fooling around and LISTEN FOR ONCE.
I HEAR myself yelling at them to TALK NICELY to me when i am obviously NOT modeling that desired behavior.
This is a common principle.
We often ACCUSE others of doing exactly what WE FEEL we should be doing.
We throw stones at them for OUR sins.
My aunt said she catches herself doing this all the time.  She'll have the thought "Get up and let the dog out."  And then, it will be followed by the thought, "My husband never lets the dog out... he should be doing it."
Ha!!
i don't do this consciously... much of the time i don't even know why I am upset.
how much better it is, when i come to my husband at the end of the day and ask him for help.
when i ask him to just LISTEN to me and i pour out my worries and problems.
i don't need to BLAME him... i can just use his strength... find PEACE and UNITY instead of bitterness and contention.

In a talk, "Slow to Anger," by President Gordon B. Hinckley, he said, "I think of my own marriage. My eternal companion passed away three and a half years ago. But we lived together for 67 years. I have no recollection of ever having a quarrel with her. She traveled with me and spoke on every continent, pleading for the exercise of restraint, kindness, and love."

I BELIEVE THIS IS POSSIBLE.
even for an Italian like me.

honestly, although i use myself often as a bad example, this is an area where i have learned so much.
we are ALMOST there.
compared to where we started-- we are doing GREAT.
i believe there will come a day when Todd and I NEVER QUARREL... never.
he is my best friend, my closest ally and my dearest love.
he loves me better than anyone in the world and i love him.
we are friends and helpmeets.
i want to learn to communicate with honor and respect!!
i know that Heaven will help me with this goal.

And, I have used my relationship with my husband as an example--
but this principle applies to EVERY ONE of your relationships.
I have found it easily applied to my relationship with my in-laws.
When i was looking for PROOF that they didn't like me or accept me, I found it.
when i stopped that.
when i just plain CHOSE to believe that they loved me, i began to see PROOF that was true.
I began to FEEL their love and SEE the good.
faultfinding leads to fault seeing.
it leads to a distorted reality.
and perhaps looking for good ALSO leads to a distorted reality.
but at least it is a reality that i would WANT to see.
i want to see people as better than they are.  i WANT to see their goodness magnified.
perhaps i wouldn't mind a charecature of my with a heaving bosom.
ha!!  i imagine that is what i love most about my husband...
he sees the best in my... he calls me his angel in the rocks.
he says there are parts of me that are not finished yet... but there are parts that are stunning.
i want him to see my good and my potential.  I want to see the good in others.

The other day I read many inspirational talks on faultfinding...
If you want to read them, i will link to them below.

Slow to Anger, President Gordon B. Hinckley, October 2007


President George Q. Cannon (1827–1901) knew President Brigham Young (1801–77) well, working closely with him for many years, both as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and as his counselor in the First Presidency. After the death of President Young, President Cannon wrote in his journal: “I never criticized or found fault with [Brigham Young’s] conduct, his counsel or his teachings at any time in my heart, much less in my words or actions. This is a pleasure to me now. The thought that ever was with me was: If I criticize or find fault with, or judge Brother Brigham, how far shall I go; if I commence, where shall I stop? I dared not to trust myself in such a course. I knew that apostasy frequently resulted from the indulgence of the spirit of criticizing and faultfinding. Others, of greater strength, wisdom and experience than myself, might do many things and escape evil consequences which I dare not do.”

We have a choice. We can seek for the bad in others. Or we can make peace and work to extend to others the understanding, fairness, and forgiveness we so desperately desire for ourselves. It is our choice; for whatever we seek, that we will certainly find.

Each a Better Person, President Gordon B. Hinckley, October 2002
Faultfinding replaces praise. When we look for the worst in anyone, we will find it. But if we will concentrate on the best, that element will grow until it sparkles.

Brethren, be loyal to your companion. May your marriage be blessed with an uncompromising loyalty one to another. Find your happiness with one another. Give your companion the opportunity to grow in her own interests, to develop her own talents, to fly in her own way, and to experience her own sense of accomplishment.

Seeking Eternal Riches, President Spencer W. Kimball, April 1976
We agree with Pestalozzi:

“Our home joys are the most delightful earth affords, and the joy of parents in their children is the most holy joy of humanity. It makes their hearts pure and good, it lifts them up to their Father in Heaven.”

You and I well understand that this great, superior joy lies well within the realm of every set of parents, if they have properly performed their marriage and their family responsibilities and if high ideals of marriage and family life have prevailed.

Slander, backbiting, evil speaking, faultfinding are all destructive termites that destroy the home. Quarreling and swearing are also evils that sometimes affect the home.

To highlight the mistakes and gloss over the greater good is to draw a caricature. Caricatures are amusing, but they are often ugly and dishonest. A man may have a blemish on his cheek and still have a face of beauty and strength, but if the blemish is emphasized unduly in relation to his other features, the portrait is lacking in integrity. 
“What I am suggesting is that each of us turn from the negativism that so permeates our society and look for the remarkable good among those with whom we associate, that we speak of one another’s virtues more than we speak of one another’s faults.” (Ensign, Apr. 1986, pp. 3–4.)

Does this counsel to avoid faultfinding and personal criticism apply only to statements that are false? Doesn’t it also apply to statements that are true? ... the fact that something is true is not always a justification for communicating it.

there is “a time to speak,” and there is also “a time to keep silence.” (Eccl. 3:7.)

Truth surely exists as an absolute, but our use of truth should be disciplined by other values. For example, it is wrong to make statements of fact out of an evil motive, even if the statements are true. It is wrong to threaten to reveal embarrassing facts unless money is paid, even if the facts are true. We call that crime blackmail. Doctors, lawyers, and other professionals are forbidden to reveal facts they have received in confidence, even though those facts are true.

Just as the principle of justice must be constrained by the principle of mercy (see Alma 42), so must the use of truth be disciplined by the principle of love. As Paul instructed the Ephesians, we “grow up into” Christ by “speaking the truth in love.” (See Eph. 4:15.)

In a message titled “Truth—and More,” Elder Russell M. Nelson contrasted the single-minded surgeon who coldly announces the truth about a terminal illness with the compassionate surgeon who mingles that message with assurances of love and support that help the patient and his family handle the truth. Truth is powerful and absolute in its existence, but its communication should usually be guided by companion principles. “Otherwise,” Elder Nelson observed, “the sword of truth, cutting and sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, might not be governed by righteousness or by mercy, but might be misused carelessly to embarrass, debase, or deceive others. … Indeed, in some instances, the merciful companion to truth is silence. Some truths are best left unsaid.” (Ensign, Jan. 1986, pp. 70–71.)

One who focuses on faults, though they be true, tears down a brother or a sister. The virtues of patience, brotherly kindness, mutual respect, loyalty, and good manners all rest to some degree on the principle that even though something is true, we are not necessarily justified in communicating it to any and all persons at any and all times.
The use of truth should also be constrained by the principle of unity. One who focuses on faults, though they be true, fosters dissensions and divisions among fellow Church members in the body of Christ. The Savior taught: “The spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, [who] stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.” (3 Ne. 11:29.) Paul taught the Romans: “Mark them which cause divisions … and avoid them.” (Rom. 16:17.) In this dispensation, the Lord commanded that “Every man [should] esteem his brother as himself,” and declared that “If ye are not one ye are not mine.” (D&C 38:25, 27.)

“‘When we say anything bad about the leaders of the Church, whether true or false, we tend to impair their influence and their usefulness and are thus working against the Lord and his cause.’ (In Conference Report, Apr. 1947, p. 24.)” (Address to Church Educational System teachers, Aug. 16, 1985.)

“Better stop murmuring and build. Remember that one of the worst means of tearing down an individual is slander. It is one of the most poisonous weapons that the evil one uses. Backbiting and evil speaking throw us into the class of malefactors rather than the class of benefactors.” (Gospel Ideals, Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1953, pp. 142–43.)

Whether the criticism is true or not, as Elder George F. Richards explained, it tends to impair the leaders’ influence and usefulness, thus working against the Lord and his cause. (In Conference Report, Apr. 1947, p. 24, quoted above.)

Our Father in Heaven has not compelled us to think the same way on every subject or procedure. As we seek to accomplish our life’s purposes, we will inevitably have differences with those around us—including some of those we sustain as our leaders. The question is not whether we have such differences, but how we manage them. What the Lord has said on another subject is also true of the management of differences with his leaders: “It must needs be done in mine own way.” (D&C 104:16.) We should conduct ourselves in such a way that our thoughts and actions do not cause us to lose the companionship of the Spirit of the Lord.

Distorted Perception
Faultfinding distorts our perception in a number of ways. First, we inaccurately see ourselves as superior. When we become preoccupied with the weaknesses of others, our attention is distracted from our own faults. We develop a kind of spiritual farsightedness, focusing our vision on faults of others, and our spiritual eyes may begin to play tricks on us as we see right through things that are much closer—our own faults.

Matthew 7:3 [Matt. 7:3] describes this curious condition: “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

Our own imperfections fade from our notice as we watch the sins of others paraded before us. Then, following condemnation of the designated villain, we see no need to work on our own imperfections that seem to have diminished into insignificance.

Should you feel inclined to censure
Faults you may in others view,
Ask your own heart, ere you venture,
If you have not failings, too.
(Hymns, no. 235)

Stalled Progress
The second hazard of faultfinding is that our personal and spiritual progress are stalled. This earth life is a time for us to prepare ourselves to meet God (see Alma 34:32), and focusing on the faults of others distracts us from that task. In other words, the danger in the practice of judging others unrighteously lies not only in what it keeps us from seeing—our own faults—but also in what it keeps us from doing—working to correct those faults.

Cannot Receive Mercy
Finally, when we are harsh in our judgment of others, we are not able to receive compassion and mercy ourselves.
One of my earliest childhood memories is of my father, who was a blessed peacemaker, settling disputes in our family by using a Samoan saying he had learned on his mission in the South Seas a few years before. “E eseese pato,” he would say, which meant literally, “Ducks are different”—or in other words, “Each of us is unique; be tolerant. People are different, but that’s not necessarily bad.”

President Gordon B. Hinckley recently commented on a problem that is related to the principle my father taught. He said: “We live in a society that feeds on criticism. Faultfinding is the substance of columnists and commentators, and there is too much of this among our own people. It is so easy to find fault, and to resist doing so requires much discipline. … The enemy of truth would divide us and cultivate within us attitudes of criticism which, if permitted to prevail, will only deter us in the pursuit of our great divinely given goal. We cannot afford to permit it to happen.” (Ensign, May 1982, p. 46.)

To accept and love others, we do not have to adopt their ideas or be condescending. When others differ from us in these essential matters, we must learn to see with eyes that separate people from their traditions and sins. Good people can have mistaken beliefs.

Moreover, having truth in our possession, knowing righteous and true principles, doesn’t automatically make a Latter-day Saint better or more righteous than others. It could have that effect—but it is living what we know, not knowing alone, that is really important. Joseph Smith taught us: “All the religious world is boasting of righteousness: It is the doctrine of the devil to retard the human mind, and hinder our progress, by filling us with self-righteousness. The nearer we get to our Heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our backs. … If you would have God have mercy on you, have mercy on one another.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977, p. 241.)

The gospel teaches us not to condemn our brothers and sisters for their weaknesses and sins, but to show them by our lives how it is possible to escape sin through learning and living the truth. 

 “The nearer we get to our Heavenly Father, the more we are disposed to look with compassion on perishing souls; we feel that we want to take them upon our shoulders, and cast their sins behind our backs.”
this is not "real"...
look at it long enough and you might begin to believe it was.
i want to learn to do this better.
i want to LOVE more.
to speak kindly.
to cast the sins of others behind my back.
to honor and respect.
this is good and right and POSSIBLE!!
i know it.
perhaps i prefer the glamour shots!!  ha!!

4 comments:

Tawnie said...

Can I tell you? You put my life into words. I don't leave comments on blogs often but I am amazed every single day when I read what you have to say. It really is bizarre. The way I grew up, the way I feel, the way I know that nobody likes me. You TRULY hit the spot again. You did yesterday and the day before too. In fact, after reading your last two posts, they were included in the posts on my blog. I've been emotional this week and have talked a lot to my husband. He agrees that Heavenly Father is trying to get me to understand some things and what you have been posting has been exactly what I've needed and relates to things I am dealing with. Really. It's weird. So thank you.
This phrase REALLY stood out to me. That's me. And I drive myself crazy with it...."I love deeply and hurt deeply."
Can we get together?! :)

Tawnie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jenifer said...

thanks tawnie!! i have a feeling that we are not alone-- i think EVERYONE is on this same path. perfection is a process. So grateful that we can learn from each other and that there are those ahead of us on our path that can shout encouragement.

not only is this life about learning and growing and becoming... IT IS POSSIBLE!!
glad we can hike together!

CTR Mama said...

What a great reminder! I love Latham's books, too. I just don't always remember to practice what I've learned. We have had quite a struggle this summer finding tv shows where the characters aren't constantly verbally attacking each other. My daughter would try show after show and I'd say, "Nope! I don't like the way they're talking to each other!" Very frustrating. I finally bought her a season of The Brady Bunch. There are some other things to talk about there, but at least there is love and respect among the family members and respect for parents. I have also found that speaking my mind is not the fastest way to peace in my home. Most of it just needs to be let go. I certainly don't want anyone constantly pointing out all of my bad choices and weaknesses! When I try to show everyone how much I love them instead of how much they are annoying me, things really are so much better :>). Thanks for the message.

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