Forever Friends  A story of self-determination and a lost friendship

Forever Friends A story of self-determination and a lost friendship

Forever Friends:  A story of self-determination and a lost friendship

 Emily refused to let Ella make her own decisions… 

..And it cost them both the friendship.

 

 Short Story:

 

Ella the Elephant fell in love with Mason the monkey. She knew it was an unconventional union. But she was beaming because they were so madly in love. 

 

Ella was absolutely over the moon due to her newfound love. So, of course, she had to tell her best friend, Emily! 

 

While the two ladies were bathing in the sun, Ella found it difficult to contain her excitement and exclaimed, “I’m in love with Mason!” 

 

Immediately, Emily stood up and screamed, “What? Mason? He’s a monkey; you can’t love a monkey! I don’t think this is a good idea.” 

 

Ella was incredibly offended. Trying to remain polite, she sheepishly replied, “Emily, I know we’re best friends. But I feel it’s out of line for you to say something like that to me.” 

 

At this point, Emily was flailing around in a frantic rage, “Out of line? You’re  my best friend. This monkey is bad news. This love is unacceptable to our kind!” 

 

Ella was growing tired of Emily’s judgmental behavior. 

 

Before she could say anything, Emily walked up to her and dramatically demanded, “Well, if you’re going to be with him, I refuse to be your best friend. I will not tarnish my name by associating with a monkey lover. It’s either him or me!” 

 

Ella was at a loss for words and too shocked to give a reaction. She simply got up and gave Emily a shameful gaze as she walked away. 

 

 

 

MORAL:  If you love your friend, accept them for who they are, even if you disagree with some of their decisions.

 

 

 

Personal reflection.

 

Emily felt a sense of entitlement. She felt she had the right to dictate Ella’s decisions simply because she was her best friend. But Ella effectively reminded her that she is free to live her own life as she sees best. 

 

It’s tough to know how far to take your concern when dealing with close friends. 

 

You may feel like you have to be the guard dog of your loved ones. But your vow to keep them safe can be misconstrued as obsessive and controlling behavior. 

 

If you have nothing nice to say, it’s best to say nothing at all. 

 

No matter how loud you scream or how hard you stomp in order to get your way, you are in no position to be the authority figure in your friend’s life. 

 

It’s vital to maintaining healthy friendships that you know where to draw the line between concern and judgment. 

 

Once you learn to express your concern while keeping a mindset that your advice may go unused, your friendships will strengthen tenfold.

 

Self-Reflection Questions:

 

  1. Do I expect my friends to follow my lead in all situations?
  2. How can I tactfully express my concern without sounding demanding?
  3. Do I express possessive behavior over my loved ones?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Party The story of a conflict resolution gone good.

The Party The story of a conflict resolution gone good.

The Party The story of a conflict resolution gone good.

Bill and Jane had competing priorities. 

For one to be happy, the other would have to give-in, but there had to be another way…

The Story

Bill and Jane were having an argument while waiting for their mom to come back from the store.

Bill wanted to go eat. He had been playing soccer all afternoon and was hungry. Jane was dying to go to the beach. She had a new swimsuit she wanted to try out.

“I want to go swimming,” Jane said. “This is the first day all week that the weather has been nice.”

“But I’m starving! Can’t we go to the beach later?”

“No way! We only have a couple of hours till the sun sets!” Jane exclaimed, hoping to get a bit of a tan before the day was over.

They went on arguing like this until their mom came in carrying several grocery bags.

“Hey guys!” she said. “What’s wrong?”

“I’m starving!” Bill said loudly. “But she’s trying to drag me to the beach!”

“We can go eat later!” retorted Jane. “It’s a great day for swimming!”

“Wait a second,” their mother replied. “You can do both! Our neighbors are having a pool party today, and there’ll be plenty of food. They’re new in town and would love to meet you two.”

Bill and Jane loved the idea! Thanks to their mom, they both got what they wanted.

 

Personal Reflection.

Who says you can’t get what you want? When resolving conflicts, a good solution doesn’t have to mean that no one gets exactly what they asked for.

It may simply be that the ultimate solution is hidden at first. But once everyone brings out their ideas, you may discover the perfect solution for all.

No one person has all the facts. Collaboration brings together the best ideas from everyone, and then creates a synergy that may produce an even better idea than anyone imagined.

Bill and Jane were limited by what they knew. As they saw it, they had only two options, and clearly either option required the sacrifice of one of the parties involved. There was no way for both of them to be happy with the solution. Or so they thought! 

When they added their mom to the equation, she brought not only another point of view, but also additional knowledge. Because she knew something they didn’t, she was able to propose a solution that worked for everyone.

Bill and Jane could never have come up with the perfect solution on their own because they were too stubborn with their demands.

Do we ever get so attached to our ideas that we don’t allow others to come in and address an issue in a new way?

 The medical profession, schools and courts have all found that, by bringing in people with a variety of knowledge and ideas, they create collaborations that produce solutions that work.

 Their resulting solution would never have been dreamed up by any single individual. It often takes group collaboration and all the expertise to think in new ways and chart a new course.

 Be willing to collaborate and you may find that the best solutions are in the group, not in yourself.

 

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1.  Am I open to learning from others?
  2. When others have ideas, do I listen and see what I can add to them?
  3. Is there an area in my life where collaborating with others may help me find a better solution?

 

 

The Circle of Life

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In The Dark

In The Dark

In The Dark

The story of a man who only saw darkness

The moment Gary tippy-toed outside of his home, he just knew it was going to be a terrible day.  But Gary found out something surprising and rather embarrassing…

Gary stepped outside and knew at once that it was going to be one of those terrible days.  Everything was dark and gloomy, like a thunderstorm was only moments away. But it was strange – the weather reporter had said the day would be sunny.  

Gary continued on to his favorite coffee shop.  Inside the coffee shop, the lights were dim, as if some bulbs had burned out.  He thought, “What kind of lousy restaurant doesn’t change the light bulbs when they go out?”   

Gary sat down and looked at the menu, but the dim lighting was making him more and more depressed.  When the waitress came by to take his order, Gary ordered his food, but he stopped her as she started walking back to the kitchen.

“Why don’t you guys fix some of these light bulbs? It’s so dark in here.  Do you think your customers like to eat in the dark?” Gary, whose mood had gotten progressively worse since he left the house, spoke angrily and a little too loudly.

“But sir,” the waitress said, looking confused, “No bulbs are burned out here.  You’re wearing sunglasses.”

Gary pulled his glasses off.  It was true! He had grabbed the wrong pair of glasses out of his dresser drawer.   He apologized to her and made sure to leave a big tip.

MORAL:  When searching for the source of your unhappiness, look first to yourself.

What an eye opener! Isn’t it true that the fault we find in the world around us can often be traced back to what’s inside ourselves? It’s so easy to project our problems onto others when taking ownership of the issues would actually help us solve them much more quickly.

How often do we try to make a spouse or a roommate change behaviors, to no avail? We all know we can’t change others! We can encourage and persuade, but we can’t make people do anything we wish.

Knowing this truth, we ought to be able to see how counterproductive it is to get irritated by things going on around us. We automatically think those problems are someone else’s responsibility when we already have the power to stop the irritation!

Just like Gary in the story, when we think problems belong to someone else, we spend a lot of time grumbling and complaining that those people won’t fix their issues. We go around in a rotten mood and make things miserable for those around us.

Now contrast that unhappy picture with someone who takes responsibility for his own unhappiness. “Am I a part of the problem or the solution?” a wise person might ask. When things aren’t going well, the key is to stop and think about your attitudes and actions.

Blaming others keeps us from finding solutions to the root cause of the issue. Taking responsibility and examining our weaknesses, mistakes or contributions to the problem allow us to take positive action toward improvements.

Self-reflection lets us take off the sunglasses and put on the clear lenses. Maybe there are still a few bulbs in the restaurant that need to be changed, but at that point, we’ve done everything we can to improve the situation on our own.

Sometimes we can do a whole lot to improve a situation, and sometimes not so much. But taking ownership and moving forward always makes us happier than blaming others and waiting for them to change. Blaming others is automatically a recipe for frustration!

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. Are there issues in my life where I’m blaming others for things not going well?
  2. What am I doing that may be contributing to the problem?
  3. Is my perspective causing my own unhappiness?

 

The Circle of Life

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The Non-Stop  Nightingale Fable

The Non-Stop Nightingale Fable

A story about the importance of self-care to offering care for others.

Joey the nightingale took pride in his nighttime vocal routine. The minute it turned to dusk, he started belting out one beautiful chorus after another.

He continued on into the night. Then, one day, his practice unexpectedly turned him into a hero…

Each night, Joey’s mom would always say to him, “Joey, it’s time to come in, dear. You’ve done enough vocal practice for today.”

But Joey knew that the time he spent creating his beautiful songs would pay off one day.

No sooner than having that thought did an opportunity pop up for Joey. He was about to start singing one night when he heard a faint cry, “Help me! Help me!”

When he looked down, he saw that his neighbor’s newborn nightingale had fallen out of the nest and into the bushes below. And just to the right, there was a stray cat trying to reach for the hatchling to gobble him up.

Joey thought to himself, “Oh, I must help that poor hatchling! I wouldn’t be able to chase away that cat on my own, but I can definitely sound the alarm for help!”

And with that, Joey released his loudest and most piercing alarm call that traveled throughout the neighborhood. In no time, a watch of nightingales came out of nowhere, swooped down on the unsuspecting cat, and chased him away.

The hatchling’s mom quickly picked him up and carried him back to safety.

“Oh, I can’t thank you enough for saving my precious baby, Joey!” she said, and Joey beamed with pride knowing that his vocal practice paid off.

Moral: Taking care of yourself first puts you in a better position to take care of others.

Joey was a special nightingale. While all his friends and family members spent time each evening belting out beautiful sounds, he always took it a step further. When everyone retired for the night, Joey continued to sing.

He knew that he had a gift that was his responsibility to take care of. He also knew that in taking care of himself, he would be better able to take care of others.

Taking the time to take care of yourself sometimes seems like a waste of time, especially when you’re feeling okay. It’s easy to think that you’re at your best when there aren’t any physical signs that say otherwise.

But consistent self-care is required for you to be able to handle unexpected situations where someone is counting on your help.

It’s usually in those times that you realize that you’re less prepared than you thought to take care of someone when they call out to you. That is why it’s important to provide yourself with constant renewal.

Ensuring that you are healthy and rested enables you to take care of others. It means taking time to just enjoy life instead of working all the time.

Making yourself ready to take care of others also means working on your craft so you are able to continue earning a salary and achieving success. That preparation allows you to save the day when you least expect it.

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. Which activities do I take part in to ensure that my mind is relaxed?
  2. How important is quality time with my friends?
  3. Which of my skills deserve more attention to ensure that they remain sharp?

 

The Circle of Life

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The Wise Young Owl Fable:  A story about the importance  of being vigilant.

The Wise Young Owl Fable: A story about the importance of being vigilant.

As a kid, Oscar the owl spent much of his time hanging out with older owls observing how they did things.

He gained a lot of wisdom that way. One day, his vigilance came in handy when he needed to take quick action to save his family…

“You’re so boring, Oscar!” his best friend Lester commented one day. “Why don’t you come and fly around with us?”

But Oscar never took his friends’ criticisms to heart. He knew that pretty soon, he’d be old enough to have to rely on the wisdom he’d been gaining from the old folks. His favorite lesson was how to keep watch at night for predators.

While everyone was relaxing at home one night, he went to meet the senior owls who were on nightwatch. “I want to learn as much from you guys as I can,” said Oscar. “Pretty soon, I’ll be the one in charge of protecting my family.”

He had a good night of observation training with the senior owls and was on his way home when he noticed that something wasn’t right. He put his lessons in vigilance to use and identified a cat lurking in the shadows of his family’s home.

Without a second thought, Oscar released a loud alarm call that got the attention of the senior owls on duty.

“Sounds like the alarm is coming from near Oscar’s home,” announced one of the owls. And with that, they rushed to the location and scared the cat away.

“That was quick thinking, Oscar,” remarked one of the senior owls. “You bravely put your training to good use and protected your family from danger.”

Oscar felt proud that his lessons in vigilance paid off.

Moral: When wisdom guides your actions, it is easy to sense when danger is near.

Personal Reflection:

There was a lot that Oscar liked about being a kid. But something told him that there was value in gaining wisdom from senior owls in the community. He believed that sooner or later, he would have to call on the lessons learned.

As he sensed, a potentially dangerous situation arose involving his family, and he used what he learned to keep them out of harm’s way.

Like Oscar, it isn’t always easy to tell when quick thinking is required. Sure it’s nice to have carefree days, but preparation for the unexpected is also important.

Wisdom comes from various sources that you encounter each day. From parents’ advice to experiences you have on the train, there are always lessons from which to develop your own wisdom.

One wise piece of advice is to remain vigilant at all times, even when you feel comfortable in your environment.

When things are going smoothly, it’s easy to let down your guard and openly trust what’s around you. But sometimes danger lurks where you least expect it. Keeping in touch with your instincts is the way to identify when something isn’t right.

Just like in the fable, the lessons you learn come in handy when you need them!

Just as you dedicate some of your time to enjoying your life, reserve some time for lessons in wisdom also. They’re there to guide you through those times when your instinct is needed to overcome a worrying challenge.

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. What are my primary sources of wisdom?
  2. What are some of the lessons I learn from spending time with older people?
  3. Am I to discern when someone means me harm? How?

 

The Circle of Life

Reveal the “big picture” of your true dreams – and pave the road for a real, personalized action plan

I am a Board Certified Life Coach, a Board Certified Health Coach,  and a teacher of Mindfulness Living who helps people unlock their potential and live life on Purpose

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