January 11, 2017

Gossip.  For years it has been considered salacious and the stuff of idle housewives. Studies out of the University of California, Berkeley, however, are questioning that opinion.

I personally think that a good gossip session is okay once in a while. It can be a release to share a story with a friend (or two) and voice an opinion.

Sometime gossip can be helpful. I was recently at a lunch with some friends and the gossip that came up was about two people that we all knew. As it turns out it wasnt gossip, it was, in fact true.  Had I not brought it up, I would never have know and could have put myself in very uncomfortable situation.

Okay, maybe not a great example…..but you could see my point?

Gossip is a fact of life. Everybody does it whether they admit it or not. So why not just admit it and enjoy it. According to the study done at U of C, Berkeley when people observe somebody behaving in an immoral way it caused frustration. Being able to share that information helped them feel better.

So go ahead and have a good gossip. It will do you good.

January 23, 2017

How much of life is smoke and mirrors?

Over the last few days it seems that a lot of what has been going on in the media is just that. People saying and doing things to make you think one thing while they are actually going to do another.

Today my daughter tried to convince me that she was too sick to stay at school. We’ve all had that call. Tiny voice in the end of the line asking to come home *cough cough*.

“Okay I’ll come and pick you up but that means you won’t be going to dance this afternoon.”

Miraculously she overcame and decided that she could tough it it for the hour and a half left in the school day. Smoke and mirrors?

While I am by no means comparing my daughter to a certain politician…..okay, maybe I am.  Maybe that’s the problem.  Maybe nobody ever called him on his smoke and mirrors as a child.  Maybe somebody should have.

The Best Thing in Life is solving the days issues in 150 words.

Being Judgemental

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I saw this on a friend’s Facebook page this week and at first I thought it was cute. But then I really started to think about it and it made me a bit sad. It made me sad because it’s so true of me and how I irrationally dismiss people that I maybe don’t click with. I’ve mentioned in past posts that I can be a bit judgy, and I totally own that, but really, it’s probably not a great thing to admit. Is it?

The definition of judgement is the evaluation of evidence to make a decision.

The problem is that whole “evidence” thing. For me, the evidence is my own opinion and that isn’t always based on fact. I like to think that I’m a good judge of character but the reality is that there is most likely a whole lot that I don’t know about people and their circumstances before I judge them. I remember listening to a customer service seminar when I worked for Starbucks. They talked about how you shouldn’t rush to judge a customer as being rude because you never know what is going on in their life. Maybe their child is sick and they have been up all night looking after them. Maybe they themselves are sick. You just don’t know. Yet, we all do it. Don’t we? Is it really just me?

Take for example right now. I am sitting in the viewing area at my daughters gymnastics club as I type this. There are two women sitting beside me discussing what a poor job the interior designer did on one of their Whistler condos. A. You have a condo in Whistler. B. You have an interior designer. C. Your son is running around pushing other kids and leaving a trail of organic corn chips while you discuss this. Consider yourself judged.

Judgement, I’m guessing, has been around forever and a day. “Judge not, lest ye be judged” had to have come about because people way back then were judging right? And there’s the whole Scarlet Letter thing. I would have a huge J for judge on my chest if I had live back then. And then there’s the witches. Poor misjudged witches.
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My problem is compounded by the fact that if I don’t like you, make no mistake, you will know about it. I can’t smile and make small talk with somebody that I don’t care for. No matter how hard I try. This has included (but is not limited to) co-workers, the lady at the wine store, sports teammates and random people in the school parking lot. If I could just judge people quietly in my head it might be different. Unfortunately though, I can’t, and I have been know to shoot a stink eye at those that say……park in the yellow zone. Just sayin’.

I like to think that I don’t let my judgmental nature be seen by my seven year old daughter. Okay, it’s probably slipped out a few times when I refer to the nice person in the car in front of me as incompetent for not being able to navigate a parking stall in less than six tries. Did I mention that I’m also not very patient? I don’t want her to be judgmental.

You see, being judgmental means that you, in turn, must assume that everybody else is judging you the way that you are judging them. And that creates insecurity. And that is bad.

I guess in a round about way I’m trying to say that I need to work on this aspect of my personality. Not only for my daughters sake but for mine. Oh, and for the unfortunate people who I don’t care for. LOL. The Best Thing in Life is being able to laugh at yourself.

Being Kind

As she parked in the parking lot the nerves started to grow. She hadn’t seen some of these people in years. Would they even know who she was? Would she recognize anybody? The receptionist directed her upstairs to the banquet rooms. She made a quick stop in the bathroom to check her hair and makeup. Did she really need to impress anybody? She was happily married with two great kids and a loving husband. Old habits die hard she told herself. When she finally made her way to the room where her twentieth high school reunion was being held, her nerves seemed to disappear and all she felt was excitement.

At the door to the banquet room there was a table covered in name tags and a dark haired woman was bent over putting them in order. She looked up suddenly and squealed. “Oh my god it’s so great to see you. How are you? You look great. Here, I have your name tag. Wow, it’s been so long but you look just the same. I would know that smile anywhere.” As the greeter rattled on she thought “She has no idea who I am.” You could have knocked her over with a feather. She stood before the table smiling and nodding and remembering. The greeter looked just the same too. She would never forget her. Not after that day so many years ago.

It was grade five and she was in Mr. McBride’s class at West Bay Elementary School. She had been outside at lunch playing dodge ball in the courtyard with a bunch of other kids. A silly school yard game but hey, she was in grade five and that’s what they did at lunch time. When the bell rang she ran up the stairs past the library and janitors room to her classroom. As she entered the room she saw one of her girlfriends and said hi. Her friend looked at her, but then quickly looked away and whispered something to the girl beside her. That’s a bit weird, she thought and took her seat. During the rest of the afternoon she caught them whispering a few more times. She even noticed them whispering to another friend as they came back from art class. Hm, wonder what’s up? She thought.

The afternoon dragged on forever but when the bell finally rang she grabbed her bag and coat and headed for the door. “Forgetting something?” Darn, she had forgotten that Mr. McBride had asked her to stay and go over her multiplication tables. She really needed to know what was going in with her friends so she told a small lie and said that she forgot she had piano that day. “Okay, but tomorrow for sure?” Sure, she said, and turned away quickly, feeling guilty. She burst out the door and ran straight into a group of her friends. “Hey, what’s up? What is everybody whispering about?” They all turned to look at her but only one person spoke. “You. We’re talking about you.” The dark haired girl said. Me, why would they be talking about me she wondered? “We’re all really sick of how immature you are. We saw you today on the playground jumping around like a preschooler. What is wrong with you?”

She looked around at the group of fourth grade girls now surrounding her. Some of them looked away, some of them looked at the girl speaking and some looked back at her blankly. Acting immature? She had been playing dodgeball? She stammered trying to find the words to explain what she had done. What she had done? She hadn’t DONE anything. What was going on? She looked at each of them for some kind of explanation. Her face was suddenly hot and her hands were shaking. She turned away and ran towards the bathrooms. She stayed in one of the stalls for what seemed like hours. When she finally ventured out the halls were quiet and empty. She walked home that day feeling hurt, embarrassed and confused.

It was all flooding back as she stood there at the entrance to the banquet room. It was years ago, but at this moment it seemed like just yesterday. The greeter apparently didn’t remember, as she had already moved on to the next person coming down the hall. It hadn’t happened again after that day but she would never forget the hurtful words directed at her. The embarrassment of being singled out and that the dark haired girl had, for that moment, turned her friends against her. She would never know why and it truly didn’t matter. The damage was done with just a few words in only a matter of moments. As she stepped into the room full of her school friends she reminded herself that The Best Thing in Life is to teach your kids to be kind.

Honesty

“Honesty refers to a facet of moral character and connotes positive and virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, and straightforwardness, including straightforwardness of conduct, along with the absence of lying, cheating, theft, etc. Furthermore, honesty means being trustworthy, loyal, fair, and sincere. Honesty is valued in many ethnic and religious cultures. “Honesty is the best policy” is a proverb of Benjamin Franklin and the quote “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom” is attributed to Thomas Jefferson.”

I value honesty above pretty much every other personal trait, so when I am faced with a loved one being dishonest I tend to get a bit crazy. I’ve been in relationships based on lies and filled with lies. No happiness can come from a relationship like that. The truth hurts. Yes, it does, but that is not an excuse for doing it. And, might I add, it is never okay to blame a lie on somebody else’s actions. As in, I lied because I knew the truth would hurt you. (Lamest excuse ever.) Lying is never the answer. Some people say that they lie to avoid confrontation, but the reality is that the truth always come out and by that time the original confrontation has been compounded by the lie. So why not just fess up? Fear? Most likely. That minuscule chance that the truth won’t come out and you can actually get away with it? Bit of a crap shoot really, but some are willing to take that chance.

Right, so now I will come down off my high horse and admit that this has become a hard post to write because, as nutty as I am about being honest, I can’t say that I have always been 100% honest with everybody in my life. So, am I a hypocrite? What have I lied about? Say I am faced with not wanting to do something, I have been known to make up an excuse why I can’t do it. “Sorry I can’t make it to your party but I have other plans”. My other plans involve a glass of wine, pajamas and a book. A white lie some would say. Is there a difference? Is there a line that separates little lies from big lies? Or are all lies just that. Lies. Is it better to be a bit dishonest in order to be politically correct? “Yes, that style of dress looks great on you.” Or are you just as guilty as the guy who lies on his tax return?

Have you ever seen the Jim Carey movie, Liar Liar. A man is cursed by a wish from his son so that he can not tell a lie. A funny premise, but could it actually work in real life? Being honest (I prefer to call it being authentic) has certainly gotten me in trouble in the past. I don’t always sugar coat things. If I don’t like you or something you have said I’m typically going to let you know. I’m also not going to pretend that everything is okay when it’s not. If something is bugging me, you will know. Do I worry about hurting people’s feelings? Sure, and I’m pretty sure I have probably done that in the past. Would it be better to not tell them what I think? Is that different from telling an outright lie?

So, having completely talked myself in a circle the question remains unanswered. Is it ever okay to be dishonest? The Best Thing in Life is being truthful in admitting that life is hard to navigate sometimes and knowing what is right and what is wrong isn’t always clear.