My Nana was quite possibly the classiest lady I ever had the privilege of knowing. To our family’s misfortune, she passed away at the young age of 53, when I was just 13 years old.
I remember how softly she always spoke, even if reprimanding someone. I remember, no matter how badly she felt, she always looked like a million dollars. I remember the silky feel of her hair on my cheek when I sat on her lap as she told me stories, and I remember the lilt in her voice and her infectious smile.
The one thing that always stuck with me was a specific visit when I was 12 years old, just a few short months before she passed away. I had saved my babysitting money to buy myself a tailored suit and nice shoes. At 12, I was enamored with the “business woman’s” look of long, tailored skirts and up-swept hair. I practiced for hours upon hours with my hair to get just the right look. I wanted so much for my Nana to think I was as classy as she was and so I wore my tailored skirt and vest and rolled my hair into a classic up do just to go visit her.
My uncle, who was only five years my senior, was flabbergasted that I did not look like a 12 year old girl when I walked into the house. He began deriding me for looking far too “mature” for my age and asked my mother what she was thinking allowing me to dress in such a manner. I started to become very upset and then my Nana stopped my uncle’s lecture by simply stating, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it!”
At first, I didn’t realize what my Nana was really saying. I had heard that term before, but usually in a manner that someone was showing off something they should be concealing.
My Nana went on to tell my uncle that I looked beautiful and had done a “mighty fine job” of dressing myself with class. I was just beaming that she thought I looked classy!
I realized then, that the term “If you’ve got it, flaunt it”, although often spoke in derision, simply meant that you should exploit your talents, your dreams and your individual creativity.
I am now two years younger than my Nana when she passed away. Most of my career was spent wearing tailored suits and fancy shoes. At one point, in my early twenties, I had an enormous walk-in closet full of tailored suits and over 200 pairs of fancy shoes. In fact, I usually bought the shoes first and then looked for outfits to match. Due to age and injuries, I can no longer wear those fancy shoes. Yet, I still keep a few pair that I just can’t seem to part with.
Some people would think me vain and narcissistic for collecting these suits and shoes, but to me it was all about being as classy as my Nana.
Now, I understand that class isn’t just about the clothes; it’s about your entire persona. Class is having respect for yourself and others. Class is showing love even when you’re feeling sick or in pain. Class is speaking softly and always looking for the good in people and the best in life.
I don’t think I’ll ever come close to being as classy as my Nana; but I’ll forever keep trying and I’ll forever remember her love and her class!
When I was a small child I didn’t mind being alone. I would play in my room all by myself and I was okay with that. I liked playing with my sisters, but somehow being alone was comforting to me. I often enjoyed solitude, but also enjoyed being with my family; especially family gatherings. I guess you could say I enjoyed the peace of being alone the most.
After some disturbing family events I found by my teen years that I was very angry and would often cause arguments, fights and just be downright disagreeable. I know some of that was merely teenage angst, but it was more than that.
As time went on, I would do my best to walk away from confrontation, but still found myself in the middle of it most of the time. I often said or did the exact opposite of whatever I was expected just to be obstinate for no particular reason.
There were times in my life where this behavior served my purpose, whatever that happened to be; or so I thought then. I remember being so out of control at one point with my anger that I was actually ordered to anger management classes. After being thrown out of anger management at least three times, I found someone to help me through my anger. The first three facilitators insisted I was just an angry person with no reasoning. Yes, I was angry, but I had plenty of reason and one reason grew upon the other as my life went on.
The last facilitator actually validated my anger. She told me I had every right to be angry at what had happened, but that I needed to learn to use that anger in a more productive manner. She also told me that anger is often a catalyst to achievement of a purpose. I really didn’t understand what that meant at the time, but I was to learn in a most profound way.
Another person was also instrumental in helping my anger and that was my step-dad, whom I did not have a good relationship with. Although we didn’t see eye-to-eye on most issues, something he said to me came back at me many years later. I was extremely angry at something (I really don’t remember what now) and he asked me why I would let someone else have such overpowering control of my emotions like that. He told me that I was the only one who could willingly control my emotions and should not give someone else that power.
It took me a few years to truly understand what both of those people meant. In my own experience and my studies of psychological articles on anger, I found the control I needed to set aside my intense anger that had grown since the untimely death of my younger sister when I was seven years old.
I’m not saying that I never get angry anymore, that would be completely false. Yes, I get angry, but now I do all I can to turn that anger into productive accomplishments. For example, I have experienced many deaths in my life of close family and friends. Therefore, I committed many years of my life as a funeral service professional to do all I could to help other families through a very difficult time because I understood their pain. I’ve also facilitated grief support groups for the same reasons.
Recently, after the death of my husband in the summer of 2015, I decided that I wanted to help people in their happy moments. My husband suffered miserably for years and in respect, everyone else in the family suffered along with him. The anger of what was happening overwhelmed the entire family and for a while, we all were at each other’s throats. It took quite a bit of time for me to turn my anger into a positive catalyst to improve the life events of others, but I am now in the process of doing just that.
All the wisdom of those two people earlier on in my life came catapulting into focus and I truly understood that I could have peace in my anger. Releasing that anger has not only improved my relationships with others, including my family, it has improved my mental and physical health.
I truly hope that you, my readers, can turn your angry moments into a positive channel of peace and abundance of mental and physical means.
To your wellbeing!
Communication has been an issue between people since the beginning of time. The biggest problem is as one person feels he or she is communicating articulately to another, the other person is perceiving a different story. Why is this?
There are numerous scientific articles in regard to nature vs. nurture and how it affects behavioral outcomes. Some of the information in these studies reflect how there are “environmental hotspots” which affect behavior more than genetics Nature vs. Nurture. A quick example would be that a person raised in an environmentally hostile area would not have the diplomacy that a person raised in an environmentally peaceful area would have. Therefore, communication between those two people would be very strained and most likely lead to serious misunderstandings. Neither person would be equipped to understand the other’s point of view or appreciate that person’s passion on the subject in which they are attempting to communicate. Thus, although each person is attempting to be as open and direct as possible to the other, and very likely trying to communicate the same directive, they most likely would not come to an agreement.
The above simple illustration can be viewed throughout history. Countless wars have ensued due to miscommunication, whereas merely one person did not have the understanding of the other person. In fact, there was a song written in the early 1970’s which portrayed this very fact named One Tin Soldier.
Face to face communication is always preferable in any situation as an individual is able to visually communicate his or her position through emotion and body language. Whereas these days, more and more people communicate through text, email or some type of social media, which does little to allow for emotion, facial expressions or body language. Therefore, few people are able to communicate in a way that provides a true point and position to the other person. People should also take into account the coveted, but dreaded “autocorrect”, which may inadvertently send the wrong word. One word can make all the difference in how a message is received and perceived. Sometimes the most simple word or grammatical error can change the entire meaning of the message a person is trying to communicate and could end up being disastrous. I have read through many people’s text to each other as they have asked me to agree with his or her point of view compared to the other person. In most cases, I find that each person is saying almost the same thing and actually agreeing with the other person on a solution to the issue. Yet, due to misguided perception, debauched grammar, or the inability to be compassionate to the other person’s feelings, hurt and anger supervene and there is war!
I’m sure we have all been in similar situations to the ones demonstrated above. One of the best ways I can demonstrate to you, my readers, is to show the difference between active and passive listening, which you can see in the attached image.
Becoming an active listener is an art. We all are passive listeners at heart and need to seriously work on becoming an active listener in order to have better communication skills. Increasingly, there would be less miscommunication and better relationships would be created.
Being an active listener is one of the best ways to have better communication skills. Another is to be compassionate to the other person’s thoughts and ideas. Being compassionate allows for empathy in regard to the other person’s present, past and future situations, upbringing (natural and environmental) and gives the communication increased, peaceful effort for both parties.
I myself have not always communicated in an appropriate way. Not that I was meaning to be obtuse in any way, but was merely in a poor state of mind due to either real or perceived situations happening in my life. Therefore, I was not being compassionate to the other person’s situation and was unable to listen or communication properly to assuage the issue. Most of the time, a simple “I’m sorry” will do to correct miscommunication and feelings of hurt, frustration and anger, which can result in lost relationships. Other times merely recognizing the fact that I was less than diplomatic was a lesson I needed to learn and move on, doing my best in the future not to repeat those actions.
I hope this helps with any communication issues you, my readers, may be having in your life. Just remember, living in peace with yourself allows you to live in peace with others.