Wednesday, April 25, 2012

To Fight or Not to Fight: That is the Question

In addition to our live guest today, I discussed a recent article in the newspaper about two elementary school girls from Long Beach, Ca. Apparently, they got into an altercation and although there was no evidence of anyone being knocked to the ground, the 10 year old died six hours later at a local hospital from a blood clot to the brain. The family of young Joanna Ramos is left to mourn and grieve the senseless loss of their precious child at the hands of an 11 year old classmate. Babies – two young girls not old enough to date or drive: one dead, the other facing a life of guilt and remorse for committing a senseless act of violence against another human being. In one brief moment, two family’s lives were changed forever.

As a child, my parents had two opposing philosophies about fighting. My mom taught me to always walk away. My dad said, “Never start a fight but if someone hits you, hit them back.” My mom’s voice resonated  louder in my head. And I thank God for that. 

As an adult, I have come to treasure the wisdom in her words. To stay and fight puts me at risk for being injured or causing injury to another (and of course, there’s always the unexpected tragedy of death). Is it ever worth taking that kind of risk to defend my honor, prove my “rightness”, convince the other of my fearlessness? Apparently my mom didn’t think so and neither do I. Contrary to some popular beliefs, removing oneself from a verbal or physical altercation is not a sign of cowardice. It is, in reality, a sign of great courage. One is never certain how others will perceive their unwillingness to fight, so to exit is a statement of confidence. “I am comfortable with whatever you choose to think of me because my opinion of myself outweighs yours.”

It is also an indication of self love: “I care more about my safety than what others may think should I leave;” a sign of intelligence: “to stay and fight could cause serious bodily harm to one of both of us and makes no sense”; and lastly, it shows great respect for all human life. “I have no desire to hurt you. No one, regardless of how immature, arrogant or mean spirited they are behaving, deserves to be hurt. All individuals deserve to be respected.” 

How tragic that two young lives and their families are forever altered. Had each child been taught and practiced walking away another senseless death could have been prevented. Parents and adults: we all need to be examples for our children. Courage, confidence, self love, mutual respect:  live it and teach it.  

Remember: one bad decision can change your life forever.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Michelle joined me as my guest on today’s show. She’s a young mother going through a nasty divorce. Children are involved as is a marital home (now in jeopardy of foreclosure) as well as struggling business. That’s a lot for one person to handle. Understandably, Michelle is dealing with issues of anger, bitterness and resentment.  Twenty minutes on air is not nearly enough time to give her all the tools she needs to resolve this.
We all find ourselves in situations where we feel helpless and at the mercy of others. Relentless ex’s continually harass us, trying to make our lives a living hell. But we are capable of turning the tables on them (no, not making their lives more miserable than ours). We can actually take an injustice and benefit from it.

The Dalai Lama says “there are no victims in life only students.” How does that apply here? I learned 30 years ago not to be a victim of divorce. I changed my perception and saw myself as a student of this life experience instead. What was this divorce here to teach me? What lessons was I supposed to learn? How could I take those lessons and apply them to become a better person and enrich my life? Not an easy task but certainly not impossible. When I was able to answer each of those questions, I realized I actually benefited from his decision to leave me. Wow! What a revelation! What I tried so hard to hold on to was in essence not good for me. Once I learned to let go (and let God), my life became easier, my happiness was restored and my confidence soared. I’ve taken that lesson and applied it to every trauma I’ve endured.

How can I possibly be angry with someone who inadvertently blessed me by posing a great challenge? When we rise to the occasion rather than drown in self-pity, we realize that in any given situation we have the ability to determine how it’s going to affect us. I am deeply grateful for the hidden treasures in the trash delivered by my ex. No room for anger here, only gratitude. Not sure if Michelle was convinced.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How to Resolve Disputes With Difficult Neighbors

Tips from today’s show

How to Resolve Disputes With Difficult Neighbors

1. Check your attitude before leaving the house.  Leave your ego in the closet.
2. Upon arriving at their home, begin by introducing yourself. Offer some information about who you are so they feel a bit more at ease speaking with you.
“Hi. I’m Janet, your neighbor in the green house down the block. I just moved here a few weeks ago.”
3. Next, take a few moments and make small talk. Get to know the other party. Show an interest in who they are.
“How long have you lived here?  It seems like a really nice neighborhood.”
4. Say something positive. Offer a compliment if possible.
“Your house is lovely, especially the gardens in the front by the driveway.”
5. State your concern about the issue at hand, offering them the benefit of the doubt.
“I’m sure you don’t realize it but sometimes your dogs bark really late at night. I hate to even bring it up but it wakes up my baby.”
6. Make your request (not “demand”).
“Can you bring them indoors by 7pm? That’s when I put my daughter in her crib for the night.”
7. Negotiate the issue if necessary being willing to make some compromises.
8. End on a positive note, thanking the other party for their time and cooperation.
“I really appreciate your help. I’m happy to be a part of this neighborhood and hope to get to know everyone better.”

And remember:
Always speak to the other party with dignity and respect. Never accuse, make assumptions or threaten. More often than not, people will try to resolve their issues when treated fairly.