I realize these blogs are a little more "meatier" than some of my previous posts. So thank you all for your great feedback, private messages and encouraging words. Thanks for taking time to chew on these!
Oh, and while you read, imagine this cute fella crawling all over me, biting me, pulling my hair, flirting with me, doing his best to distract me, all while I write about powerful people. :-) Ah the glamorous life of a stay-at-home mom who wants to change the world, one diaper at a time!
VI. Powerful people ask questions when they are having problems in relationships, they don't presume to know what is in another person's heart. Have you ever had someone confront you with accusations of what you are thinking, what you are feeling and what your intentions are? It is infuriating. It is not productive, it is not empowering and it does not work. It doesn't promote trust and it doesn't give you the opportunity to explain what is going on with you.
One rule of communication for this principle is: I only have the right to tell you about me. I don't have the right to tell you about you. The moment I begin to tell you about you, I have stepped into "attack" mode and I have stepped into judgement.
Example: (wrong) "You are so crabby today. Just because I didn't do the dishes last night doesn't give you the right to mope around all day. I know you're just trying to punish me."
(right): "You seem upset, are you?", "I get this feeling you are upset with me because of the dishes, is that true?", "Is everything all right with you? Want to talk?", "Did I do something to offend you?"
Asking questions instead of making statements is an art, and it requires practice and discipline. That's why it's called "the art of asking questions." It requires you to stop, think, and then speak. Something very few of us have trained ourselves to do.
Have you ever noticed you are on your best behavior with practical strangers, yet can be mean and ugly with the people you live with every day? I think it's quite normal, and they do say that familiarity breeds contempt. We want to be comfortable at home. We don't want to be all formal and uptight. But when it comes to dealing with relational problems with those we love, we owe them the common courtesy and politeness we would give a stranger.
VII. Powerful people know how to do intimacy. They have people in their lives who know everything about them. They invite wise counsel into their lives. They allow others to influence them. Powerful people don't isolate themselves, they flourish in community. They know how to be accountable and how to be responsible with other people's hearts. Too many times I have seen people isolate themselves relationally. Remember the preview to the movie Up in the Air? George Clooney is walking in the airport talking on the phone and says, "Isolated? I'm surrounded!" Yes, he is surrounded by people, complete strangers! None of them know his dreams, his fears, his hopes and his aspirations. Who has permission to change his mind? Who pushes him, who challenges him, who requires something of him? People can be surrounded and yet still be alone. Ask yourself this; who knows your dreams, your fears, your hopes and your aspirations? Who has permission to change your mind? Who pushes you, who challenges you, and who requires something of you? I hope you can come up with at least two people. If not, this is a great area to develop yourself.
VIII. Powerful people live within their means. They don't rely on credit for the basic necessities, and they have learned the art of delayed gratification. They don't have a mindset of entitlement, and they are willing to work hard and set goals for themselves. Powerful people don't acquire money for power, they acquire money because they are powerful. They don't measure wealth by what they own, the measure wealth by how much they are able to give away. People who are mortgaged up to their eye balls and are living paycheck to paycheck don't sleep well at night. We have an epidemic in this country of "keeping up with the Joneses." It's never too late to turn this cycle around. It starts with what you believe. Do you believe that living within your means and disciplining yourself to wait for what you can afford is wise, and will be the thing that gives you peace of mind? Or do you believe in keeping up with the Joneses?
IX. Powerful people don't require agreement in arguments, they expect to be heard, and hopefully understood. The christian church is especially guilty of requiring everyone to agree, and they do this in the name of God. Somewhere, someone (or a lot of people actually) believed a lie that God wanted us all to look the same, talk the same, dress the same and act the same. But that goes against the very nature of God. Just look at His creation, the beauty of it is the diversity. God is all about freedom. Do you want to be right or do you want to be connected with people? Sometimes you have to choose. If you continually choose to be "right", you may end up very alone, or you will be surrounded by people who look exactly like you. We can't grow if we don't expose ourselves to different ideas, we need cross pollination to stay sharp!
X. Powerful people don't seek revenge, they forgive and let go. They understand that forgiving someone doesn't mean they have to let that person back in their life to continue to hurt them. They realize that holding grudges and anger against another person is unhealthy and creates a toxic mindset.