Best Ways to Problem Solve Instead of Placing Blame

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #33
Think of how you can assist with a problem, not who to blame.

Blaming others for problems does not make you happy. I have learned this intensively through the years and have just managed recently to put this lesson to good use. It is so easy to blame anyone and not take responsibility for your part in the problem. When we blame others, we are attacking them and making them the direct fault for what is going on. Blamers reflect their issues on other people so that they do not have to take responsibility for their actions. The problem you face might be valid in placing blame, but you are also in this situation with the other party. If you have been hurt and have hard feelings to those that have hurt you the feelings you have are valid and essential but blaming that person keeps you controlled by that problem, and if you can give up the resentment, it will free you in the end. The next time you find yourself in a disagreement that places blame try these six steps so that you see yourself being a productive solution to the problem instead of adding to the negative.

1. Talk about what can be controlled
Many times we focus on what cannot be controlled, and that causes hostility in an argument. If you can come together to discuss what in the situation can be controlled, then you should be able to find a successful solution to the problem.

2. Make sure you are involved in a positive, productive discussion.
Negative conversations never get people anywhere and more than likely you will end up angrier than before you even started to discuss the situation. Positivity puts the argument in a better light and will leave you with a feeling of accomplishment when you are done.

3. Focus on the problem and how it can be fixed.
There are lots of ways to do this. You can have a sit-down and discuss what needs to happen to solve this issue. Many times it is a simple task and when you can communicate effectively more is going to get done.

4. What can be learned?
There is always a lesson, and most of the time it can be learned by both parties involved. Talk about what we can learn from this and sincerely take the experience into account so the problem can be avoided in the future.

5. Discuss how this problem can be avoided, so there isn’t a next time.
Most problems can be solved with a simple solution. Knowing how to prevent a problem is half of the battle, and when you both can figure out works best for you it makes the environment a whole lot easier to deal with in the future.

We can’t always control others reactions to us, but we can still control how we react to others. Being able to solve a problem positively gives you the benefit of being at peace with the issue. When in an argument discuss what can be controlled and make sure to use positive and productive conversation tactics, so the other party isn’t offended. Talk with the other person and focus on what the problem is and how to fix what is wrong. Discuss any lessons that can both of you can learn from in this situation and how to avoid it next time. Being able to do these things with help you to be a problem solver and not a problem starter.

How to be a Better Listener When It’s Hard to do

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson # 32
Nature gave us one tongue and two ears so we could hear twice as much as we speak.

How well do I listen instead of letting things come right out of my mouth? A long time ago this was extremely hard for me to do. I usually never heard what was being said and was always the one talking. I am more aware of my lack of communicating back then and have worked hard to try and fix this little indiscretion. However, this is not an easy task and takes some dangerous practice and in my case patience along the way. These five things helped me become a better listener and improved the way I communicate effectively with others.

1. I listen so that I can learn.
If we are always talking are we anything? To be able to learn efficiently you need to be able to listen to what is said. I started to recognize this and began practicing this in conversations, and I could not believe all the exciting things I learned about other people around me. I am sure that I would not have known if I was the only one getting a word in that conversation.

2. Ask questions
I never used to ask questions. I always thought that asking questions was a weakness and many times I either pretended to know what was talked about or would take over the conversation. Pretending to know what is going on absolutely does not work, and more than likely you will end up looking ridiculous. Asking questions shows a person that you are interested in what is said and not only that you will learn something that you did not know before and that is ok.

3. Make eye contact
If you want to show someone your undivided attention make eye contact with them. Eye contact was also a hard one for me to do because I was shyer and for some reason, eye contact was hard for me. Doing this makes the conversation more enjoyable and exciting. You are taking the time to acknowledge what is said and making eye contact shows that you are genuinely interested in the discussion.

4. Don’t Interrupt the other person talking.
Interrupting conversations was something that I always did, and I honestly did not understand how annoying it was until I started focusing on changing the way I listen. Not only is this rude but it shows that you are not valuing the other person in the conversation. Being able to stop interruptions in conversations is genuinely a hard habit to break and if you do accidentally innterupt make sure to apologize.

Why is it a good idea to be a good listener?

1. Listening can be a confidence booster.
People love a good listener merely because they are hard to find and being able to do this will make you certainly feel right about having this talent.

2. Acceptance
When you listen, you are accepting the person that is involving you in the conversation. Not only are you receiving them they are also accepting you by telling you what they think is essential.

3. Connection
As humans, we need relationships and listening can create a deep connection.

So the next time you are finding yourself in a conversation take a back seat and listen to what is said. Take time to listen, and you will undoubtedly learn something new about that person. When you get a chance to ask a few questions about what is being discussed make sure to keep good eye contact so that the speaker knows that you are engaged. Last but not least remember not to interrupt the one that is speaking so that you can have the opportunity to listen to all that is being said. Listening is a talent that few have and that many want to have around them.

6 Ways to Rebuild Trust That Was Lost

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #31
Trust is earned by many deeds.

Honesty is the best policy. We have heard this statement time and time again but what happens if you have broken that policy and need to repair the damage. Breaking trust is a hard lesson to learn, and it takes lots of time and patience on both ends. Know that if you work hard and stay diligent the trust you once had can be rebuilt and in many times become stronger than it once was. Here are six ways to restore the faith that was thought to be lost.

1. Be Honest.
It might be hard, but please be honest. Not only with yourself but also with the ones that have been affected. The gig is up, and it is time to get real. The more real you are, the better it will be to mend those broken fences.

2. Show You Care.
The actions that you do will speak louder than the words that you use. By showing action to someone, you are indicating that you care and are committed to fixing the problem. If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t act. The action also takes time and effort on your part, and that lets the other person know you are trying.

3. Respect
Respect is earned and not just given. Respect takes hard work, and if you want the same respect, you must work for it especially if you have been dishonest. One way to earn back trust is to think about how to restore what was lost and take the time to work on fixing things. It will not happen overnight and takes a lot of time, but it is well worth the effort to show the person you care how much respect you have for them.

4. Transparency
Be an open book. Honesty also involves you being honest with yourself. If you are hiding things, you are not honest with those around you. You need to be able to be comfortable in your skin and be comfortable with those around you to know who you are and being transparent lets the other person see a side of you no one else does.

5. Take the situation seriously.
Do this by sincerely asking for forgiveness and giving a sincere apology. If you don’t take the situation seriously for what it is, then you show that your commitment to fix what you have done is not there.

6. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
People are not perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. Just know that whatever happens, you can always do better after making a mistake. Don’t judge yourself harshly and think that you need to. Being dishonest to someone can take its toll, and it is better to learn from the mistake and move forward never making a mistake again.

Trust is a very fragile thing when it comes to dealing with relationships. When trust is broken remember to be honest from here on out to rebuild what was lost. Show you care by working hard to fix the damage that was caused. Be honest with yourself and others so that they can see the best of you. Take the situation seriously and carefully as it will be in a very fragile state for a while. Always know that you are going to get through this and see that you can take a bad mistake and make it into a great future by learning the lesson that it taught you.

Here is How to Stop Playing the Blame Game so You Can be Happy.

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #28
Think about your own mistakes rather than blame on other’s faults.

Why do people like to play the blame game? When I received this paper a couple of weeks ago, I sat back and took a long hard look at the times that I have played the blame game and what if anything it has done for me and the situations that I was involved. The answer to this question is that playing the blame game has done nothing constructive to any of the circumstances or relationships that were required. Nothing good has ever come out of me just blaming someone or something for any negativity in my life, and so I have decided that I am going to work hard at controlling how much of the blame game I will be playing and make sure that this game doesn’t negatively affect the things in my life.
Why does the blame game become so toxic? To blame someone or something is destructive rather than constructive. Blaming others rather than taking responsibility for your portion of the issue won’t help you or the situation better your circumstances. If you blame others for the problem than you don’t have to take responsibility for your part of the issue at hand and that will always be a recipe for disaster.
I grew up in an unstable home and for many years that haunted me with feelings of blame. I felt like I was a victim and was continually blaming the adults that allowed me to grow up in the situation I did. Last year I finally realized that it was time for me to stop blaming and take control of my life. One thing I noticed was when I was angry and condemning those that did not do their job I wasn’t happy. I could not find my joy, and all the blaming distracted me from moving forward in my life. I had to stop blaming even though some of these things were out of my control I had to let go and realize that we are here to make mistakes and hopefully learn from them.

There are four wrong ways of thinking when we are playing the blame game and all of these thoughts I had throughout my life.

1. Something is wrong, and I need to find blame in something or someone else for this situation. I feel this is a hard one to recognize because sometimes I feel like the responsibility can be justified. Even though the fault is warranted does not mean it is right to decide to place blame.

2. This person doesn’t deserve respect as a human being. I realize that we are all human and therefore we will all make mistakes and had to sink this one in when getting rid of my blame. The focus should not be about the person who has done me wrong so much as the person is controlling the way I think and act.

3. It is ok for me to treat those that hurt me poorly. I can do so anyway I want. There is no peace when you find yourself hating someone or something all the time. Letting go is the best medicine for this, and you will find happiness by knowing you have done your part.

4. I don’t have any responsibility for the problem, and if I admit this than I have to accept my responsibility and I would deserve the same treatment, I am giving. There are always two sides, and each side will have there own thoughts and actions. Even if you didn’t start the problem but the way you handled it was not the best. Life and people can be very frustrating and remember to take the higher road you will feel better in the end.

If you are experiencing conflict and blame here are ways to settle the blame game once and for all constructively.

1. Be willing to accept your part of the problem.
When there are disputes and problems, there is usually more than one creating the conflict. It is better to take the responsibility and try to make amends on your end. If the other side wants to accept their portion and help make things right tremendous and if not then you did your best.

2. Don’t lose respect for people.
There are some pretty cruddy people in this world, and they have made some horrible decisions in life. Being able to understand that you are not there judge and jury makes it easier to move forward. Always know that there is room for improvement.

3. Be more forgiving
I will be the first one to admit it is tough for me to forgive. I have grown up to be a person that has a shell of protection, and if I overlook, it weakens that shell. I started trying to excuse years ago, and I will say that it creates peace I never had growing up. All the anger and resentment I kept inside was a big green monster, and it kept me prisoner for quite some time. Only in the last few years have a finally been able to forgive and move forward. Forgiveness is hard, but it is well worth the work that goes into making it happen.

 

How to Experience Virtue and Not Let it Get to Your Head

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #26

Virtue is its own reward

 

How important is it to have virtue in our lives?  The definition of virtue states ” Behavior showing high moral standards” and when we think of the word virtue words such as ethics, excellence, and kindness might come to mind.  These things are all important when dealing with each other and if we didn’t do these types of behaviors, our world would suffer.

Virtue can lead to happiness but can we experience too much virtue and let it get to our heads.  Can too much virtue in our lives leave us with a sense of pride?  Pride is okay to have, but it can also be a vice in life.  I decided to take a look at three key aspects of my life that I hold to the highest value that would bring virtue into my life.  When deciding to take a look at these three things that I think I have experienced virtue I wanted to see how those feelings of virtue affected me and if I feel at times I could have been too prideful. I can honestly answer yes I experienced a certain degree of virtue with each of these and I also have experienced being over prideful as well.  Here are my three most significant things in my life where I have felt the most virtuous.

My Family 

I always strived to have the family I never had a child.  I had a family that was broken most of my life.  Growing up I decided that I would work hard to make my family unit strong and that is something that I strive for today.  I have an excellent, loving, and supportive husband who works hard for us in all things.  He is my best friend, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.  I have two fantastic kids who are entering the teen scene of their lives and have given me more smiles than a headache.  That is not to say we haven’t had our trials because we have and we have always seemed to pick up the pieces and move forward.  I am thankful for this opportunity, and yes there have been times when I forget that this is life and life is not perfect.  Have I ever been too prideful when it comes to my family? I will be honest yes I have.  There have been times I have judged and have thought I might be able to do it better.  I will tell you that today I try and work very hard to not judge those around me. I feel like judgment can become a bad habit just and it takes time to break a habit once you have been doing it for a while. I am always telling myself to do better.

My Beliefs

This one was a hard one when I really got to thinking about it.  Way back in the day I used to be strongly religious.  I went to church every Sunday and was a huge participant in teaching and helping our congregation.  Unfortunately with this came the feeling of feeling overly special.  I am not saying at all that church is wrong because I believe it entirely can be the best thing for a person. When I first went, it was the best thing for me. It took my life and changed it for the better.  The problem was that when I was going and working so hard to be that perfect person I believe that my virtue was clouded with a bit of pride and entitlement. I don’t go to church anymore not because I don’t like it but because I wanted to focus on myself and my spirituality.  I had to teach myself to be more humble by concentrating on what I was doing for those around me and that I can do great things in life without having to boast or feel like I need something in return.

 My Self

Out of my siblings, I have been the one who got away.  I was able to live a decent life, and they have had some pretty real struggles.  One of the reasons I have made a path for myself is because I have chosen to not go down a road of addiction.  Addiction is definitely a family disease, and I am a firm believer that it is learned through the environment and can quickly be passed down even through generations.  I have worked hard to keep myself healthy and happy.  Somedays are harder than others, but I work hard to make sure that I can give myself and my loved ones the life they deserve. One of the ways I have been able to succeed is by holding myself to a certain standard.  I believe that virtue has helped me in achieving but in the past, I have not been the nicest to deal with when it comes to my siblings.  I wanted them to experience the same happiness I have, and I have pushed too hard in certain circumstances. I have learned through the years that we all have our battles and the best way to help is to love and support when you can, this will go further than thinking you know what is best for those that are fighting their own battle.

Virtue can bring happiness to our lives, but it can also become a vice if it is not understood. Being able to experience great things is a beautiful feeling to have but make sure we do so with a humble heart.  Remember that our actions can affect those around us and be aware of others helps us keep our pride in check.  The next time you experience virtue in your life be happy and thankful that you received it and see if you can spread a little to someone else along the way.