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6 Ways You Can Survive Mother’s Day

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6 Ways You Can Survive Mother’s Day

Are you ready for Mother’s Day? And I don’t mean with the perfect card and flowers. I mean, the day you have to celebrate a woman, who you may not actually like. Unfortunately, many daughters have an estranged or tense relationship with their moms and while we live with this every day, what happens when it’s Mother’s Day? Whether you’re ready or not, it’s her day, so what are you going to do about it?

It can easily become a day to remember and resent all of the things we dislike about her and our upbringing. Many mothers are controlling, dismissive and unavailable, just to name a few of the toxic patterns they can display.

These behaviors hurt, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. Or the mom out with Mother’s Day.

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You see, as Peg Streep wrote in Psychology Today, “the female of our species isn’t hardwired to love her offspring; it is the child, not the mother, whom evolution has equipped with a powerful need as an aid to survival. It’s estimated that half of us, plus or minus, hit the jackpot and have mothers who range from ‘great’ to ‘good enough.’”

So that means, the other half of us didn’t hit the jackpot. But instead of begrudging your mom for not being the mother you need, you can see yourself as the daughter who she needs. You might be saying, “There’s no way that my mom is my responsibility!”

But it’s not that you’re responsible for her. You’re responsible for you and your presence can help her. So, here’s what you can do for both you and your mom, this Mother’s Day.

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Heal yourself

As much as we want to save a sour relationship or another person, it’s neither in our power nor our responsibility to do so. We cannot heal others, but we have to heal ourselves! And this is the best step toward reconciling yourself with the relationship you have with her, whatever it looks like.

Forgive

Until you forgive, you’ll carry lots of emotional baggage that will permeate your mind and body. You forgive, not because you caved in and made everything she did OK. You forgive so that you can be free of the pain and negativity.

Respect

You may not respect, admire or like your mom, but her impact on your life is strong (which is why she can draw out some pretty high emotions from you). But because she still has a right to be treated with dignity and respect, just as you do, create opportunities for respect, while limiting the ones for disrespect. Maybe you can’t spend more than a couple hours with her and if that’s the case, keep it short and sweet. If a phone call is enough for the two of you, go with that. Just don’t feel obligated to meet the expectations that advertising and marketing bombards you with: Big parties, elaborate gifts and cards, expensive bouquets, etc. Do what feels right for your relationship.

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Gift toward the Good

Go with gifts that you know will bring her happiness, not what you think she should have or what you wish she’d be into. Give her what will bring a smile to her face. My mom is an amazing craftswoman when it comes to all things knitting and crocheting. I don’t understand any of it, but a gift along those lines is perfect for her.

Plants not Flowers

Flowers, of course, are the popular choice, but these can be showy, insincere and short-lived. Perhaps a plant (even a small one) can remind you of the long-lasting bond between you and her, and the many seasons (both good and bad) which you’ve endured together.

Picture It

Find an old photo of the two of you and keep it to yourself. When you look at it, reverse the role. Maybe you’re not so different than she was back then and maybe she did the best she could. Let this be your compassion card to help you be a good daughter, irrespective of the type of mother you had.

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Mother’s Day is her day because she is your mom. But It also has a lot to do with you because, well, she’s your mom! And you can make it a good day for both of you.

Featured photo credit: Richard Taylor via Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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