Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Annoying People

Ever have anyone who annoyed the snot outta you?  It doesn’t happen to me but I have heard that people are sometimes an annoyance to others.  Okay, I get bugged by many peccadilloes and idiosyncrasies other people insist on laying directly in my path.

And where it seems to get me the most is in the arena of sports. This happened recently at a Volleyball tournament that BJ was playing in.  It just so happens that they played against a fellow who has many offensive mannerisms.  At his least he is a goofy guy who acts like a spaz.  At his worse he is a cocky and arrogant player who has no real basis for boasting about his level of play which is rudimentary at best.  He is not a game breaker, yet he insists that the volleyball world would sorely miss his talent and abilities should he not play.

This guy gets under the skin with the ease of a cloud of mosquitoes.  What makes it worse is that his team beat our team.  It makes me feel like justice is not served when a person with less ability, class and respect wins the game.   And I love justice and cannot abide with even the slightest taint of injustice.

So how do we handle this kind of person in this kind of situation?  Revenge?  Beat the tar out of his team next time we play them?

Jesus asks us to love him. 

Bj and I texted about this the following week and he gave me permission to use the conversation here.
Me: Is Josh still there? (I was hoping to send one of my “I knew a guy jokes” to Josh as he is my main inspiration for these bad jokes)
BJ: Nope.
Me: Thx. Love ya. Don’t let people rule. “People who annoy you can teach you a lot about yourself.” (This is a quote from BJ who had written it on his Facebook status earlier that week.) I heard that somewhere lately and thot it was great.
BJ: Yeah Whered you hear that?
Me: On Facebook. Some wanna be sage actually had a quotable quote.
BJ: Lol aha J
Me: One of my FB (Facebook) friends is wise beyond his years.
Me: So what does Blanko (a pseudonym for the annoying one) tell you about BJ?
BJ: What do you mean?
Me: Blanko annoys you. What can you learn about yourself because of this annoyance?
BJ: Iunno. That Coicky annoying ugly people make me mad? :p
Me: Yup. What else?
BJ: Iunno. That it shouldn’t bother me how he acts
Me: Think about this. Assholes have way too much power in your life when you let them influence your emotions.
BJ: Yes. Thats smart
Me: It does bother you though. We have been talking about mental/emotional toughness (within the context of both volleyball and life).  How can you move on when someone personally attacks you with negativity?
Me: What does moving forward look like? U will always have to deal with assholes, people who rub you the wrong way. The negative thots and emotions need to be dealt with
BJ: Well how do you deal with negative emotions from this?
Me: How will you deal with other people negatoivity towards u?
BJ: Iunno. :p
Me: I am also very poor at this. Somehow we need to forgive Blanko even though we know he will most likely always b an ignorant asshole.  Jesus wants us to love Blanko.
Me: Not sure how to do that.
BJ: Mhm... I know what you are saying now I think.
Me: Loving is very hard.  I can’t do it without letting Jesus be involved.  This is true even with people who are easy to love.  I have more than one Blanko in my life.
Me: Everyday is a challenge to love.
BJ: Yeah loving can be a hard challenge
Me: Ur a great kid and I would hate to c u swallowed up by hate like Blanko and his Mom.
BJ: No worries I wont do that
Me: When we focus on loving we take away the other persons power to influence our thots and emotions in a negative manner.
BJ: Indeed father.
Me: Love ya. Ttyl
BJ: Love you too.
Jesus asks that we see people how He sees people and to love them with His love.  Nothing is more important.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Who Am I

Similar to the question of what do I want is the questions, “who am I?”  Combined these two questions have consumed more of self-awareness questions than all the others combined.

The basics are easy to discern.  I have a name, address and several phone numbers, but while these identifiers can be used to find me they do not determine my personal identity.  I can easily state who my children, parents, wife and friends are, but again, classifying me by my relationships lacks understanding into who Eric Thielmann really is.

Most of my life has been a search to find out who I am.  Even at 50 I am not sure I can accurately explain myself to my own satisfaction. For me self-image has been a difficult concept to put into practical action.
Self-image is a way of considering who we are.  We use it to determine our thoughts, choices, actions and even emotions.  It is a basic element of understanding who we are and how we are going to interact with others in society.

Self-image gives us way of thinking about who we are.  It is a picture of our personality, character, and abilities that we live out of.

We all have a self-image.  We may not be aware of our self-image but it exists and influences everything we do.

Getting a handle on how we think about ourselves is important. We can either respond or react to life.  If we live reactively we will be pushed about by the circumstances of life.  If we live responsively we will be able to exert ourselves onto the situations we face.

In reactions we live on a trampoline, bouncing up and down without real direction.  In responses we live on a path, choosing and moving in a purposeful direction.

So we need to understand who we are.  At 17 I had no clue how to go about this.  Where should I start, what questions should I ask, who should I turn to for answers and how can I determine who I am, were just a few of the questions that I struggled with.

Hopefully this blog will help you to figure out who you are.

Friday, April 2, 2010

What Do You Want

I remember a time in my teens when I was plagued by questions about my future.  For the most part all these questions could be summed up in the question, “what do you want?”  There are variations of this question.  What do you want to do?  What are you going to do?  Where are you going in life?  What do you see yourself doing in 5, 10, 20 years? But when you distil all these questions the basic question comes back to, “what do you want?”  

I was disturbed by these questions because I had a superficial answer, but lacked a fundamental understanding of the who I was, what I wanted, and where I was going.

I had an idea of some of my wants.  I wanted to have fun.  I wanted to be rich.  I wanted to be a man of God. I wanted to know that my life meant something.

At that time I did not have the wherewithal to even know I was asking myself the question at a much deeper level.  Now I have a better understanding and I still ask the question, albeit with another 30 years of experience and struggle with the questions of my life.

I know now that I wanted to make a difference.  To make an imprint on the events and situations that I engaged in is important to me. If I use a sports analogy I wanted to be a player who’s contributions had positive results in winning the game.

Nowadays, I am aware of a profound desire to experience deep and meaningful relationships.  I have a few of these kinds of friends, and it is our mutual personal interactions that make life rich.

Thirdly, I am keenly attentive to a need for companionship. I desire to have people with whom I can share the joys and sorrows of life.  I know many people and a large portion of these make life better.

I am going to write more about these longings and desires but for today it is enough.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Can You Hear Me Now?

“Can you hear me”, now is a line from a cell phone advertisement.  It is meant to convey the vastness of the company’s cell coverage.

But I want to twist that message.  Yup, consider it to be ad evolution.  I see a message inside this line and I am going to use it to my advantage.

God asks the same question of you every single day.  That’s right he is speaking, calling, and communicating every moment of every day.  Can you hear Him now?

We often can’t hear Him because we have chosen not to listen.  We ignore His language of love, and do not recognize His ways of speaking.  The less we try to listen the more we lose an ability to hear.

Even when we do try to listen, we often can’t hear.  I find this very frustrating.  Why can’t I hear Him when I want to hear Him?  Not sure I have a satisfactory answer so I keep asking the question.  I’ll write more about this mystery later.

I wish I would have known that listening is really important.  I mean, I heard you have two ears and one mouth so you should listen twice as much as you speak.  Of course, I interpreted this to suit my personal agenda.  Hey, if everybody had two ears, they would be able to listen to twice as much as I had to say.

Listening to what others are saying is vital to living in relationships with others.  Listen to hear the stories of the heart.  You have to focus and pay attention in order to really hear what someone else is saying.
We often only listen so that we can say something in return.  We treat conversations as if they are competitions, trying to tell the best story and thus be more interesting than the person we are with.  We listen only to get others to pay attention to us.

Listen to the stories others tell you.  Pay attention to them. Get yourself out of the way so you can hear their heart.

I never really developed this skill until later in life.  I wish I had exercised my listening muscle earlier.  I know what it feels like to have someone listen to my heart and hear what my soul yearns for. 

Lately God has been telling me to listen.  I don’t hear an audible “Listen”, but often when I am talking to someone I get this thought that I should really tune in to what the person is saying.  Not just the words they speak but the deeper underlying meaning in their heart.

Not sure if I am listening to this as well as I could have.  I am trying and practicing as often I am able.  I think I am getting better with age.

Can you hear me now?

Monday, March 15, 2010

The 50/17 Solution

Sometimes I wish I could go back to being 17.  It was easier then.  No heavy responsibilities of career, relationships or family.  I only needed to look out for number one.

On the other hand I like being 50.  There is much more that I am accountable for, but the rewards of enjoying the things that matter can be immensely pleasing.

So I want to write about being 17 (or so) with 50 years of experience.  Sort of a things I wish I knew when I was a teenager.  Things I wish I had known that would have altered my approach to the rest of my life.
Little or big things that would help me get through the tough times of my teenage years and beyond.

As a teenager I thought that old people, like people over 25, were out of touch with the realities of my generation and would not regard them with the respect that was due them. I believed they did not have a clue what it was like to be 17.  So I did my best to ignore them and rejected their attempted influence into my life.

Listening to people with experience is probably the first thing I wish I would have known better about.  Even though they were faced by a different set of circumstances, older people have faced the same challenges of life and have the ability of hindsight that may help a younger person should both be willing.

I hope this to be a blog where I can share some insights that could help teenagers should they chose to interact with what I write about.

Are you 17? What questions are you asking that maybe an experienced person might have some perspective and guidance into?

Are you 50? What stories and hindsight do you have that might aid young people in today’s difficult world?  And are you willing to listen to the youth of today and maybe learn more about life yourself?

This is my 50/17 solution.  Consider this a joint effort by youth and experience to help navigate life’s trials.  I invite you to join in.