Week 1 Conformity Week 2 Deceitful Week 3 Mature Week 4 Strength Week 5 Image
Ah yes, this is one of those “good cop” “bad cop” words. When you want to be in lockstep with those around you, it is a good thing. When the activities of your peers are going in a direction that makes you nervous, it is better to listen to your instincts rather than just go with the flow. When you join the herd mentality, that action can put you in front of the “bad” cop with an adverse outcome. It is better to be “in harmony” than to be on the wrong end of punitive action. Think it through and be on the right side. Stand your ground!
The definition for conformity has two primary thrust. One is the sense of similarity and the second is that of obedience. The number one definition is the condition or fact of being in harmony or agreement as in congruity. The number two definition is that of compliance. It also means conventionality, conformism or lockstep. Oddly enough the old English usage of this word also meant adherence to the practices of the Anglican Church. Yes, it really means having a docile attitude. To be in, bow down!
How can we know the signs of conformity? Again, this word has both positive and negative indicators. Let’s look at some historical usage first. English history tells us that adherence to the practices of the Anglican Church bear the marks of conformity. If you are a firm believer in their teachings, then conformity is a good thing. However, if you are a non-believer or a believer in another form of religion, then conformity to the Anglican Church teachings would be a negative. We see the traits of agreement, compliance and symmetry as somewhat positive. In the traits of docility, nonresistance and assimilation we see the negatives of conformity. Are you docile or a rebel? It can make a difference!
What impact do we see in this concept of conformity? It is most interesting that one of the words associated with conformity is “philistinism.” This bizarre word holds some odious implications. For instance; “philistinism” is defined as a smug, ignorant, especially middle-class person who is regarded as being indifferent or antagonistic to artistic and cultural values. It also means one who lacks knowledge in a specific area. Beware this kind of impact on friends or associates. Choose wisely!
Does conformity make any sense in a relationship? If we look at the second definition for conformity we see the following: “action in accordance with customs, rules, prevailing opinion, etc: conventional behavior.” Any relationship that goes outside of conventional behavior is treading upon quicksand. Why? The rules can be nebulous and quirky. What kind of foundation does the relationship have? What are the determining factors for the rules that will apply? Some conformity is good for most relationships. It provides some security for actions that occur. It helps build a solid base for interactions of the parties. Build confidence!
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The word for this week is not flattering. In fact, it is a label most of us want to avoid. Deceitful is something that has implications of a disturbed mind, like that of a criminal or career scam artist. It is an emblem fitting of most shady characters and those most normal people want to avoid. Do your best to protect yourself from such untrustworthy personalities. Flee deceivers!
The definition for deceitful is rather simple. The first meaning is “tending to deceive; apt to lie or cheat. The second takes its cue from the first; “intended to deceive; deceptive; false.” Deceitful is an adjective which describes dishonest or insincere intentions. When we hear deceitful, several other words also come to mind like tricky or cunning. Imagine the following “the old bear was very cunning as he tracked the hunter back down the mountain.” Someone who is deceitful may also be thought of as sly and sneaky. Always be on guard!
Deceitful carries within it some signs that we need to look for. Someone who is deceitful is also “apt to lie or cheat.” If you wonder about a person’s integrity, check them out. Their history around and with other people will give clues to their sincerity. Deceitful people are normally intentional and dishonest in their actions. To be truthful and honest are not normal trademarks of their character. Trustless, two-faced, unreliable are more likely to be markers of their deceptive signature. With these double-dealers, be defensive!
What is the outcome of haggling with those who are deceitful? Compromise. The most general impact of any association with those who lie, cheat or put out false information is that you will have to grant some concession or give some trade off for your fraternization with them. Compromise is the term that best describes socializing with such unsavory types. When you compromise, that necessarily means watering down or something less than perfect. Unfortunately we never know the full outcome of what our compromise will produce until it ages. Yes, when it ages, it will probably produce some of those things called gray hairs. With deceitful types, walk softly and carry a big stick!
Where deception is the foundation of a relationship it becomes a mockery. Most associations, both intimate and casual have some basis for trust and integrity. When one party of an alliance is deceitful, any trust and integrity are usually destroyed. A deceitful relationship is a dishonest one. Dishonesty destroys any affinity that either party may have. If you suspect that the other party is being deceitful, run; don’t just walk away from that relationship. Remember the definition of deceitful is to cheat, lie or use deceptive ideas against another. Are you in a relationship based upon deceit? Shame on you!
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Our word today is pregnant with potential! Mature carries with it the sense of being whole or coming to completion. Our use of the word mature is mostly associated with the idea of one who is full of experience and wisdom. Mature is also a goal that all of us should aspire to achieve. Why do we want to mature? Doing so helps us to make better decisions and choices throughout our life’s journey. The converse of being mature is immature. Being unfinished, inexperienced and crude is definitely not what you expect to see in one who is mature. Make it your goal to be like steady Eddy or stable Mable!
The time has come to work on our definition for mature. It is both a verb and an adjective. Mature as a verb means to develop or work out fully. Like with a fruit, it means to be ripe or be fully grown. Likewise with a bond or note, it means to become due and payable because it has fully matured. With a person, we think of them as having reached a state of full development as in being an adult. There is also a sense of geological development as “that coastline has reached maturity and is relatively stable.” We also think of becoming mellow as a sign of maturity. Be sweet and age well!
As people, we expect to see traits that show growth and development. These are signs of being mature. What then do we look for as marks of maturity? There are several indicators that we look for in both physical and mental traits. Typically, mature thinking will manifest itself in several ways. A sense of responsibility is one sign and stability of actions is another. In addition, as one has reached the position of legal majority, we say that they are mature. Being mature carries with it the sense of being fully developed as to habits, ideas and behavior. Maturity also carries with it the sense of having weathered the storms of life. Sail on, hang on and face the future with determination!
Today, we want to focus on two areas on how we understand “mature.” First, what impact will mature have upon your thinking and how you do things? Secondly, what contrast do we see between immaturity and maturity? As one matures, there is a tendency to not panic and calmly think through the different choices one may have. Even in a crisis, one will weigh the options, seek input from advisors and make the best choice available. On the other hand, immaturity is marked by making hasty decisions. Many times immature choices are made based upon emotionally charged preferences, not solid logic. Good analysis of facts is rarely displayed. The old adage “haste makes waste” rings true. Sit tight, don’t panic!
A relationship without a mature attitude is at least chaotic if not a disaster in the making. As human beings, we each have different values and ideas about what ties us together. It also depends upon what kind of relationship it is. An intimate affinity is going to be different than a casual friendship or a business association. In each case we need to assess what we want the association to produce. Such an assessment will help you to anticipate what values and actions will be required to further the relationship. Be responsible and look for ways to improve your associations. Make it a point to be a gem!
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Our word this week is one of positive direction and is full of energy. When we have strength, we can face challenges with a lot of confidence. Life has a way of testing us with trials and hurdles that require a special effort. When we face these demands, it requires that we muster all of the strength and energy we have to be successful. Strength allows us to act upon or have an effect upon that which is creating resistance. Without the strength of a positive attitude, we are more likely to weaken and fail. Teddy Roosevelt’s favorite expression was “walk softly and carry a big stick.” That’s being positive!
By definition, strength refers to the inherent capacity to act upon or affect something. It is the state or quality of being strong; as in force, power or vigor. Of its ten definitions as a noun, we normally use it as force as measured in numbers or capacity for producing a reaction of effect. We also associate it with the power to resist attack as in impregnability. However, not as frequently we use it to suggest latent power as in the power of the press. Sometimes, we even use it to suggest the energy that something may contain. Would we ever use it to suggest the potential to work? Move it, or lose it!
How do we recognize strength when we see it? There are five words that can assist us in answering this question. These words are: power, force, might, energy and potency. Each of these will give us a slightly different view of what strength might look like. We think of power as latent ability. Force presents itself as movement as in motion for or against something that requires work. Might will give us a picture of strength that overcomes all resistance; while potency creates the picture of inherent power to help accomplish an end result. We should invigorate our thinking to incorporate these words into our actions. Don’t power down, power up!
When we think of strength, it is common to recall the Bible story about Samson. He was given a gift by God, but he made bad choices in how he used that gift. We need to be careful then how we use strength. The impact of our strength should be to help endure and/or resist negative opposition and to affect those around us in a positive manner. Our greatest legacy would be to use our strength to promote moral or intellectual forces that improve the lives of those around us. Let’s keep on pressin’ on!
How about a classic question today? Should all relationships have strength? The answer will probably be yes. There may be some that should not have strength but do. When the relationship is detrimental and one sided, it should not have strength. That, however, is not reality. A dictatorial relationship has strength for one side only; the dictator. The word for this relationship is “get out!” Good relationships will have balance in strength. The positive abilities of one should undergird the weakness in the other. This should work both ways and to the advantage of both. The strength of both together should produce greater good than just one alone. Think teamwork, or as the three musketeers said, “One for all and all for one!”
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This week’s word is image. With it, we will take a little bit different route to get an understanding of what it means. With Facebook, we see each message and a small image or picture of the person who originated the message. That image will tell us something about that person. If it is a picture of the person, we will recognize them as close friends or family. If it is an image, it will normally tell us something about that person and what they like or what is important to them. The images we see are a visual communication from or by that person. Some images confuse, some amuse, but all tell a story. Smile, you never know who’s watching!
Image is defined as a copy; counterpart; likeness of another person or thing. It is also a mental picture of something; like a conception; idea or impression. It is also the concept of a person, product, institution of which we are familiar. It can also be a graphic description or vivid representation as in a drama that is the image of life. It can also be an illusion that is unreal as in mirage. Let us also not forget that it can be a sculptured figure used as an idol. In Revelations it tells us “beware the beast!”
When we think of “image” do we stop to think that it might be a figure of speech? A metaphor or simile is what we are talking about. What about “he is the image of his father?” or “she is the spitting image of her mother!” Both of these examples use image in the sense of a metaphor or simile. Metaphors and similes are used to show likeness or to show some comparison. Both of the sentences above do just that, they show a comparison of a child to a parent. The hint is not literal but inferred as a comparison of likeness. Be like someone you admire but don’t be a “mirror image” of them!
The word image is the base for imagination. It is through our imagination that we can affect, change or influence others and how we live our daily lives. What image then, do we have that motivates us to interact with life? Is it a force for good? Or is it a self-centered search for what pleases our inner man? The answers you have for these questions will determine what will impact your decisions and choices. Your judgment, good or bad, will come as a response to what motivates you the most. A right attitude will guide you in a positive way. Imagine that!
It is that elusive force that can make or break a relationship. Two pictures can emerge. One is the outward image that the relationship presents to outsiders. The other is the internal picture or portrayal of the inner workings of both parties. If these two pictures are not quite similar in appearance, it will bring much unwanted stress. It is when the relationship image is fractured or splintered that disorder is about to happen. In relationships, we must focus upon unity of the external and internal image. When we do this, our associations with others can weather some very severe storms. Picture your strengths together and imagine some smooth sailing!
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