Character is built on a foundation. You may build a structure on a foundation of sand, dirt, bedrock or even water. Some materials are stronger than others. How do we create a foundation to support our character to be with other people? And, what difference does love make in a foundation?
Tip 10 in How to Get Along with People
“Don’t be too anxious about getting your just dues. Do your work, be patient, keep your disposition sweet, forget self, and you will be respected and rewarded. (Don’t be patronizing in attitude towards others.)” Originally written by Ann Landers (1918-2002).
It is challenging to be patient, and waiting to be acknowledged just creates stress. REMEMBER: Patience is a virtue. When we work hard and put in lots of effort, we may expect to hear, “Wow! Good job!” Yet, we may not hear it. I am encouraged by these words in this tip, however, because I believe that the work can be a reward in and of itself. So much of what I do is directly from my heart. Yes, I’m one of the lucky ones doing work I love. Find the love in your work. Then work your love.
Remember a Time, a Specific Time …
Remember a time when you asked a question like, “How do you do this?” and someone answered, “Oh, come on. Everyone knows that!” Maybe you felt embarrassed or angry. A patronizing attitude is when people act as though they are smarter than you, and speak down in a condescending way to others. Teachers and parents sometimes say, “Well, I’m older than you, so I know more.” Maybe kids know more of something else?
The dictionary may call patronizing “snobbish, disdainful, toffee-nosed (British), or haughty.” Open your heart and respond in a way you would feel good about when you respond to others. Make them feel glad they asked “you.”
Now review your life and remember a time when you worked hard, and felt happy. Search for a time when you felt awed in how well it turned out! Maybe it served a higher meaning! Feel the awe and say, “I did it!” Feel good inside and touch your heart. This is known as an anchor. Touch your heart when you want to renew that awe.
Find meaning in your work.
Ask yourself, “Why is this work important to me?” A job may be something simple to you, such as laying brick, something for a reason, such as saving for your children’s college fund, or more complex, such as building a cathedral where people will worship. Be happy through your own experience and for your reasons. Then, celebrate when others notice. In the moment you will be happier and enjoy your work, too.
Ann Landers wrote this tip in her list of “How to Get Along with People” as an advice columnist. She wrote the column, because she wanted to do more than staying at home as a wife and mother. You can imagine that this work was important to her. She applied for and got this job working for The Chicago Sun Times in the mid-1950s. Landers wrote with wit and a sense of humor, and yet wrote candidly; as though she was a good friend you could trust. When you receive advice from a friend you know and trust … it is easier to apply to your own life.
Something you may or may not know is that Landers had a twin sister Abigail van Buren, who wrote a competing advice column, called “Dear Abby.” This competition became so hot that their relationship broke down. Interesting. Two women giving advice about getting along with people … and they struggled through a personal feud. After seven years of not speaking, Landers called a truce and the sisters took a vacation together where they resolved their differences.
Good Material for a Solid Foundation
Resolving differences is a bedrock skill in a relationship foundation. People want to enjoy all aspects of their life. As humans we are social creatures and it’s important to find ways to get along with people, whether family, friends, colleagues, or in passing each other in communities.
Collecting wisdom and learning communication skills makes for happier relationships.
Perhaps my English grandmother saved this old column of tips in getting along with people because she wanted to remember these words. When we are sad, mad, confused, or stressed, our mind looses focus.
It is wise to keep a list of tips nearby for when you need it (like when you’re feeling confused and need to reboot the peaceful you) so you can get back on track.
Words of good advice can encourage good and solid character … when listened to and followed.
I hope you find the confidence and patience to enjoy your work today. If you get stuck and are looking for a way to reconnect with your resources, remember we are here to help. As you remember this, let’s consider this quote by Ann Landers:
“If you have love in your life, it can make up for a great many things that are missing. If you don’t have love in your life, no matter what else there is, it’s not enough.”
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