How to avoid misunderstandings?

A cartoon picture on misunderstanding.

It was a scorching summer day causing the men in the prison yard to seek refuge in the shade of a building.

As they lounged in droopy-eyed discomfort another prisoner passed and, as he did, cursed the miserable heat.

Two of the men a little distance away heard only the last part of what was said, and thought the obscene remarks were intended for them.

Silently they crept up behind the prisoner, who shuffled on, unaware that he had offended anyone.

Without saying a word, they smashed him to the ground with vicious blows, and might have fatally injured him had not another prisoner intervened.

Truly it can be said, misunderstanding is an incubator of strife.

How much conflict and bitterness among individuals it has caused!

So, what can be done to avoid misunderstandings?


Preventing misunderstandings

Picture on misunderstandings.

So often, persons misinterpret the words or actions of others; and while they may not respond so violently as those two convicts, hard feelings and strained relations result.

People grow cold toward their neighbors, avoid them, and sometimes are even moved by bitterness to gossip about them and misrepresent them.

The problem often is that people have different ways and customs. As a result, what is said or done is misunderstood.

For example, in certain Spanish-speaking countries a lady may say to her friend, “Qué gorda esta!”, that is, “How fat you are!”

Now, a person unfamiliar with the local way of expression could misunderstand and take offense. Cool feelings could develop.

However, when one understands that what is actually meant is,

“How pretty, how healthy you are !”
the effect is altogether different.

It is surprising that so much trouble results from misunderstandings as simple as this.

A person says something without meaning any offense, but another mistakes the meaning and is aroused to anger, or is so hurt that he loses a night’s sleep.

How can such unfortunate misunderstandings be avoided?

Empathy, or fellow feeling, is needed.

You must endeavor to cultivate an understanding of other humans and their ways of behavior.

Rather than permitting yourself to think negatively, try to appreciate why the person said a thing.

Could it be just his way, a characteristic of his nationality or background?

Was he only teasing?

Even though what was said may have been in poor taste, it may only have been a slip of the tongue.

Have you not also said things that conveyed an unintended meaning?

You would feel bad if what you said was misunderstood and caused hard feelings is that not true?

So be kind.

Do not let what others say result in a misunderstanding. How much better it is to forgive and forget!

However, if there is genuine reason to believe that you have been unjustly criticized or wronged, then what?

First, honestly consider the matter: Is there some truth in what was said?

Is it possible that you have been guilty of some folly, some indiscretion?

Remember, we all make mistakes.

Perhaps what someone is doing is simply bringing to your attention one of these concealed faults of which you are unaware.

So be humble and accept the correction.

Of course, if after thorough self-examination you still believe that you have been seriously wronged or that your reputation is endangered, you may want to do something.

But keep in mind that there may be several apparently contradictory viewpoints that can all be true.

So keep calm and open-minded as you seek redress through relevant authorities.

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Should you care what your neighbors think of you?

Worried about what neighbors think.

Worried about what neighbors think?

There are people who spend a good part of their lives worrying about what the neighbors think of them.

Their concern on this point dominates all their actions in and around the home.

You might say they almost become enslaved to their neighbors, for every major consideration takes into account the question of how to hold on to the respect and approval of the people next door.

On the other hand, there are those who go to the other extreme, for they care nothing at all about what their neighbors think.

Now, what is the balanced view to take toward one’s neighbor?

All things considered, neighbors are good to have.

So often it turns out that we need them.

In emergencies they are often the first to respond.

A bond of mutual protection can build up.

You look after their interests when they are away, and they do the same for you.

When you leave on an extended trip, it is good to know that someone will keep an eye on things for you.

How pleasant, too, to exchange a few words with them morning or evening and, on the basis of what you learn about them, practice empathy in your dealings with them!

However, worrying about what the neighbors think is quite a different matter.

It is amazing what such worry can make one do.

There is the neighbor, for example, who insists that her family keep their conversations to a whisper for fear the noise will bother the neighbor.

If they do raise their voices, she begins closing all the windows.

In other households where worry about neighbors is evident, the front lawn and the back garden become merely ornamental but useless places.

Why?

Because to spend time in either would put one under the critical eyes of the neighbors.

This preoccupation with what the neighbors think can also drive one into a financial risky way of life.

Great numbers of people strive to put on as good a front as the neighbor, having just as good a car, just as big a TV aerial, and so on.

Advertising capitalizes on this inclination, stimulating one’s desire for things that are really “status symbols.”

Therefore, many a people have become engulfed in debt due to efforts to keep up with the joneses.

How frustrating it can be to be caught in this very common snare!

But what about your neighbor?

Who are they?

For the most part they are simply other people very much like yourself.

Financially, they may not be any better off than you yourself.

If they do possess a lot of material things, much more than you do, don’t forget that a large percentage of the population is struggling to keep above water, so to speak, as they pay and pay and pay for the things they purchased on credit.

If you were to have a talk with them you would doubtless find that they respects you if you are one who has not been drawn into the scramble for status symbols.

There are times, however, when we should care about what the neighbors think.

Why?

Because you are not an extremists.

An exaggerated indifference over the folks next door can produce bad results.

This may be the real reason why some people refuse to invite to their home neighbors who are poor, or of some other nationality, race or religion.

However, if you are doing what is right, then there is no reason to worry over what the neighbors think.

In fact, if they are upright people, your good example will move them to speak well of you.

And decent people will admire your dignity and admire it when you display it in their neighborhood.

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Why having a good sense of humor makes sense?

Barack Obama humor mimics of Mckayla Maroney.

Good sense of humor

The possession of a good sense of humor makes sense.

It has always been rewarding.

And today, do not comedians and humorists earn large salaries?

Why, some writers of humorous lines for popular comedies earns million dollars a year, and that for writing but three to four minutes of dialogue each week.

No question about it, a keen sense of humor is rewarding financially.

A sense of humor is also rewarding in other respects.

It contributes to good relations with others, helps you to win friends and to keep them.

It has a salutary effect upon both mind and body, helping one to have peace of mind, health and happiness.

Why, just smiling has a beneficial effect upon the nervous system.

Try it right now. SMILE! OR LAUGH!

A woman smiling.

Do you not at once feel better?

That a sense of humor can help in this way is apparent from what Abraham Lincoln, American president of a century ago, once said:

With the fearful strain that is on me night and day as I was directing a life-and-death struggle for the survival of his nation-“if I did not laugh I should die.”

Though a very serious man, he deliberately injected humor into situations so as to relieve the strain.

One of America’s foremost humorists, Mark Twain, also demonstrates this philosophy.

His sense of humor made him famous, but he let it serve in the place of an abiding faith in God.

Well has it been said that “for health and constant enjoyment of life, give me a keen and ever present sense of humor; it is the next best thing to an abiding faith in providence.”

Regardless of the role you play in life, to have a sense of humor makes sense.

It will help you to level out the “mole hills” of the daily petty annoyances, mishaps, inconveniences and frustrations that come your way instead of making mountains out of them.

A sense of humor might be said to be a form of empathy or fellow feeling.

Even as this enables you to “weep with people who weep,” so a sense of humor will enable you to ‘laugh with people who laugh,’ and that though the joke may be on yourself.

A sense of humor might therefore be said to enable one to turn loss into profit.

To be able to laugh when you yourself are the victim of a ludicrous situation is a good sign.

It shows that you do not have too high an opinion of yourself, that you do not take yourself too seriously, are not vain or overly sensitive.

Of course, there is more than one kind of humor.

Strictly speaking, humor is wholesome, indicates a love of humanity and a certain amount of broad-mindedness and insight.

Because of this a distinction is made between wit and humor.

Wit is of the head; humor, more of the heart, although it also involves the head.

Wit laughs at people, as when it ridicules them or plays “practical jokes” on them.

Humor laughs with people, because it loves them and enjoys seeing them happy, even at the cost of one’s own vanity.

As with everything else, humor has its tit times and places.

Humor for its own sake has no place in a public funeral.

Neither is humor fitting when reproof is administered, by either the reprover or the one reproved.

The force of it is lost when humor enters into the situation.

Then is the time for all, especially the recipient of the reproof, to be serious, grave, sober, taking to heart the reproof.

Any other attitude would be tantamount to belittling the correction.

With some, humor comes naturally.

With others, it comes less readily.

If you are among the latter, put forth an effort to cultivate it.

Let your heart go out to your humans and try to see the amusing aspect of life’s little vicissitudes.

SMILE! for a sense of humor makes sense!

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How to make luxuries worth their price?

A woman enjoying her luxurious vacation.

You cannot escape it, everything has its price, luxuries certainly do.

But are luxuries worth their price?

Some hold that all luxuries are sinful. Others live for them.

What are luxuries?

Enjoying the luxurious taste of exotic wine.

The word 'luxury' comes from a root meaning “excess.”

All commodities are said to be either luxuries or necessities.

The general view of necessities, however, is that they include, not only the bare essentials for existence, but also what custom and rules of decency have rendered necessary.

Thus butter on your bread and sugar in your coffee, although not absolute necessities, are, nevertheless, not generally considered luxuries.

The term “luxury” is a relative one.

That is, something’s being a luxury often depends upon circumstances.

For example, food and drink are necessities, but certain foods and beverages may be luxuries in some localities, while they are everyday fare elsewhere.

In some countries, for example, wine with one’s meals would be considered a necessity; in other countries it may be called a luxury.

Likewise, for one person any automobile may be a foolish luxury; another may view the very best as a necessity in his case.

Each government has its own ideas as to what are luxuries and taxes accordingly​.

Consider with what lavish is bestowed upon humans by the beauties of nature!

These may be said to be luxuries, for you could exist without them.

If you were dying from hunger or thirst, they would be of little use.

But once you have life’s necessities, how much such beauties, such luxuries, if you please, add to your joy of living!

Making luxuries worth their price

Eating out and having a good time.

Are luxuries worth their price?

Obviously, but only if you keep them in their place.

They make enjoyable slaves but wretched taskmasters.

Luxuries are worth the price if not obtained at the sacrifice of necessities and if used in moderation.

Luxuries can also be worth the price if prompted by an unselfish motive.

As a husband you may take your wife out to dinner or some entertainment as a special treat.

The dinner may cost from two to five times as much as it would have had it been prepared at home.

But occasionally, as an expression of appreciation of your wife’s cooking, you can let her enjoy the luxury of a meal she herself did not have to prepare.

That luxury is worth its price.

Or you may give a friend a bottle of liqueur, one that you would not think of buying for yourself.

A luxury? Yes.

Worth the price? Absolutely!

Yes, a generous impulse may be a costly luxury and yet fully worth the price.

But luxuries are not worth the price if the motive for indulging in them is rivalry, trying to keep up with the joneses, seeking status.

Neither are they worth the price if they run you into debt, causing you to worry and to work overtime.

And when persons resort to illicit means, such as shoplifting, burglary, embezzlement or gambling, to satisfy their craving for luxuries, they certainly are wrong.

Neither are luxuries worth the price if that price is your health.

Luxurious living as to food and drink often results in obesity, diabetes, stomach, liver or kidney ailments.

Luxuries definitely are not worth the price if they deaden your concern for others.

How much better to forego the luxuries and to share with one’s friends!

Yes, even when one’s friend is not in dire need, greater joy may be derived from sharing what you have with him or her than from saving to indulge in a luxury alone.

The infinite variety and manifold beauties of nature testify to the fact that luxuries are there to augment human happiness.

But they are worth the price only if there is a right motive, if wisdom directs and moderation controls, for only then can they make you happy.

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