My kind and patient husband and I continue to learn each other’s love languages, the constant care and feeding of one another, how we each deal with stress, etc. This was a busy week for us both. We were gone last weekend and leaving town again this weekend. Between clients, I’m running errands for my business as well as my personal life. Scheduling appointments, painting a bedroom, planning travel, managing my staff, running to meetings, and so on, is exasperating. Stressed, exhausted and under pressure, I catch myself straying from the advice I give clients on how to manage stress-related conflict. I used to think love alone was the key to successful relationships, but I’ve changed my mind. It starts with three little words.
Between social media and news, we’re bombarded with conflict. In fact, negative emotions are at record levels across the globe. Interpersonal tension is inescapable. It’s stressful. Interactions with perfect strangers can have us walking on eggshells. We’ve all seen how one misstep can set off a firestorm of public shaming. I’m not talking about political correctness. I’m referring to basic respect. Three octogenarian strangers in a waiting room agreed, and shared some age-old lessons for fostering respect in our polarized world.
Our world grieves the loss of Senator John McCain, an extraordinary American war hero and political maverick. Regardless of whether our political convictions aligned with his, most agree Senator McCain leaves a legacy of courage, perseverance, civility and service. He reminded us of radical ideals binding US citizens, "Despite our differences, much more unites us than divides us. We are fellow Americans, and that's an association that means more to me than any other." In a chance encounter, he revealed his humble character to me. From that fortuitous meeting, I gleaned a transformative lesson.