Are You A Fair-Weather Friend?

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Fair-weather friend: A friend who supports others only when it is easy and convenient to do so: “I thought Jane would always stick by me, but when I got into trouble, she turned out to be a fair-weather friend.”

You’ve probably had some. Hopefully you haven’t been one. But odds are, you treat yourself like this all the time. Let me explain.

When you do well at work, spend quality time with family, make smart health choices, stay within your budget, make time to rest and recharge, you probably give yourself a pat on the back. But when you struggle with work, neglect your family, make dumb health choices, overspend, or burn out, your inner critic yells, “You idiot. You blew it again. You’ll never get this. You’re worthless. Why even try?”

Sound familiar? Perhaps not, but that’s the running dialogue for a lot of us.

If you had a friend who was only supportive when you were succeeding and always critical or absent when you were struggling, would you keep hanging out? I hope not.

Yet many of us never break from the fair-weather friend within us. We allow the lies, discouragement, negativity, and conditional love to remain. As a result, we’re never at peace.

When you’re having a hard day, what you need most from yourself is compassion, not judgement. When you mess up again, what you need most from yourself is encouragement, not criticism.

Many of us never learn how to actually be kind to ourselves. So we look to others for affirmation or try to numb our pain in destructive ways.

And ironically, we tell ourselves that this lack of self-support somehow makes us stronger. As if hurting ourselves was somehow helping. How’s that working for you?

Think of someone you really love. Would you want them to talk to themselves the way you talk to yourself? Why not? Give yourself a break. You are a human being. Imperfect. In progress. On the journey. Welcome to the club.

Are you ready to move forward? Here’s how to ditch your inner fair-weather friend:

  1. Believe the truth that you are deserving of love.
  2. Reject the lie that you are deserving of hate.
  3. Support yourself when you are struggling.

As you do these, you will discover that self-compassion makes you stronger, not weaker. Your personal growth will accelerate instead of stall. And you will actually become a kinder, more generous person because you’ve learned how to love yourself.

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Rainy Day Kate

On making time for what matters most.

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Last year a family friend gifted us with a book called Rainy Day Kate. We’d never heard of it, but it was so nice of her to think of us and our daughter.

It quickly became my favorite children’s book ever. I love the writing, the illustrations, the emphasis on creativity, the way our daughter believes she is the main character and the boy is her brother Leo.

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Kate likes it too. She’s got most of it memorized and I suspect she is growing tired of me suggesting it. Thankfully, the library is full of other options. The thing about her is that she’s so naturally busy and task-oriented that reading is a just a really great way for us to get some quality time together.

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We have very similar personalities. To illustrate, some of my goals this year include slowing down, laughing more, and becoming more realistic about how much I can achieve on a given day. No one has to push me to produce. I need to work on rest, being kind to myself, sustainable pace.

One of my core practices is the daily review. I make time to look back on my wins and losses, do an emotional check-in, and set priorities for the upcoming day.

It’s amazing how often God highlights meaningful interactions with my wife and kids as my biggest wins – above anything I achieve personally or professionally. It only goes to show that love is the most important thing and that ultimately, to win at work but lose at home is to fail at both.

When I’m gone my kids won’t care about how many house projects I completed or what career advancements I made. They’ll remember how accessible I was, how present I was, how I made them feel, how I spent my time. They’ll think about my character and the way I followed God.

We all get our identity from something. Often, it’s the wrong thing.

Are you making time for what matters most?

 

Think Different

Who we put on a pedestal matters because our heroes shape our aspirations and our aspirations shape our lives.

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“If I could give epic keynotes, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I created the world’s most loved products, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I was one of the wealthiest people on the planet, but I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-7;13 Dave’s New Living Translation

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When Steve Jobs died and an outpouring of 9/11-like memorializing broke out around the world, I had to bite my tongue.

It was too soon (or perhaps too late) to point out that the emperor had no clothes. And let’s be honest. If I’d tried, the Cult of Mac would have likely lynched me.

But I wasn’t alone. Some had been already begun revealing the inconsistencies, the hypocrisy, the downright shadiness of this man who’d trained us to bow in his shadow.

There were rumors, allegations, investigations. But most people didn’t want to hear it. They were already in bed with Apple and were angry at anyone who dared insult their lover.

Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine explores all this and more. Like most documentaries, it’s a bit of an overreach, but perhaps that’s what we need to bring balance to the force.

In it, we learn what kind of person Jobs was, what kind of relationships he had, and what kind of business he built. In a nutshell: his products were pretty; he was not.

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You’d think people would have caught on by now. Yet to this day, when business leaders are asked about who and what they aspire to, Jobs and Apple consistently top the list. What they’re unwittingly declaring is: I will betray, manipulate, intimidate, lie to, use, and trample as many people as necessary to get to the top. The ends always justify the means. I will be number one, and don’t you dare get in my way.

If Steve Jobs had been the person he was without creating the products he did, few would have cried when he died.

Some quotes:

“People were not connected to him because of his character.”

“When I was writing critical [and true] stories about Apple, the mail would be 80% hate mail.”

“Is making and selling products, even if they’re the best, enough to make the world a better place?”

Who we put on a pedestal matters because our heroes shape our aspirations and our aspirations shape our lives.

According to Jesus (who knew a bit more than Jobs), true success is defined by love. When asked what was most important, he replied,

“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 23:37;39

Even Christians are quick to miss this point. We too get caught up in false definitions of success, pursuing bigger and better (for God’s glory of course – cough, cough) when all God’s asked us to do is believe, love, and obey.

Maybe it’s time we started looking for better role models and began asking ourselves some tough questions, like:

  • How does my definition of success line up with God’s?
  • What am I building with my life? Will it count for eternity?
  • How well am I loving God and others each day?
  • Who am I when no one’s looking?

You probably won’t create the next Apple or be the next Steve Jobs, and that’s okay. Because at the end of the day it’s about how well you receive and give love.