One of the advantages of being young is that you have recovery time. If you make a dumb mistake you often have the time to make up for it. I’ve made some financial decisions that I regret. I’ve passed by some opportunities that I wish I hadn’t.
However, one of the (fewer) advantages of being older is that hindsight is always much clearer. I once heard that smart people learn from their mistakes, but wise people learn from the mistakes of others. Oh, yeah – and fools never learn. I suppose I should admit to being more in the smart group than the wise one. But I have learned some things that are valuable along the way.
Hopefully I can help you join one of the first two groups on some issues.
- Mind reading. Guys, don’t try to read her mind. You will get it wrong. Her girlfriends probably won’t, but you will. Ask for clarification. Women, don’t expect your man to read your mind. He will get it wrong and you will think he doesn’t care. He does care, he’s just clueless. Let him know what you need. And if he does it, let it count. The same thing applies in reverse.
- Impatience. One of the ways you can know if you are practicing mind reading is that you try to finish your mates’ sentences for them. Or maybe you are impatient. Be respectful and allow your beloved to move at their pace. If they are unusually slow, offer to assist in whatever way you can without being critical.
- Telling the other person how they feel. This bad habit is annoying and also related to mind reading, but more toxic. The other person will feel parented, not cared for. Even worse, if they tell you how they feel, don’t tell them they shouldn’t feel that way. Again, they will feel discounted and parented.
- Labeling. This is the layman’s (should I say lay person’s?) version of what a professional does, minus the training. It’s a form of diagnosing. From a spiritual standpoint we might call it judging. “You are compulsive.” You are impatient” You are self-centered” It sounds critical, and it is. People often have a hard time breaking free from labels, especially when they correspond to ones given to them by parents or other authority figures.
- Profanity. We often use the terms cussing or swearing to describe this destructive habit. (Actually swearing is a form of promising.) Here is a definition of profane: to treat (something sacred) with abuse, irreverence, or contempt. Is this how we want to treat someone who God has given to us? Do we want to treat anyone like that? Do we want to profane marriage or treat it as sacred? How about your children? Do you want to treat them profanely? Words once spoken are impossible to retract.
Psalm 19:14 (NKJV)
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.