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Posted Tuesday, February 10, 2009, at 12:10 PM


by Lisa Earle McLeod


You know it's bad when you start practicing the speeches.

You know, the little speeches you rehearse in your head for the grand and glorious moment when you finally get to tell so-and-so what you really think about them.

Your monologue gets more brilliant each day as you practice it over and over again in you car or shower, clarifying your thoughts, honing your points, preparing for that big day when you finally let them have it.

The stunning clarity and accuracy with which you deliver your soliloquy will be amazing. It's fantasy you can practically taste, that beautiful moment when you finally take the filters off and confront them with the truth.

The truth about their selfishness and dysfunctions.

Or the way they misrepresent facts and manipulate others into taking their side.

Or how they blame everyone else for their problems and refuse to take responsibility for their own self-created mess.

Or the way they conveniently rewrite history to suit their story and get away with it because nobody is willing to call them on their lies.

Or how they hurt people and don't even seem to care.

Oh, it will be a moment alright. Because once you finally speak the truth, there can be no more denials; because, as everyone knows, there is no defense against the truth - the real truth that is.

In fact, they will probably be rendered absolutely speechless, because they've finally been outed.

No more manipulating, no more game playing, no more falsehoods, and no more lies.

Now, thanks to you, they have been exposed and the whole world knows who and what they really are.

We've all been there.

Scheming and dreaming about how satisfying it would be to call so-and-so on the carpet for their wicked ways.

Whether it's the crazy sister-in-law, the negative co-worker or the selfish spouse, there's nothing like the dysfunctions of others to bring out the beast in us.

And what makes us even crazier is the way everybody else lets them get away with it. It's almost like no one but us is willing to see the truth.

So we rehearse the speeches, savoring the righteousness of our words as we turn them over and over again in our mind, dreaming of the day when we can expose the evil one. So that God and everybody else will finally know the true nature of their wrongs.

Well, guess what? God already knows.

God knows all about their silly little games. Just like God knows all about your silly little games, and my silly little games, and all the other ways that we human beings make each other nuts.

But God - and feel free to apply that term as literally, conceptually, specifically or vaguely as you like - has decided to love them anyway. Because the mind of God is large enough to hold a person's negative behavior and their positive attributes, at the same time.

And therein lies the problem. We human beings think in terms of either/or, but God created a world of AND.

As in we're selfish and we're selfless; we're kind and we're mean; we're judgmental and forgiving, each and every one of us.

Nobody is all good or all bad, and alerting the world to the flaws of others never changes things at all.

So the next time you start practicing your speech, you might want to ask yourself what little speech might someone be preparing for you?

Lisa Earle McLeod is a keynote speaker, author and nationally syndicated columnist. Her books include "Forget Perfect" and "Finding Grace When You Can't Even Find Clean Underwear." Contact her at www.ForgetPerfect.com.

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Angst is in the air: Be careful it's catching
Lisa Earle McLeod
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I can't take any more. The economy is tanking, the election is endless, and now it looks like I might have to sell my blood if I want to keep my kids in mac 'n cheese. Oh, and did I mention that, thanks to falling house prices, I probably owe more on my home than it's actually worth? I want to go back to bed, pull the covers over my head and have somebody wake me up when my 401(k) bounces back. I don't know about you, but I'm finding myself so jittery about, well everything, that it's all I can do to surf the net. Kind of ironic, isn't it? I should be working more, but I'm so anxious about my finances that I'm actually working less. Alas, such is the world of grown-ups - stress, anxiety, depression. And to think that I wasted much of my childhood wishing I could be in charge of my own life. Why in the heck did I ever think that was a good idea? Give me a few cookies, a blankey and a nice place to lie down and I swear I'll never complain about an early bedtime again. These are tough times indeed. Even if you're still OK, you'd have to be one cold, hard, rich person to stay immune to all the angst in the air. So how do you cope? How do you get through today when you're so worried about tomorrow that you can't see straight? I overheard a news commentator say that people are thinking twice before they go out to eat or buy new clothes. I'm guessing that those are the people who still have jobs. Because the people without jobs aren't spending a nickel on anything except cheap carbs and keeping a roof over their heads. Yet as depressing as our collective and individual situations may be, the last thing we need to do is let our fear get the best of us. If you spend all day quaking and anxious, guess who wins? The fear. Yes, I know FDR had a roof over his head when he said "we have nothing to fear but fear itself," but he was right. Every moment you waste paralyzed with fear is a moment you could be doing something, or resting up so that you can do something tomorrow. It's been said that there are only two emotions, love and fear, and all the other emotions are derivatives of those. So I'd like to make a suggestion. Let's chose love. Let's decide to love each other and to love ourselves, no matter what happens. And if you're really a Pollyanna, perhaps you'll join me in deciding to love the fact that this crisis is serving as a call for us to become our better selves; a call for us to look within and rid ourselves of consumerism, greed and the need to keep up with the Jones; and a call for us to have more empathy for those who are struggling. Maybe this is a chance for all of us - and I include myself - to decide that we love our country and we love our fellow human beings more than we love our stuff. Yeah, I know it sounds hokey. But you don't change your circumstances until you change the thoughts that created them. Cowering under the covers in fear may feel safer. But in a crisis, the truly powerful response is love. (c) Copyright 2008, by Lisa Earle McLeod. All rights reserved. Lisa Earle McLeod is a keynote speaker, author and nationally syndicated columnist. Her books include "Forget Perfect" and "Finding Grace When You Can't Even Find Clean Underwear." Contact her at www.ForgetPerfect.com.