The good, bad and ugly
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We hear a lot of talk about how to keep our heart healthy. Eat right, exercise, take one aspirin a day, eat foods low in cholesterol, get plenty of rest and the list goes on. Just as we have information to help us keep our heart healthy, there are also certain things that we know about relationships that keep them "heart healthy."

Today, people are so busy with work, children, extracurricular activities and who knows what else, that family members are like ships passing in the night. Our relationships pay the price for such a busy lifestyle.
In order to build healthy relationships one has to be intentional and committed. That is hard, sometimes we just let words fly out of our mouths without thinking.

Heart healthy relationships have certain characteristics, which include:

Humor when used appropriately can help defuse a potentially volatile situation. It has been said that laughter is good for the soul and good medicine. It is also good for relationships. In today's culture many people have unrealistic expectations of their mate and their children. Pushing children to excel, stressful jobs, competitive sports and life in general contribute to problems. Learning to keep things in perspective and asking the question, what is important in the long run? The answer to that question can help shed light on what really matters in your life. Most would agree that the relationship between child and parent or spouse is much more important than straight A's or a spotless house. Grades are important, but help children by teaching rather than "Tolding". Encourage them to try new things and/or food, but don't force something they really don't like or have a fear, example "green beans", not the most nutritious, but baked beans are better for us, more fiber and nutrients and if prepared with lots of ingredients, they "taste far better", tried making BarBQ Green Beans once, still green beans.

Sometimes people get so involved in "doing" life that they forget to appreciate the people they care about the most. When is the last time you sent a card to a friend for no reason or told your spouse you appreciate him/her for all he/she does for your marriage and family without adding "I only wish . . . " Have you ever told your child you are honored to be their parent? If you have grandchildren, maybe you want to say to them you have such good parents or maybe you should tell your adult children they are being good parents.

Experts suggest that you never second-guess your spouse in front of the children or anyone else. If you want your children to learn how to treat others with respect you must model it for them. That means talking to each other appropriately and not talking bad about your spouse to a third party. Try asking yourself-"Is what I am about to do or say going to build up this person or tear them down?" This is also true for clubs and organizations, church groups. Self-esteem and self-worth are always in our day of activities, self-worth how valuable am I to a situation and self-esteem, how good do I feel about what I do. We can work really hard on FCE meeting minutes or dinner for our family and the very minute they are read or people look and smell the food, people find fault and say it out loud. We have to fix our self-esteem with the self-worth we have remembering we are an extremely valuable person to the organization, group or family.

We have to be able to take things in stride and not let the good, bad, ugly or indifferent get to our self-esteem. We are respected for our value as a person and to the group and our


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