By Judi Light Hopson, Emma H. Hopson and Ted Hagen Tribune News Service.
Are you one of those idealists who would like to see more harmony in the world? You know how this goes. You hear strange comments about other people, and you know these comments aren't fair.
We live in a world where gender, nationality and race may always be an issue.
For example, one of our friends adopted a daughter from Russia in 1998. Our other friends still refer to her as "the child from Russia."
Molly, another friend of ours, attended a high school football practice where the coach kept saying, "You all play like a bunch of girls!"
Molly got upset about the comment, because the coach was painting women as weak, she told us.
Most of us realize we have to use a sense of humor, or we'd be in a dogfight over hurtful comments every time we turn around.
Whether we are African American, Asian, Caucasian, middle class, rich, poor, tall or short, we hear judgmental remarks coming at us all day long.
One male friend of ours actually believes his wife "gets lucky breaks" because she looks a lot like Diana Ross. But we know better. People love her because she is highly intelligent, thoughtful and kind, and very willing to help her colleagues.
The only power we have to gain respect ourselves is to boost other people up. After all, it's the language we put out into the universe that has the real power. Body language, voice tone and positive words will take you a long, long way.
These tips can help all of us infuse more harmony into the universe:
-Make friends with people of all races, if possible. You are missing out on a lot if you don't know people from various cultures. They have a lot to teach you.
-Realize that men and women think and feel differently. Don't try to understand it all. Embrace the differences and avoid making the differences an issue of irritation. Again, humor helps.
-Be thankful all people are different. This means some are willing to build roads and bridges, while you perform a desk job. Keep in mind that if everyone were just like you, the world would likely not function properly.
"I got really upset with a TV preacher the other day," says a women we'll call Jackie. "He was saying women should be submissive and obey their husbands. My husband was laughing at me, because I was yelling at this preacher and calling him names!"
Jackie goes on to say that she finally realized she was wasting her time. "I can't take it upon myself to fix any preacher or his followers. I just have to worry about my relationship with my own husband. He treats me as an equal, and he doesn't try to boss me around."
A psychologist we know deals with a lot of clients who have anger issues. We'll call the psychologist Angela. Angela asks her clients to keep a diary of the good vibes they've put out in the universe on a given day. This forces them to reflect on how they've managed themselves.
"I work with clients who are raging inside," says Angela. "Most of this comes from being treated unfairly by someone, whether it's a past lover or a co-worker. I have my clients focus on themselves, rather than fixing the world around them. We can't enjoy our lives unless we control our inner harmony." ___ (Judi Light Hopson is the Executive Director of the stress management website USA Wellness Cafe at www.usawellnesscafe.com . Emma Hopson is an author and a nurse educator. Ted Hagen is a family psychologist.)