Wednesday, April 4, 2007

In His Own Words - Life's Little Instructions For Relationships

One of the most incredible character traits that Jamin possessed was that of self-improvement. He was continually looking for ways to be a better person than the already much loved person that he was.

I have always been amazed (and, yes, a little jealous) by the relationships that Jamin formed throughout his life with family, friends, girlfriends, and even simple acquaintances. He seemed to know and be known by some truly incredible people, seemingly without much effort on his part. However, I recently have come to realize that it wasn't out of coincidence. Jamin actively pursued relationships with people that he knew would challenge him - both by what they could teach him and by what he could teach them (which he saw as an equally important and often more rewarding challenge). It seemed that nice, intellectual, funny, wise, encouraging people flocked to him exponentially as the years went by. With each new year Jamin became a more likeable person - the kind of person that everyone enjoys being around (including myself). It was, however, only due to a great deal of risk, failure and determination on his part that a better understanding of relationships developed and was put into practice.

Case and point: Below is a list that we found in a notebook from his apartment written in his own handwriting and entitled "Life's Little Instructions For Relationships." Although I am sure that he picked up many of these ideas from other sources the fact that he remembered their advice well enough to include it as part of his own speaks enough for itself. I think that even if we all take only one or two of these to heart we will all be better people than we are today:

[Jamin's] Life's Little Instructions For Relationships
  1. Marry only for love.
  2. Keep several irons in the fire.
  3. Be alert for opportunities to show praise and appreciation.
  4. Don't make the same mistake twice.
  5. Give people the benefit of the doubt.
  6. Watch for big problems. They disguise big opportunities.
  7. Don't insist on running someone else's life.
  8. Don't rain on other people's parades.
  9. Don't miss the magic of the moment by focusing on what's to come.
  10. Look for opportunities to make people feel important.
  11. Send your loved one flowers. Think of a reason later.
  12. Don't be afraid to say, "I made a mistake."
  13. Don't be afraid to say, "I'm sorry."
  14. Never compromise your integrity.
  15. Never underestimate the power of a kind word or deed.
  16. Don't allow self-pity. The moment this emotion strikes, do something nice for someone less fortunate than you.
  17. Be enthusiastic about the success of others.
  18. When you and your wife have a disagreement, regardless of who's wrong, apologize. Say, "I'm sorry I upset you. Would you forgive me?" These are healing, magical words.
  19. Stay out of night clubs.
  20. Never give a love one a gift that suggests they need improvement.
  21. Compliment even small improvements.
  22. Understand that happiness is not based on possessions, power, or prestige, but on relationships with people you love and respect.
  23. Save an evening a week for just you and your wife.
  24. Take charge of your attitude. Don't let someone else choose it for you.
  25. Every day look for some small way to improve your marriage.
  26. Be there when people need you.
  27. To explain a romantic break-up, simply say, "it was all my fault."
  28. Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
  29. Never walk out on a quarrel with your wife.
  30. Instead of using the words, "if only," try substituting the words, "next time."
  31. Instead of using the word "problem," try substituting the word "opportunity."
  32. Ever so often push your luck.
  33. Live your life as an exclamation, not an explanation.
  34. Learn to disagree without being disagreeable.
  35. Hear both sides before judging.
  36. Refrain from envy. It's the source of much unhappiness.
  37. Never underestimate the power of love.
  38. Never underestimate the power of forgiveness.
  39. Remember that a successful marriage depends on two things: (1) Finding the right person and (2) Being the right person.
  40. See problems as opportunities for growth and self-mastery
  41. Accept pain and disappointment as part of life.
  42. Practice empathy. Try to see things from other people's points of view.
  43. Get and stay in shape.
  44. Never underestimate your power to change yourself.
  45. never overestimate your power to change others.
  46. Not matter how dire the situation, keep your cool.
  47. When facing a difficult task, act as though it is impossible to fail. if you're going after Moby Dick, take along tartar sauce.
  48. Don't whine.
  49. Every day show your family how much you love them with your words, with your touch, and with your thoughtfulness.
  50. Learn to show cheerfulness, even when you don't feel like it.
  51. Learn to show enthusiasm, even when you don't feel like it.
  52. Take good care of those you love.
  53. Never cut what can be untied.
  54. Be willing to lose a battle in order to win the war.
  55. See out the good in people.
  56. When someone hugs you, let them be the first to let go.
  57. Have impeccable manners.
  58. Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.
  59. Never tell anyone they loo tired or depressed.
  60. Swing for the fence.
  61. Don't be called out on strikes. Go down swinging.
  62. Don't forget, a person's greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.
  63. Be romantic.
  64. never take action when you're angry.
  65. Be your wife's best friend.
  66. Be kinder than necessary.
  67. Choose your life's mate carefully. From this one decision will come ninety percent of all your happiness or misery.
  68. Slow dance.
  69. In business and in family relationships, remember that the most important thing is trust.
  70. Never forget your anniversary.
  71. Admit your mistakes.
  72. make the best of bad situations.
  73. Surprise loved ones with little unexpected gifts.
  74. Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every area of your life.
  75. never give up on anybody. Miracles happen every day.
  76. Make new friends but cherish the old ones.
  77. Be forgiving of yourself and others.
  78. Look people in the eye.
  79. Say "thank you" a lot.
  80. Say "please" a lot.
  81. Learn to play a musical instrument.
  82. Watch a sunrise a least once a year.
  83. Remember other people's birthdays.

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