Between A Rock and Deer Place

Deer Raymond,

Lately it seems like everyone is so rude or mean to everyone else. People call each other names, say unfair things, or just really use words that hurt each other. Some people I really care about have used words to hurt me. It feels like we are a whole culture that just wants to throw rocks at each other

I try to be kind, even though I’m also really hurt. But, really, I don’t know what to do about this.

Signed,

Bruised in Blountville

Dear Blue,

I’m sorry this is happening to you, and I’m sorry it’s happening in the world. You know what the weird part is? When you talk to people individually and say, “Would you like to live in a place where people call names and bully other people?” They always say, “No!”

See – most people don’t really want it to be this way, they just get caught up in what others are doing. Soon, the whole world is full of rocks.

There are two things to do when you see other people, even teachers or leaders, bullying others or calling them names. First, it’s okay to say, “That’s not helpful” or “That’s not appropriate.” Don’t get in a fight about what they are saying, there’s no point. Until we stop hurting each other, we can’t really listen to each other – so getting into the right and wrong of it just keeps the cycle going. Simply let them know the way they are saying things is hurtful and you can’t really lsten or have a discussion until that changes.

The second thing to do is figure out what to do with all the stones that were thrown at you. See, when I was just a young deer learning to fly, I made a lot of mistakes and fell down a lot. There was this other guy who had been flying for a long time and he started saying things like “Way to go Sidewalk Stan” or “You should deliver pizza cause you end up flat.” It really bothered me.

Then, one day my flight coach told me s story about this little deer who had to work really hard to learn how to take off. He would wind up with his antlers stick in trees, and almost went off a cliff. All the other deer teased him. Guess what? It was that guy! See – he still had all those rocks that had been thrown at him, so he was just throwing them at someone else. That doesn’t make it okay – he should learn to do something else with them, but it helps explain it.

What can you do when people throw rocks at you? Build something out of them. Like a deep well that goes to your heart and helps you know what they are saying is wrong and you are worthy and loved. Or maybe a ladder that you can use for motivation to say better words and bring more hope to the world. Or maybe a bridge – so you can connect with supportive people who can help with your wounds and feelings.

The truth is, words are like anything else in the world – they can be weapons or they can be tools. You don’t get to choose the words others use (you can choose not to listen) but you do get to choose what you do with them.

Your building buddy,

Raymond

Right as Reindeer

Deer Raymond,

I have a friend who I really like but that friend thinks the very opposite about me in some ways.  My friend posts some of his ideas on social media and I just want to scream, ‘YOU’RE WRONG, YOU’RE WRONG.” But, I don’t say anything cause I know all his friends would get mad at me, and my friends would get mad at them, and it would be nothing but a fight. I don’t want to lose my friend. Still, I feel really bad when I see some things he says that seem mean or just plain wrong. Should I say something to him or just stuff my feelings and pretend I don’t care?

Signed,

So Tired of the Crap

Dear Need-A-Break, 

There are a lot of really serious and sad things happening in our world right now. Because we aren’t very good at feeling serious or sad, we handle the situation by choosing one side or the other so we feel less vulnerable or alone. The problem is, when we do that – we all end up divided. 

When someone you care about has ideas that belong to “the other side” it can be really hard.  You can’t believe they think like that! And you know what? They feel the same way about you. So the space between people keeps getting bigger.  It’s crazy to think we are going to believe the same about everything. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t be friends.  

All reindeer are taught a set of core values so when we work together we understand and feel proud of what we are doing. We learn things like equality, compassion, washing your hooves before you eat, and saying “excuse me” if you accidently antler someone in the back while you’re getting on the deerscalator.  One of the most important things we learn is generosity. 

When you see a friend whose ideas offend or upset you, ask yourself if you can be generous in the situation.  Generosity is NOT pretending to agree with something you don’t agree with, or acting like it doesn’t matter.  Real generosity the finding a solution that gives to them. What can you give to someone whose ideas really push your buttons?

1. Your truth.  Keep your truth simple and remember it is your truth, not “the-only-ever-right-truth.”
  “I don’t feel that way.”  
“In my experience, this situation looks like this to me…”  
“I feel sad when I saw this meme because I think about…”  
By keeping it non-aggressive, and about your truth, you can express your opinions. 

2. Their dignity. No one likes to be called out in front of their friends. In fact, calling out isn’t really helpful. It just makes people embarrassed, which makes them feel MORE vulnerable and they put up more defenses.  So, if you really have to say something, do it in a private message – or if they are good friend – text or call or have lunch.  Say, “I was really upset by what you said, and I want to understand.”  No situation gets better by making someone feel bad.

3. Space to be. Sometimes I see a post and I just stick my nose in a bag of corn and say, “Oh, I can’t even…”  With thoughts like that – the most generous thing I can do is give them space, without me in it. That doesn’t mean breaking off the whole friendship. It means scrolling past and looking at something else or taking a break from that person’s feed.  You aren’t abandoning the entire world to the flames just because you don’t make a comment. Give them their space, and make your space a good place.

My “rule of hoof” for friends on Deerbook is this: You don’t have to agree with me, but you do have to respect me and my right to be me.  Give others that same right.

When you really get tired: turn off the machines, get some rest, and play some reindeer games. You’ll be back to good in no time!

Your Spacious Friend,

Raymond

Rainy Deers and Mondays

Deer Raymond,

It’s been raining a lot lately, and rain always makes be feel kinda blue. There’s no real reason but I think about things that make me a little sad or the rain just makes things seem so gray. When I tell my friends that, they are always trying to cheer me up. “Think happy thoughts!” or “Keep you chin up” or “Lets go to a movie” – it’s like I can’t just be sad. I know they mean well, but how do I tell them I don’t want to be cheered up?

Signed,

Rain Delay Doris

Dear Reindrop,

I know it’s hard to believe because I’m normally such a happy little deer, but sometimes I feel a little down too. That doesn’t mean I’m not still happy or my life isn’t good, it just means sometimes I have other feelings going on and I want to express them. I usually grab a couple cookies and some tissues and just take some time alone. Letting myself feel what I really feel makes me feel better in the long run.

Some people are raised with a fear of being sad. Maybe they were told it means they are weak, or maybe someone said they didn’t have a good reason to cry (which is crazy! You don’t need a REASON to feel anything – you can just feel it). So they become afraid of their feelings, then when they see someone else have them – they are afraid for them too.

I think the best thing to do with friends is just be honest and say, “Rain always makes me feel a little sad, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ll go to the movies another time. Right now, I just want a cup of tea.” You DO drink tea when it rains, don’t you? That’s the best! Or hot chocolate and gingerbread, but that might just be a north pole thing. Anyway – don’t feel bad about how you feel. Just feel it. Before you know it – it will change.

Your Rainy Day Friend,

Raymond

The Deer in the Mirror

Deer Raymond,

When other people do something wrong or hurt my feelings I am really good about forgiving them and moving on.  But when I say something wrong or do something that didn’t work out I have a really hard time forgiving myself even if the other person says it’s okay.  I just keep playing it over in my mind.  I don’t do anything really bad, but even little things bother me.  What can I do about it?

Sincerely,

Can’t Let it Go

Dear Cling Wrap,

Did you know when I was just a calf (reindeer aren’t fawns, we are actually calves) I put dents all over my mom’s wall trying to get my antlers to grow faster. Some other kids said that worked. (Deerban Legend).  One time I was hungry and decided to make myself a snack and put a whole basket of corn in the microwave.  Our house smelled like burnt popcorn for a week!  But you know what?  My mom forgave me.  In fact, if you think about your first few years of life – pretty much every day involves your parents forgiving you for something.  They feed us forgiveness like baby food.  Why?   We are given forgiveness so we can give it to others.  The first person we need to give it to is ourselves.

Every day when you look in the mirror (you DO look in the mirror don’t you? How do you brush your ears?) or when you see yourself in the mirror of someone else’s love, you need to remember that before you can give something away – it needs to be yours, even forgiveness. So if you really don’t want to hold grudges, you have to let the ones about you go first. 

Self forgiveness doesn’t mean what you did was okay, or right, or good. It means you are freeing yourself so you can learn from it.  You tell yourself, “I made a mistake, and I’m going to learn from it.”  Then, take that new knowledge and move on.  If a memory brings it back, you just say, “Learned that lesson.”  Then, instead of feeling bad, you can feel proud – because you learned something and made a change in your life.  How deersome is that?

Your Learning Friend,

Raymond

Just Deer It!

Deer Raymond,

I don’t know what to do.  I have a lot of friends who are runners or do 5K walks so I try to walk with them, but I really hate it. It’s boring and makes me tired and sweaty. I hate every step. Every. Step. I want to be healthy and feel good, as well as be with my friends, but  every time they invite me to  walk I want to cry. What can I do?

Sincerely,

Kicking off my Shoes and Quitting

Dear Kick Stand,

You know what the best exercise for you is?  The one you’ll do.  It doesn’t matter if it’s walking, biking, kayak or weights. It it’s something you enjoy, you’re more likely to get off the couch and do it.  Make your friendships about more than working out.  When they invite you to go walking tell them you’re going to focus on whatever you like to do, but you’d love to meet them after and hear how it went and tell them about your workout as well.  Make your moving feet a two way street.

I’m actually not a big fan of walking.  Have you seen the price of those Antler Air 250’s – and I have to buy 4 of them!!!  Besides the expense, it just really doesn’t put a twitch in my tail.  You know what I like?  Deerlates!  Stretching, centering, posture and position – it’s the best.  And, when you finish, they give you a bottle of water and these little lavender scented towels. So much nicer than sports drinks and a banana (Bleh).

So get out there and do what works for you. 

Your Flexible Friend,

Raymond

Name of the Game

Deer Raymond,

I have a friend that I like to play games with, but they always win!  Even in a game of chance where I should be able to win some of the time – they win.  It makes me want to stop playing. How can I learn how to win?

Signed,

Sore Loser

Dear True Winner,

Every time I play reindeer games, I try really hard and then someone else does better than me and makes it look soooo easy.  Sometimes, I just want to turn on my hooves and give up!  But, then I remember the reason I was playing in the first place  – because it’s fun!  The point of a game isn’t winning, it’s playing.  You may not win the game, but you get time with your friends, fun, and a sense of challenge. So really, when it comes to games – there’s no way to lose.  Once you realize that, you win at life. 

Your Second Place Pal,

Raymond

Body Beautiful

Deer Raymond,

Every March I go through the same thing. As soon as the sun comes out, all the magazines and TV commercials start showing people in bikinis and talking about “getting your summer body.”  I don’t have a summer body! I have a late fall body that’s full of pumpkin pie and cookies.  So now, I feel like I have to go on a diet, but when I look at them I get all confused. I’ve looked at raw food diet, keto, paleo…I can’t tell if should be eating in a lab or a Jurassic Park.  What’s the best diet for me?

Hitting the Sweets Too Hard

Dear Sugar Smack,

If anyone knows about unrealistic body images – it’s me!  Look at that deer.  If it was real, it would be in the deerfirmary suffering from some kind of muscular problem and malnutrition! Every winter people make it seem like if you don’t have a super body that can pull a 10 ton sleigh, you just hang around in the woods doing nothing all year.  But you know what?  Donner’s antlers? Extensions.  Rudolph’s nose, enhanced by filters. Blitzen’s 6 pack? Well, that’s real – but he spends 4 hours a day at Foal’s Gym.  That’s no life for me.  There’s nothing wrong with me. And, there’s nothing wrong with you.

     Your body is a container that holds who you are, so you want to feed it good stuff and take care of it.  Make eating choices (not a diet) that reflect what you want to do to help your body be its best with what you have and need that day.  Love your body, don’t force it into a box. Open it up with your heart.  My other tip – every time you see one of those covers with people in bikinis – see the person, not the picture.  No matter who they are – they have the same two qualities as you.  They want to be happy. They don’t want to be hurt.  They aren’t trying to make you feel bad, they are just doing what they do to be happy and not hurt.  You do what you want to do too. 

Have fun in the sun,

Your All-Weather Friend,

Raymond 

Hold Your Heart Deer

Deer Raymond,

I know self esteem is really important and I try to have a lot of confidence, but I keep thinking about things I do wrong, or what I don’t do as well as others.  It makes it hard to have a good self image.  What can I do to feel better?

Signed,

My Own Worst Enemy

Dear Future Best Friend,

You know how when you’re little and you watch older kids take the stairs 2 or 3 steps at a time and you think, “Wow, I wanna do that!”  Then you try and end up falling on your noggin?  Well that’s what you’re doing here. You’re trying to hit step 2 but it’s just not time for that.  Before you have self esteem you have to have something more important – self compassion.

Self compassion means you give yourself the same care, forgiveness, listening, and understanding that you would give someone else.  Imagine if a friend said, “Wow, I just started singing in the choir. I’m really excited.”  Would you say, “Yeah, but you don’t sing as well as Blitzen.”?   No! You’d say “Love what you sing. You’re gonna do great.”  Or if you were talking to someone and they said, “I’m gonna get a promotion” would you say, “Geez, I don’t think you deserved it. You really just phone your work in and some of it’s messy bessy.”  No!  You would say, “Good Luck! You can do it!”   If you can do that for others, you can do it for you. In fact – your ability to be compassionate to others begins with your compassion for you.

So learn to love you and treat your heart like a deer friend, then that esteem step will be a lot easier to reach.

Your Climbing Friend,

Raymond

Thank you for Being a Friend

Deer Raymond,

Where have you been? I was just getting started learning all about Christmas from you and you vanished!  What is up with that?

Missed you,

Your disappointed fan

Dear Miss Dis,

Awww. Thanks for noticing I was gone.  One of the most important feelings someone can have is to be seen.  Another important thing every being needs is friends.  Last December my little friend Belle (with the black ears) got pneumonia and she needed a lot of care.  Then, just as she was getting better my other friend, Buddy (white ears), got something called Vestibular Disorder. That made her really sick. She couldn’t walk or eat or do anything for a long time.  She’s better now but she will always have balance problems and needs a safety harness. So, I was helping my human friend, Kellie, take care of her beagles.  That’s the best part of friendship – being there.

But, don’t make the mistake of thinking that friendship is about me being there for them – cause the really good thing is that they were there for me. By listening to them, taking care of them, and putting aside things I wanted to do just so I could stay with them – I got a chance to be generous, learn patience, and give kindness. It all makes me a better deer!  The gift of friendship isn’t just helping someone. It’s letting someone help you, too. 

Your Deer Friend,

Raymond

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