The Transformative Power Of Using The Right Phrases In Our Relationships
In her book, Tell Me More, acclaimed memoirist and storyteller Kelly Corrigan provides a lexicon of life lessons which help us keep our most important relationships on track.
Drawing from her own family life experiences, Kelly examines the power that simple phrases can carry as she shows how the right words at the right time can make a world of difference in times of crisis, arguments and grief.
In example after example, Kelly emphasizes why neither faith nor reason holds all the answers to life’s mysteries.
She also shares what she learned from a poorly behaved pet regarding making amends and offers advice on how to make use of imperfections without feeling overly guilty or frustrated.
Ultimately, her message is clear – Whatever we’re confronted with in life – whether good or bad – learning to pick out just the right phrases for any given situation to express love for others (or ourselves) can be key to managing difficult moments gracefully and keeping things turning in an otherwise bumpy ride.
Accepting Life’s Struggles: The Courage To Weather The Storm
Kelly Corrigan’s life seem to be falling apart.
Her father had recently died from cancer and her family was caught up in the aftermath of it all.
Even though they were trying their best to do the necessary chores and make the house look good, nothing felt the same.
Kelly found herself getting angry at many situations that would normally bring joy to them as a family.
However, with everything happening around her, she managed to remember her meditation teacher’s motto – “sometimes, it’s “just like this”.
Life can be hard but when this happens we tend to lash out at anything and anyone even if deep down we know that it won’t actually help us in any way .
The only thing we can take from this is acceptance; simply accepting our predicament and going through it no matter what.
Kelly Corrigan understood this prevalent truth and instead of venting her emotions out irrationally decided to accept whatever happened around her rather than dwelling on issues that cannot be fixed.
Parents Must Learn To Listen And Show Empathy Instead Of Offering Readymade Solutions
When it comes to offering advice to our loved ones, sometimes the best way of helping is by understanding rather than giving a solution.
We often feel the need to take over and provide help in the form of ready answers, which can be counterintuitive if we are trying to cultivate our children’s autonomy.
Take Kelly and Georgia for example, an eleven year old overcome with tears as she described her struggles in 6th grade.
Rather than jump into suggesting various solutions, Kelly merely asked her daughter questions while repeating back what she heard.
This allowed Georgia to open up and reveal she was feeling rejected by her peers instead of singling out what one person had done wrong or right.
Tracy, an old college friend of Kelly’s who was along for the ride, guided Kelly through this process long enough until Georgia calmed down and realized that no matter how trivial one issue may seem, it was valid for her to feel how she does about rejecting parties.
In understanding this Tracy helped Kelly understand that some times listening is all you need to do in order not just solve a problem but also give support in a non-biased manner so your loved ones can grow up as autonomous adults without having their resources stripped away by having answers force fed to them
The Mysterious Intersection Of Science And Faith: “I Don’T Know”
Kelly grew up in an Irish-American family where faith was a source of certainty.
Her parents believed wholeheartedly in their Catholic religion and the ultimate reward that awaits them in the afterlife.
Fast forward to when Kelly and her father, Greenie, were both diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer – it seemed like prayers were being answered as Greenie experienced a miraculous recovery.
The answer to why this happened was unclear.
Kelly’s parents chocked it up to prayer while Tracy, Kelly’s rational-minded friend, suggested it was due to medicines and treatments developed through human ingenuity and scientific breakthroughs.
While Science may explain some mysteries, this incident showed that neither faith nor reason can account for all things in life.
Like the doctor who helped care for Greenie, sometimes there are simply no explanations – we just have to accept mystery as part of life and move on.
The Power Of ‘No’: How Rejecting Requests Can Help Strengthen Relationships
Saying no is a key part of any healthy relationship, and Kelly learned this essential lesson in her late thirties.
Growing up, she was notorious for her obstinacy – like when her mother refused to buy dozens of expensive hoagie sandwiches for a birthday party.
In response, Kelly made the outrageous claim that she didn’t like cheese – though she adored it in reality.
But it wasn’t until Kelly’s battle with cancer that she truly understood the importance of saying no.
She had always wanted four kids before reaching the age of 40, but chemo suspended her fertility and she was forced to have an oophorectomoy to remove her ovaries.
Wanting to present her plans for adoption or donor eggs and embryos to her husband Edward, Kelly was crushed when he told her he wasn’t ready for another battle.
At that moment, Kelly realized what kind of toll the cancer had taken on him too – so saying no at this time was necessary so he could continue building their future together.
This helped demonstrate that although we may fear saying no to our loved ones as selfish or irresponsible, it can actually be an important act of self-preservation and act as a foundation towards healthier relationships in the long run.
The Power Of An Apology: How Three Little Words Allow For A Cycle Of Forgiveness And Understanding
When it comes to parenting, mistakes happen.
But though it might be tempting to stay silent or make excuses when things go awry, the only thing you can really do is own up to your errors and offer a sincere apology.
This was something that Kelly had to face head-on in Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan.
Things weren’t going too well in the Corrigan household — Hershey the dog wouldn’t stop drinking out of the toilet, constantly reminding Kelly of her own lack of discipline.
Then one night they found evidence that someone hadn’t followed her instructions to flush every second pee — and guess which happened to be an offense committed by Georgia previously? Of course, with no proof that she wasn’t guilty this time around too, Kelly understandably exploded in anger….not exactly a shining moment for her as a parent!
The only thing she could have done in this situation is admit her mistake and apologize for overreacting — but how do you apologize for wrongly accusing someone and making them clean up human feces from the floor? The answer lies in three magic words: “I Was Wrong.” Those three words keep parents from further damaging their relationships with children, providing comfort through the never-ending cycle of forgiveness for mistakes; a reminder that even when you mess up as a parent, there’s always a way back.
A Rabbi’s Lesson: Believing In Yourself Is All You Need To Become A Force For Good
Kelly’s experience at a bat mitzvah celebration opened her eyes to the power of words, when she talked to Rabbi Michael afterwards.
He explained that the ceremony is important because it marks a time in life where young people are incredibly physically and intellectually developed, but are often navigating turbulent waters as they leave childhood.
This ritual is a way of reassuring them that they don’t have to be perfect – good enough is plenty.
Edward had promised the same thing throughout Kelly’s years aimlessly moving from one dead-end job to another, saying that she would figure it all out eventually – and he was right.
After Kelly settled down and was successful in her adult life, she asked him how he had known things would work out for her eventually.
Edward replied that you don’t need to get it right every time – just a few wins here and there is plenty.
That simple phrase encapsulates much of what we should take away from Kelly’s story: everyone needs someone who believes in them, even when mistakes are made; and with just a couple of small successes here and there, everything will be okay.
The key message of Tell Me More is one of comfort and clarity.
It’s an acknowledgement that life will have its messy, complex and painful moments, but we can learn to turn to wisdom when these moments come our way.
We can remain calm in the face of life’s unpredictable twists and turns with phrases like “just like this,” admit our humility when we say “I don’t know” or exercise our power with a decided “no.”
By understanding these three key messages, readers are given comfort, sanity and direction as they continue navigating through life’s difficult challenges.