Have you been hit by the arrows of Cupid? Some of us accept the direct hit and others deflect in defense. Accept love or be alone.

Among the many challenges of living a long life, we must be able to deflect. Your ability to turn aside, change course, swerve or bend make you resilient and alive.

Our behavior patterns are impacted by how we deal with fears. Do we take flight or do we fight? We all have experienced the benefits and consequences of running away or fighting for what we believe. We are the total of our experiences.

As a baby, we deflected cold milk in favor of warm milk. We deflected Gerber strained spinach by swinging at the spoon approaching our mouth, spit it out, cried or screamed. You experienced this scenario again as a parent or grandparent.

In our youth, we deflected bullying, grumbled, talked back to parents, sought favor with a teacher by leaving an apple on her desk, and may have become a teacher’s pet.

While in college, the military and the workplace, we crafted other tools of deflection. We followed orders, completed assignments, ignored, transferred blame, relied on teammates, and partnered with the talented.

Marriage provided another arena for deflection (or affection). We could agree, disagree, ignore, argue, cooperate, change habits, concede, quarrel, apologize and make up. In the family environment, we looked for better ways, offered options and alternatives, and even had family meetings.

A favorite tool to deflect difficult situations and tough challenges is the use of humor. We make a joke and lighten the mood. Some people may not respond well to the jokester. Levity helps change the direction.

In management situations as an employer, administrator, volunteer leader or parent, focus on why it happened rather than who did it. Ask the person who may have to be disciplined: “What could have been done to prevent what happened?” Deflect from culprits and causes to solutions. Take a constructive approach and help everyone learn.

Deflect arguments with positive responses: “That’s an interesting idea” or “That’s a new approach. Tell me more.” Then go further with “Have you considered . . . ?” Be open-minded and open-hearted.

Life situations give us challenges and opportunities. Remember: “When life gets tough, the tough get going.” Deflect! “When you get a lemon, make lemonade!”

Ed Baranowski is an award-winning writer, artist, speaker and seminar leader. He lives in Melbourne and can be contacted at fast75sr@gmail.com