Recently I reconnected with an old friend. That one simple act of kindness of making an effort to reach out to me meant more to me than she will ever know. In a time where we are distracted by the news, cell phones and so many things that don’t matter, one thing will always hold more value than all the rest, time. When you give someone your time and attention, the message you send is YOU MATTER. The fact that she purposely looked up from the chaos to make a real connection has reminded me how profound of an impact just saying hello can make in this world of isolation. We are drowning in technology. In this time of selfies we are absorbed more with ourselves and things than we are with intimacy and connection. This is a reminder for all of us that reaching out still matters. If it matters so much to me I bet it still matters to you. Do it today! I promise that person on the receiving end of your call will be changed because you did. Relationships do not sustain themselves. Remember, they take some effort but the payoff is worth the deposit.
I believe now more than ever that the source behind a strained relationship is often misunderstanding. We forget that we can go through identical experiences yet view them two entirely different ways. We see based on the way we feel. If we make a decision about something in our head, I can guarantee we will see every little detail that leads us to that pre conceived conclusion. However, if we could overcome ourselves enough to have a serious in depth conversation that would allow us to see that same situation from the different set of eyes, we would not only gain an immense amount of compassion for the other person but we would also see how our behavior along with our individual feelings left us trapped in a place in time stifling the potential growth that could have built our relationships to something greater than we ever imagined.
We forget sometimes that the way we see something is not the truth about a situation. It is the truth we have been led to believe but there is a pretty strong chance what we believe could not be further from the truth. This is a reminder to rediscover the art of communication. Listen without judging or planning a response and then be open to give the same respect when it is your turn to respond. So many of the right things go unsaid and before we know it we’ve said too many wrong things that can never be taken back. False beliefs lead to anger and resentment so make it a point to sit down with people and get to the bottom of every wrong thought so that we longer hold anything against one another but grow in love and understanding as we see how different our shared experience can actually be. Maybe we got it right, maybe we got it partly right, or maybe we had most of it wrong the entire time.
Learn and Grow.
Communication does not come easy. Some people listen to respond which leaves the person who is excited to be heard feeling disregarded and deflated. Sometimes we forget that the words of someone speaking are as important and valuable as the words we can’t keep from blurting out of our own mouths. I struggle with it also and am practicing listening without speaking. What is more beautiful than loving someone enough to be there for them and just listen. Remember, sometimes someone just wants to share something and we have to remember they are not interested in our assumptions, criticism or opinions. Most times, they are desperately needing and aching to be heard, hoping for someone…YOU to listen and value them enough to actually hear them. Remember, sometimes it is best just to be quiet and allow someone else to finish what they started. Don’t blurt out or interrupt what they are trying so desperately to tell you or eventually they won’t want to share anything with you anymore.
Rehashing and over talking things does not often lead to resolution. Often, it keeps a problem the focus and heightens emotions to where you can feel stuck in a very negative place. There are times there will not be a consensus on a solution for a particular problem. Sometimes it’s best to agree to disagree and just move on. How do we do that though when we are so impassioned about something? You must commit to the discipline and intention to not get caught up in a moment you have no control to change. You only remain stuck if you choose not to move your feet or your thoughts in a different direction. You do not have to participate to every debate you are invited to. You always have the choice to walk away and place your attention on something that will raise your own vibration. Be selective. Do something good for your soul today. Don’t participate in something that will bring you down. You are meant to enjoy your life. Do it now. Time is running out.
Here’s something to ponder. Maybe it’s not someone’s words that are so offensive but rather our interpretation of the words. This could clear up some serious misunderstanding and conflict. If we don’t like someone, we are probably more apt to interpret their words in a negative, unflattering way. Just a thought.
Two people can hear the same words but understand them to mean something entirely different. Just last night I told my son to turn the heat down to 71 degrees and he set the air conditioner to 71. He heard something different than what I said. No ones really at fault, our minds just work different ways. Remember that next time you get yourself crazy over someone’s words.
The way I see it, we have a choice. We make the decision to look for the good in someone or we examine someone with a microscope to broadcast the bad.
I wrote a post a few weeks ago about a conversation I had with my son. I was frustrated with him and I spent the whole ride home from school telling him all the ways he disappoints me. I was stopped mid-sentence when he interjected and said words that really made me think. “Do I do anything right mom?” My heart sank and I allowed myself to feel the very pain I was choosing to inflict on him. Who did I think I was that day? How would I feel if everyone wanted to have a conversation about everything I did that was disappointing. Didn’t I already know my flaws and feel bad enough without someone else pointing them out?
The lesson is simple. Just turn on the news and watch this sad process in action. Basically, we get what we look for. We can look for and report the bad, the negative, the doom and gloom or we can seek out and celebrate the good. The problem isn’t always the person or the situation we are pointing our eager finger at. Often times, it is our own perception that is the biggest problem at all. Time to get real. We can’t heal what we won’t acknowledge.
I was driving my son to school this morning and hearing the few words he managed to mutter through his mouth caught me by surprise.
“Can’t you talk about something I do that’s good?”
Silence. That was my reaction. He was tossing my own sermon right back into my face and I sat there engulfed by my own guilt. I’ve felt that same way before. I do so many things right so why do the people I love point out the few things I do wrong? When I’ve needed support, I too have received tough love and criticism. There’s nothing worse when you’re already down than someone trying to keep you there.
This is a reminder to everyone including myself that our words come with consequence. We have to pick and choose words that inspire others and lift them up. We have to consciously be aware whether we are focusing on someone’s positive or dwelling on their negative. Don’t we all need more conversations about how awesome we are and how much we already do that’s worth mentioning? Be a light and use your words to make someone shine today. Focus on the positive and watch someone grow right before your eyes. Will you join me?