Looking Out For...Yourself
An important part of looking OUT for ourselves is relationships. What can we do to show love to the people we encounter? The only things that will last in this world are the Word of God and people. Since we know that, our interactions with people should be of extreme importance to us. For people we know and like, the best way to show love is by listening - giving our focused attention. It is fascinating how people respond when they are given complete, undivided attention. Don’t look around. Don’t check your phone. Don’t watch TV. Just truly listen. Listen to what they are saying, and make the conversation about them. You will be surprised at how people bloom when they know you are completely invested in hearing them.
For more challenging people, I propose that you show them love by seeking to understand. Is there something in their life that has caused them to see the world differently? Have they been hurt so badly that their resentment colors everything they do? Do they come from a different background? Try to understand something more about them that gives you a better perspective on who they are. Even when you understand more, there may be people you simply do not enjoy being around. That’s OK. What is not OK is being unkind. People may annoy you, may talk over you or interrupt, or maybe they have actually been malicious to you. Whatever the reason, when you are unkind, it says a lot more about you than it does about them. If they are intentionally rude to you, then address it with them, privately so there is no posturing, and again, seek to understand why. Just like a doctor, you should adopt the motto, “First, do no harm.” Then, do some good. Make your conversation positive and uplifting. Go out of your way to compliment someone, to thank someone, and to let them know that they have value as a human.
Another way to show love to those you are in relationship with is time. Time is the most valuable commodity you have, and when you give someone your time, you are giving them a part of you that cannot be duplicated or replaced. Call your grandmother. Take your mom to lunch. Send an email to your employee or coworker. Give them what they don’t have—your time, your undivided attention, your listening ear, and your kind words. When you grow in your relationships and develop true friendships, the rest of your life will indeed be the best of your life!
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