Saturday, 19 January 2013

Meeting People Where They Are

I think that people need to demonstrate more respect for each other. I hear people say that teenagers have no respect- but sometimes I think the adults around them aren't setting such a great example either! That is who they learn from after all.
There are so many ways to be respectful of others. One way is to actually "listen" to a person when they are talking to you. It sounds like common sense, but I've noticed it's not actually so common :)
 I have a little technique  I use that really helps me listen respectfully.  I call it "Meeting People Where They Are." I've never really described it before- it's more like an activity. But I want to try now, because I think it's a nice way of treating people with respect and I'd like to share it...........
When I am interacting with another person (at work, or socially) and I find myself thinking how different their life is to my own, rather than thinking we have nothing in common, or just talking about myself,  I encourage them to talk about themselves and I really listen.
Some people don't need much encouragement- just for me to give them the "space" to talk (by not talking too much about my own "stuff"). I encourage other people by asking general (non personal) questions about their life, the surroundings/circumstances that brought us together at that moment, or their family, their work, maybe hobbies ..... Then I pay attention to what they are saying- really be in the moment with them. I stay in the moment with them by picturing what they are saying, in my mind, and occassionally asking a "clarifying" question so they know I am "following" what they are saying.  If people don't wish to continue to talk, I respect that and leave them alone- at work I'll then focus on their treatment. In a social setting I will move on and talk to someone else. I think either way I am treating them respectfully by being attentive to their cues. A person just might not want to talk to me (their reason is their own business) and I respect that.  If they do choose to interact, I keep paying attention and then, at some point, ideas or experiences we have in common (even within our differences) will arise and then I might  add a little about my experience with the "things we have in common."..........maybe they mention a place I have also visited, or an experience I have also had.........but finding a little bit of something in common, amongst different ways of living. If they then begin to give me "space" I talk more about my experience, if not I just continue to be in the moment and listen. I just "meet them where they are." If they give me "space" I respond, if they don't I just stay in the moment with them. I have learned so much by what feels like "walking along with people" in this way- rather than what may have initially been a conversation I would avoid, because they live their life very differently to myself, and one might assume we'd have nothing in common.
I'm just thinking right now, it seems like conversation becomes  a "dance" in this way......I give them space and they move into it......they give space and I move into it......
During that dance what I learn from, and about,  people enhances my life, by broadening my outlook.
So, I'm constantly reminded that there are so many diverse ways of living happily. I love people to remind me of that!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

The Four Agreements

There are lots of self help books :)
I was reminded of one the other day, that I had read many years ago.
I think the book, entitled "The Four Agreements" is so special because of it's simplicity. It is based on the principles of Toltec wisdom. They were a race of people, less well known, but of similar linage as the Aztecs.
The Four Agreements refers to the (4) principles of living that can lead to peace of mind and joyful existence. I don't want to make it too complex in explaining them, and the contents of the book, so will keep it simple and just print them here for consideration......

   Agreement 1

Be impeccable with your word - Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love. 

   Agreement 2

Don’t take anything personally - Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

   Agreement 3

Don’t make assumptions - Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

   Agreement 4

Always do your best - Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

Says it all! I don't think there is anything else. A book worth owning.