"HOW" we are and "WHO" we are; is always showing up and is indicative of our level of personal growth and level of emotional maturity.
When I was raising my son, I used to tell him to be careful of how he acted and reacted because people are always watching us and would be watching him. They are making mental and emotional decisions about how they feel and what they think about us. How people feel about us is going to affect everything in our lives. Will they support us when we need support? Will they vote for us as the class president? Will they respect us when we have something to say in the class discussion or will they snicker at us behind our backs?
So, let's talk about how you act. What does your behavior say about you? How are you 'BEING'? Are you kind? Are you compassionate? Are you generous? Do you take or give credit to others? Do you speak encouraging words? Do you speak about people’s strengths to others? Do you work enthusiastically? Do you do what you say you will do? Do you tell your truth when it could be a contribution? Do you listen to empower others? Are you taking responsibility for all aspects of your behavior?
How you and I act creates our value in the world and to the people around us like our family, friends, coworkers, and clients. When we act with excellence, speak with excellence, listen with excellence, and behave as excellent a person as we can in the moment; we are valued, we are attractive, we are trusted, and we are loved.
Do these things every day to improve how you act:
- Make a commitment to SAY something kind to someone every day… and then increase it to every hour.
- Make the same commitment to DO something kind for someone every day. “Pay it Forward.”
- Make the same commitment to LISTEN to someone. I mean to learn to listen from your heart (not your mind) and to really listen to what they are saying, what they are NOT saying, what they really want to say, and how they feel. Listen to someone at the therapeutic level once a day. This is a skill I had to learn as a counselor. (Now, learning effective listening skills is another topic). 🙂
- Audit your conversations. Develop the habit of asking yourself after each statement, “What was my motive in saying what I said and how I said it? Was it to contribute to the person or to make myself look good?” Then ask yourself how you feel about someone who speaks to make themselves look good, more important than you, or more “right” than you do.
- Make a bold request every day that will improve a relationship, business productivity, or will help improve the life of another person. For example, make a bold request that a friend or loved one stop speaking negatively about himself/herself by battering their own poor self-esteem. Or make a request that your spouse do something that you know will improve your love and relationship. When bold requests are made out of the context of support and improvement, they are often the encouragement that leads a person to act with excellence and change their way of 'BEING". Changing their behavior is part of personal growth and transformation which will "change their life."
How You React or Do YOU React?: If actions are those things we think about before doing them, then reactions are those things we do WITHOUT thinking. They are our built-in boomerang over which we may feel we have no control or personal responsibility. Most people react in negative and destructive ways. These negative behaviors also are an indication of their need for their personal growth. People that "react" need to do lots of inner work and learn many new skills in their personal growth.
We can develop new “reactions” and new ways of "responding" by developing new interpretations and habits.
Here are some examples:
- When someone speaks down to you, what do you think and how do you feel about it? What is your reaction? Do you think they think you are smaller and less than them? Do you think they may be right? Do you react with anger and retaliation or do you shut down? What if when someone spoke down to you and you “interpreted” that they, themselves were feeling small, and could really use a lift up. This new interpretation gives you a perfect opportunity to engage yourself in improving how you 'act' rather than 'react'.
- When someone is late, do you think they disrespected you? How do you retaliate? What if you interpreted their being late due feeling overwhelmed, maybe they had a sick child, or something happened on the way to meet you that caused them to be late. I think we should always give people the benefit of the doubt unless it is their constant pattern. The point is that when we react it is always a matter of a personal growth issue.
- When someone in authority tells you “no” or 'tells' you to do something versus 'asks'; how do you react? Or, do you take it in stride and respond. What if you interpreted that this person in authority is working on their path of compassionate leadership; that they have more responsibilities than they can often handle, and they need support. We can choose new interpretations for other people's behavior.
These are the kinds of things I taught my son when he was growing up. Therefore, it made his life so much more enjoyable because he learned to be compassionate, saw the good in others, understood that people are always doing the best they know how to do in their situation, that we are all imperfect human beings, that showing empathy towards others blesses them as well as ourselves. He learned that having friends makes life easier versus having people that don't like you because of how you 'show up' and how our behavior affects other people….
Please leave your comment below and tell me your thoughts on this article such as:
1. How did this article affect you?
2. How can I help you?
3. What kind of reactions do you have that affect your relationships?
4. What sentence brought up a negative reaction for you?
5. What aspect of your behavior needs some personal growth?
6. And, anything else that will help me be of service to you. 🙂