Ask questions. Be interested in other people.
Dale Carnegie said it best in How to Win Friends and Influence People, “Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.”
Surprisingly, my younger friends – with kids, soaring careers and cell phones surgically attached to their bodies – are as guilty of this oversight as my older friends with their aches and pains and doctors’ schedules.
Our four-year-old grandson said it best when he walked into our house yesterday. “Mimi, I need you.” I perked right up, stopped what I was watching on HGTV, and asked, “Okay, Jeremiah, what can I do for you?” He ran up with a hug and repeated with a big smile, “I just need you!” That could possibly last me all month!
Every one of us is enveloped in our own day to day world of schedules. Some of us are more overwhelmed than we care to admit, and it is difficult to think about someone else’s life and problems. However, one of the best therapies, to take your mind off your own troubles, is to inquire about others. Truly, it immediately acts as a window opening and flooding the room with fresh air! I never went back to my TV program. For the next glorious hour, I was interested in following around this precious boy who “needed” me.
Opening yourself to another’s world takes the focus off your worries- albeit temporarily – and, it is a great stress reliever!
Today, make it a priority to inquire about those around you – family members you see everyday, co-workers, clients and, yes, even strangers. Today, you may be someone’s surprise angel – an unexpected lifeline who cares enough to say, “How are you today?” or “Anything I can do for you today?”
Balance is everything. I know a lovely lady who is more interested in helping others than caring for her own needs. I am not advocating this approach.
I am hoping to remind you how important it is to follow Jesus’ advice. He narrowed it into two points: Love Him and love others. Then, resume your life. Surprisingly, this will pretty much balance your life immediately.
Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” Matthew 22:37-40 (The Message)
Loving others must be intentional. Yes, I’m preaching to myself. I thought, when the kids were gone, life would slow down! It just leaves more time in my day to schedule things; and, I find myself inquiring less about others than ever!
Taking time to invest in others is a perspective potentially lost on the generations coming up. 2016 promises to be the fastest, most productive, most rewarding year ever- if we keep and accomplish all the resolutions we have set for ourselves. Let us not forget we are critical examples, being watched by the kids in our lives.
So, for Step #3, go out of your comfort zone and walk up to a person in line at the bank (the one wearing a disturbing scowl on her face) and offer her a mint. Then again, if she is diabetic, lactose intolerant or can’t eat gluten, that may not be appropriate. Okay, just ask her how her day is going. You may surprise yourself!