Involved Growth

“Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand” (Native American proverb). Developing our ability to effectively think by infusing our mind with positive applicable knowledge allows us to respond from our automatic subconscious mind when inquired. We must not think about what to say when we ought to be fully engaged in listening and observing another person express him or herself. Take full advantage of opportunities to completely engage yourself in understanding other people, while restraining from giving feedback, unless asked.

Motive matters when we speak. People are substantially influenced by the reason why we do something, much more than strictly what we do or say. Let’s be genuinely interested in what other people want by focusing on their desires equally, if not more so, than our own. Be a leader, knowing leaders are meant to serve, enhancing greatness and abilities in individuals. Remember the global golden rule to do unto others what you would like done to you. Daily, practice asking yourself, “What would I like others to say and do for me?” Take initiative to say and do that for them.

Remember, people have different wants and needs at varying times, therefore, be mindful toward those fluxing desires and necessities. Quality, value, caring, love, acceptance, empathy, gratitude, forgiveness, consideration, kindness, helpfulness, adaptability, and appreciation never go out of style. Inculcate these attributes into your character. Tattoo them in your mind.

Sharing is Caring

My seven year-old son says and lives by the motto, sharing is caring. We must give to get and receive to give, therefore, let’s start sharing what we have. We must not allow what we don’t have, stop us from giving what we do have. Much more is given back to us in return through acts of sharing, caring, and giving.

The act of genuinely caring builds trust in every relationship. Trust is the foundational glue holding, growing and building all types of relations between people. Don’t allow absence of college degrees, lack of any type of formal education according to societal norms, or any other self-limiting belief hinder you another moment from choosing to do good, right, and unleashing your greatness within.

Furthermore, speaking can be a form of sharing, while sincere listening consists of compassion. In the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey writes that the gift of empathetic listening gives an individual psychological air. The goal of intentional listening is to be fully engaged and emphatically understand the person speaking; not focused on autobiographically or audibly responding.⁶ Let’s give people the gift of our undivided attention and attentive nonjudgmental ears.

Art of Listening

“A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he gets to know something” (Wilson Mizner). We can learn much by observing people, including watching our kids play or through hearing and heeding their wisdom. Old can learn from young, and young from older. Yes, edification occurs through teaching others, yet even more understanding, applicable knowledge, insight, awareness, and life-changing advice or suggestions comes through the art of listening.

Constant and never-ending improvement is an eternal endeavor. Winners commit to a plan, persevering no matter what. This means never, never, never giving up. Additionally, forgiveness breaks chains, thus granting freedom for progressive growth. Simple pragmatic ideas for a better life occur just from listening. Remember, purpose-driven action is imperative for continual progression.

Listen, Respect, Love

“Don’t talk unless you can improve the silence” (Jorge Luis Borges). Daily, practice listening to people and talk only when asked a question. Give a succinct answer that does not provoke further queries. It has been said that God gave us two ears and one mouth, therefore let’s listen twice as much as we talk. We might learn a thing or two by having the mindset of being an eternal student of life, learning, progressing, and constantly growing through observation and listening.

Train yourself not to agree or disagree by shaking your head or making any verbal remarks during conversations, seminars, meetings, or sermons. This is more challenging than it sounds. Keep ethically upright personal opinions strong by not allowing others to influence or control your moral decision-making skills and abilities. Do not concern yourself with other peoples’ opinions (OPOs). Our own intrinsic opinions, beliefs, and convictions about ourselves, the universe, and all matter therein, matters most. Respecting and loving others begins by respecting and loving yourself.

Active Listening

Why do so many couples have a challenging time discussing money, sex, and parenting? Becoming reactive and arguing instead of truly listening and understanding with empathy, regarding where the other person is coming from is crucial toward progressive, constructive problem-solving. People yearn to be heard, appreciated, accepted and loved, without judgement or condemnation, allowing them to just be themselves. Listening allows individuals the opportunity to process their thoughts, subsequently finding solutions to their own dilemmas. Why do we feel it necessary to be right instead of happy?

Active listening suspends judgement and ego, focusing completely on the other person, without thinking about our own agenda and responses. Forget about paraphrasing and say nothing instead, only listen more intently. Alternatively, in addition to listening, ask questions to help people discover themselves more fully. Just be in the moment, in another’s emotional shoes and he or she will love you for it. Allow a person to express feelings freely and openly, loving and accepting the wholeness of an individual. Preemptively, agree to disagree internally, yet being okay about any views, feelings, or statements of another, while remaining open-minded toward understanding another’s opinions, beliefs, values, emotions, boundaries, principles, and priorities. Magic happens through sincere active listening without emotional reactivity.

While another is talking, are you thinking about what you desire to say next, interrupting conversions, finishing sentences, or autobiographically speaking about your own experiences, taking the focus off the speaker and on to you? Active listening is an incredibly helpful skill to master if only we practice doing it, day by day, moment by moment, one beautiful person at a time. Now, we can converse optimally, saying virtually nothing, yet gaining much understanding, control over ourselves, and meeting both our and another’s needs and desires more efficiently and effectively. Self-respect encompasses mastering thyself through becoming your best self. Invest in loving yourself and others, today. What do you think?

Growth

Live according to the serenity prayer, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference” (Reinhold Niebuhr). Similar to muscles growing with weights, some tension is required to grow spiritually, physically, socially, emotionally, and relationally too. Be grateful for opportunities to become better in each realm of life. Look toward tension as an opportunity to become a better version of yourself. When there is tension in life, know this depicts we are alive, able to feel and grow. Furthermore, we are responsible for controlling the controllable aspects of hormones and neurotransmitters that generate positive responses and disregarding anything outside our control. Don’t focus on perfection, only diligent effort toward aspiring to be extraordinary by doing and giving your best. Ask yourself, “Am I giving myself and others the best of me? What can I do to love myself and others better, today, and each day forward?”

 

Immature Love

“Immature love says, I love you because I need you. Mature love says, I need you because I love you” (Erich Fromm). Strong emotional bonds or bondage form, in part, because of an oxytocin release, among other physiological chemical reactions, which creates a powerful mental fog or misguiding judgement leading to blind love; not true sustaining secure love. Before making a potentially life altering decision remember to intelligently and maturely ask yourself based upon your upright principles and moral codes, “Does the potential upside far outweigh the potential downside? Is the risk worth it?” Don’t sacrifice short-term gain or pleasure for possible lifelong pain, misery, turmoil or death. Build fortifying lifestyles by wisely choosing incredibly good daily habits, consequently generating impenetrable resilience to otherwise insatiable temptation. Meat Loaf sang a song, “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” which partly goes:

“I gotta know right now

Do you love me?

Will you love me forever?

Do you need me?

Will you never leave me?

Will you make me so happy for the rest of my life?

Will you take me away and will you make me your wife?

I gotta know right now!

Before we go any further

Do you love me?

And will you love me forever?

Let me sleep on it

Baby, baby let me sleep on it

Let me sleep on it

And I’ll give you an answer in the morning

Let me sleep on it

Will you love me forever?

Let me sleep on it.

Will you love me forever!

I couldn’t take it any longer

Lord I was crazed

And when the feeling came upon me

Like a tidal wave

I started swearing to my god and on my mother’s grave

That I would love you to the end of time

That I would love you to the end of time

I swore that I would love you to the end of time!

So now I’m praying for the end of time

To hurry up and arrive

‘Cause if I gotta spend another minute with you

I don’t think that I can really survive

I’ll never break my promise or forget my vow

But God only knows what I can do right now

I’m praying for the end of time

It’s all that I can do

Praying for the end of time, so I can end my life with you!”

“Say to the righteous that it will go well with them, for they will eat the fruit of their actions” (Isaiah 3:10 NASB). Please don’t succumb to lustful instant gratification or yield to temptation without fully understanding yourself, lest you end up like the pour soul described in that song. Don’t become blindsided or shocked by something that could have been made known through wise questions and answers prior to making the most impactful leap of your life. Obtain premarital counseling and know each other’s current health status and values (especially physical and emotional), financial situation and standards of excellence, definition of love and commitment, all children involved, amount of children desired, religious or spiritual beliefs, desirable locations to live, and one another’s dreams, among other important factors to consider. Stand alone for as long as it takes. Choosing to remain single by choice or patiently waiting for the right person is more admirable than making haste, for haste makes waste. Be intentionally patient in order to live a good life filled with an abundance of health, wealth, love, and joyfulness.