Today I feel let down. My heart feels heavy, my shoulders are hunched and rounded and my eyes gaze at the floor. How could they step on my values like this?
Deep down I know I'm probably overreacting. There's most probably a reasonable explanation for their behaviour but that still doesn't make it right does it?
You see the words have been spoken, they've landed in the universe and they can never be removed. If you look at your watch the time is now - so the words will remain in the past forever - they can't be retrieved, crossed out or disposed of.
So what do I do? I can't sit here forever replaying the conversation in my mind. Can I?
And then I shake myself down, remind myself that I am enough, I am loved and words are just words. I am stronger than that.
I can either let this temporary interaction steer me into a path of negativity where my gremlin will have a party and constantly whine and repeat phrases such as 'I am not enough', or I can ask myself 'whether there's any truth in what's been said?'
I am the maker of my own life, the conductor of my own orchestra and the amazing music that shall continue to play as I dance in my own magnificence of authenticity. For I am real, with my feet firmly grounded knowing I stand tall honoring my values and following my true life purpose. I am happy to be me. Yeah I said it, I've just typed it and I mean it! It took me a long time to get to that and now I just want to shout it from the roof tops. You see I know that my lifestyle and the perspective of being with gratitude doesn't suit everyone but that's up to them. That's their choice and this is mine. I choose to be happy, for it to be a way of life not a destination. I choose to be thankful for the air that I breathe, the loving people I am surrounded by, the roof over my head and the food that I eat. I choose to be everything I am and do in life. And that choice includes being thoughtful and kind to others.
So often in life we rush round not really paying attention to the people around us, the way we conduct ourselves and sometimes the things we say. We don't always engage mouth and brain, words tumble out, lies are spoken, judgements are made and relationships are tested.
Karen Armstrong makes such a poignant point when she says:
"Look into your own heart, discover what gives you pain and then refuse to inflict that pain on anybody else."
So what would it be like to start noticing more, to connect with a kinder persona? Or making an effort to make eye contact and smile? Imagine how many people may respond? They may very much welcome the gesture. Perhaps it is the only person that will interact with them that day.
You see I am, I feel. I want interaction, for my existence to be noticed. I want you to recognise I have feelings. That your words can have an impact on my mindset, no matter how determined I am to have a positive outlook in all I am and do.
I want you to engage with me without negativity or judgement and if there are things to be said to do it with compassion, honesty and with space for me to listen, acknowledge and respond. I want to feel heard. I want to feel respected.
I want to notice how I connect with my heart, how my body reacts to conversations and genuine interactions. Because I am and I feel.
So I ask you, when did you last connect with compassion? Or consider what you say and how you say it? And how people respond to you?
A good deed every day
How does your mindset and the way you are and be have an impact on others?
We often say the phrase 'I've done my good deed for the day' perhaps for example by opening a door for someone, handing in lost property or helping someone with a task. Hang on though - what about all the other hours in the day? Is there not room for more good deeds and a general conduct of respecting each other, supporting each other and letting compassion and kindness become the norm?
We have become such a target driven society with a 'me first' attitude that reminders to step back and be more self-aware of our actions and how we are 'being' is most definitely welcomed and needed. Helping others has been found to trigger activity in the same area of the brain that is switched on when people experience pleasure or receive rewards. 'Random acts of kindness' is certainly a phrase I see more and more these days and when we do participate in such an act it is more often than not paid forward to someone else. This 'moral elevation' can increase motivation and willingness to perform this on a repeated basis and in turn can make for a happier and more compassionate culture within the community. Take a moment to think back to a recent time when you have displayed love and kindness - how did it make you feel? You see the benefits for our own health and wellbeing can be enhanced too. In the words of the Dalai Lama:
"The creation of a more peaceful and happier society has to begin from the level of the individual, and from there it can expand to one's family, to one's neighbourhood, to one's community and so on."
Here are 3 daily steps to try:
- Make eye contact and smile with everyone you come into contact with. Notice how this feels and how you react when people smile at you.
- Notice how you engage with others? Are you positive? Do you encourage dialogue rather than monologue? Do people tend to mirror the behaviour you portray?
- Connect with gratitude and consider what you can appreciate from conversations that go well and those that don't. What can you take from them?
As human beings we can all work together to support each other or we can step on values and cause a ripple of negativity.
My message to you
"Human interaction is a powerful thing so be mindful of what you say and how you say it."
I am only one person yet my behaviour and interactions can cause a cascade of love and warmth across the people I engage with. It's all about fostering a culture of connection, humanity and compassion. It may start with me but it can continue as far as can be if we all play a part.
Like a Mexican wave, I'm starting this cascade of compassion. I'm smiling and noticing my own actions more and more because I am, I feel. Do you?