A humbling experience, for sure. Even though I am a consummate helper and enjoy putting myself out there for people in my personal and professional life, asking for help is still a challenge. Especially when I really need it. Recently, I have been exploring the otheresteem aspects of it. Whom do I go to for help on something important? What does it mean? What does it tell the other person? How can I learn from this?
I read a phrase on Facebook that caught my eye:
Don´t feel bad if people remember you only when they need you
Feel priviledged that you are like a candle that comes to their mind when there is darkness.
I am taking this opportunity to understand my reaction to being helped and others’ reaction to my asking. Of course there is the fear that they will turn me down or see me as weak, dumb or whatever the case, but even worse is the feeling that they will say yes. Then what? What will they expect from me? How will it change us? The answers are varied of course, but I have found much to learn in this sense. How highly must I think of someone to go to them for help? How highly must they think of me to offer it freely and with no strings attached? There is room for let-downs, of course, as well as wonderful surprises! I can take it, they can take it, we can take it! WE can go to the next level of our relationship or leave it learning how it happened.
I believe that learning to ask for help and deciding who to ask is as much an otheresteem practice as an act of swallowing your own pride. I might be asking more frequently, even when I don’t need it so much, just to show I believe they would help me. What do you think?
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I am not in the U.S.A. now, so don’t get to join in on extensive celebrations, but I would like to just congratulate everyone who is celebrating this wonderful day. It’s such a constructive thing to allow space for thankfulness to appear. So, yes, good idea to celebrate even in our own corner of the world (alright, you can have turkey too!)
Just remember today, of all things you are grateful for, most of all, be grateful for the relationship you hold with others. Here’s a little checklist of ways in which you might explore your gratitude even in the not-so-easy relationships:
Be grateful for their presence. Just for being in your life. Imagine what life might be like if you lost them and realize in which ways it would be different. More specifically, what you would miss.
Be grateful for what they have helped you learn.A tough mentor left you with great self-discipline, a pas
t love left you understanding more of what love should be. You get the point.
Grateful for the path you walked together. For the memories and the trials you faced beside them, you might find it good to feel grateful.
- Being in a State of Gratitude (aspire-cs.com)
- Gratitude (wellbeingforpp.wordpress.com)
Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Today we celebrate Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) in Mexico. Contrary to what you might think, it is a happy celebration, an opportunity to remember your departed friends and family with love and appreciation. During the festivities, we write poems defying death, eat candy skulls and share a meal with the spirits of those who have passed away before us.
As we remember the dead, I realize that the way we do is a great expression of otheresteem. We recall all their virtues and none of their difficulties. We appreciate what we can in them, and accentuate the positive.
We could be doing that for the living, too!
How would you speak of the people around you if they were already gone? Would you find new things to appreciate in them?
¡Feliz día de muertos a todos!
Just a quick note to thank everyone who participated yesterday in bringing back #OtherEsteem Wednesday on Twitter. Here’s a beautiful list of tweets, 260 in all! Wonderful for this revival of an inspiring journey started more than a year ago.
Check out this PDF created with the tweets from it all through TWEETDOC! Enjoy and see you next Wednesday! YOU inspire me!
If there is one relationship where otheresteem practices work wonders it is in the one on one, romantic involvement of a couple. I have been married for 20 years now and happily so. No, its not all rosy all the time, but all in all, it is very enjoyable. I believe the crucial part is that I feel accepted and valued by my partner, even during the tough times. Not that I don’t sometime want to wring his neck (figuratively speaking, of course) and he, mine I am sure; but otheresteem is strong for us. The trick is how to make it evident. Every single day, one of the practices or more than one, make their way into our conversations with eachother. What do I appreciate in him? Have I accepted that aspect of him that I find so different from how I imagine it should be? What am I grateful for? How do I face this difficulty by expecting the best from him? Just asking myself those questions puts me in a different place. One of building a lasting, rewarding relationship together! And THAT is a lifetime adventure!
P.S. I LOVE HIM! (Can you tell?)
One of the most powerful things we can do for another human being is to believe in them! Even before they do. Even in the face of adversity. Even now. Think about it:
How do YOU react when someone else consistently believes you can do better, be better than you are at present?
It is a gift to the other and to yourself. We tend to shy away from making this stand because it puts the result out of our control. It takes the other to make us right and, if we are attached to being right, it is a difficult thing to do. Yet, seen differently, believing that someone can truly improve and is on the way to a better way of being is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You will treat them differently, generate possibilities, create the space in which the other feels invited to move in. Its the others’ choice if, when and how to take you up on this, but it doesn’t make you wrong to want it. It makes you stronger. More influential. Less attached to the present.
So choose whom to start with and how far you want to reach out into the future. But remember to come about it as an excersise for YOU, to see how well you can do it, how big you can dream, how consistent you can be in seeing setbacks as stepping stones, how well you can set aside the fear of failure. Don’t blame the other if they are not living up to your expectations for them. See if you can still believe! Stay on track! Focus. Even before they do.
What if the intentions of the person in front of you are not evident? What if they are acting out? What if they are so different from you that you do not understand what is happenning? Every day, we take the opportunity to judge whether we accept the way each person behaves or not. It is not really about what they do. It is about the meaning we attach to it. They do this because they are selfish. That, because they don’t care about us. The other thing because they don’t understand! We react defensively because we believe we know what’s behind their behavior. We are afraid of it!
But what if we are wrong? Perhaps even they have not taken the time to reflect on their motivation. They have not asked themselves the question.
What is it you hope to acomplish with this?
Do you think it will bring us closer? Are you trying to be right? Do you want to be helpful? Even it the effect is contrary to their intention, just asking them sincerely, allowing space for them to reflect and maybe even correct course can be a great otheresteem exercise! It will at least disarm your defense mechanisms long enough to contemplate less evident possibilities. Are you brave enough to try it out?
One of my favorite authors on health and healing is Bernie Siegel. If you haven’t yet read “Love, Medicine and Miracles“, I highly recommmend it. Last night, while reading a few lines from “How to Live Between Office Visits“, I stumbled upon this reflection about the power of listening and how it heals:
When our children were growing up, if they came to me with their troubles I usually suggested solutions for them – join a group, see a therapist, take vitamins. They said, “You’re no help.” But when I sat and listened, they thanked me for what I did and told me how much I had helped them.
Listening is a wonderful way of showing otheresteem! It basically says: you matter, I take you into account, I am interested in you. And just as Bernie Siegel says, it is a lot do do for a fellow human being. In terms of the otheresteem practices from my book, it is a cornerstone of ACCEPTANCE. As I cannot fully accept that which I do not understand, deep listening is a great way of discovering who the person in front of me really is. If you can get past trying to be right or seek agreement with that person into striving to understand their point of view and getting to know them more, you will be well on the way to building acceptance.
I welcome your comments below. What is your experience of listening as an otheresteem builder? Can you value people more easily when you allow yourself to listen and suspend judgement?
A great tweet by John McClung today reminded me of why I started all this!
It reflects my sentiments exactly! The whole idea of coming up with the word was to allow us to speak of it, reflect on the matter, practice it. Otheresteem is, above all, a natural way in which human beings interact and build relationships. But the more thought we give it, and the more we allow ourselves to expand the extent to which we value others, the better. Of course I hope you read my book and make the word count for you, so that it will be an easy way to tend to that aspect of living in your language. But, most of all, my hopes are that in discussing this we will all feel inspired to try it out.
So, do the deed: value people more today! See where it leads you. And if you want to explore further, buy the book, or talk about it with the people around you, or just visit this blog every week for reminders.
Make building otheresteem your daily challenge and enjoy the process!
My mentor, Will Schutz, used to say that there was really only one fear: the fear of not being able to cope. Perhaps you have cut someone out of your life, or simply reduced the ammount of otheresteem you allow yourself to feel for that person because you were afraid you could not cope with what you felt like in their presence.
It is part of our self-protective instinct to steer clear away of things, people and places we fear we cannot cope with.
But, look again! You may very well find that you have grown in the past few months or years. That you are stronger. That you have learned to cope with more than you could in the past. Healing has set in. You are immune to some things that hurt you deeply in the past. You can now afford yourself the luxury of being more understanding, generous, close.
There is no better gift to give a loved one, than to open a pathway for them to come back into your heart. A possibility. A way out of the shortcomings of the past. A fearless way, in which you know you can cope, you are protected; you are open, but not prey. Feel yourself, be honest, find the relationships you used to be afraid of and understand how forgiveness can mean just changing your expectations of what may go on between you. As I have said before, “Expectation is all about creating the space for others to do better than they have in the past.” A fearless way back into your heart can be a powerful thing. It can be a significant way of showing yourself how you have grown. Let go of your past fears so you will be ready to face your present ones. And don’t forget to give yourself new pathways into your own heart too!
So, who will it be this time?