Forgiveness is such a strong word!

Have you ever had a hard time forgiving someone? I don’t believe anyone on the planet can answer no to that. Forgiveness. It’s such a strong word. Mainly because it takes us back to a time of pain when we felt hurt or we saw the worst of ourselves show its face, or we were just so unforgiving.

So let me show you the back door to forgiveness. If you’ve read this blog before, you can guess where I am going. No need to focus on the past. Stay present, in the here and now. Even if the person is gone from your life, search your memories only for instances of the four practices of otheresteem:

Accept who that person is. Suspend judgement for a while and just be open to discovering the person before you. What do they believe? How do they see the world?

Valuing another, stems from a deep respect of who that person is now.  I call this acceptance.  When we accept somebody, we are not trying to change them, but rather, understand who they are.  We feel in awe of their differentness from us and we strive to get to know them, to distinguish them from ourselves and from others

– From Chapter 1, Otheresteem

Appreciate the positive. What do you enjoy about them? How are they fun, strong, unique? What would you be able to see about them if you weren’t angry, hurt or frustrated with them?

Expect the best! Write a new story together, in which you leave space for them to show the best version of themselves. Be patient and behave as you do when you expect the very best from someone. Start small. A kind gesture, a smile. Make sure you notice.

When my otheresteem is positive for someone, I see them for what they are as well as for what they might become.  I can see beyond present shortcomings, into their ability to rise above them.

– from Chapter 1, Otheresteem

Be grateful for the relationship you hold together. Reflect on what you learn about yourself when you are in their company.

So , what do you think? Once you truly and deeply value that person, forgiveness frequently becomes a non-issue. Or you may find the right moment to express your feelings in a loving way. You are free from the past and ready for the future.

Of course, if you have been practicing otheresteem before, it will still be a challenge to practice with someone you feel you need to forgive. So walk the otheresteem path right to where it intersects with forgiveness. You might even enjoy the scenery!

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The Kindness of Strangers

Opportunities to practice otheresteem abound! It’s not just your immediate circle that benefits from your acceptance, appreciation, positive expectations or gratitude, even people you encounter casually can help you practice and give immediate feedback with their reactions to you.

In the book I mention looking into people’s eyes (the waitress serving you, the valet parking guy, the teller at the bank, fellow shoppers…) and asking their names as ways of accepting, considering and paying more attention to people. Some folks do this consistently and create an environment where people tend to feel comfortable. Be liberal with the smile, curious in conversation and open to input from people that seem interesting to you.

Actively appreciating the kindness behind services rendered to you is a wonderful way to make someone’s day AND energize yours! Make it a point to express appreciation at least once every given ammount of time. At first you can set a timer to remind you (a nudge that says “Quick! Appreciate someone!” on your phone or laptop will do. It’s fun to “have to” do it and always find someone worthy.

We all rely on the “kindness of strangers” much more than we care to admit. It won’t hurt to make sure we tell them and it will work wonders for your otheresteem practices. So thanks for reading this and pondering it’s impact in your life. Let me know if you make the effort and change something, as well as how it is working out for you.

I always rely on the comments of readers… just know that you really do make my day when you add your perspective to this blog :)

 

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Keeping it up: The Stream of Otheresteem

Since publishing the OTHERESTEEM book in 2009, I have been blessed to watch the concept take on a life of it’s own. I love it how ideas can do that! So now, some of my colleagues deliver otheresteem keynotes and people react to them by starting their very own practices of acceptance, appreciation, positive expectations and gratitude. It’s an ongoing adventure.

The Stream of Otheresteem is alive in more ways than one!

You, too, will discover valuing others systematically as a constructive practice that enriches your life each time you come back to it. You are invited to the party! It’s EASY  to participate. Take a day, any day, of the week (I’m kinda partial to that Otheresteem Wednesday) and remind yourself to PRACTICE valuing others more. You do not have to be perfect at it, but take it as honing your own skills to feel others and enjoy them. It will make a world of a difference!

For inspiration today, I’ll tell you a little story:

This month, one of my close friends and collaborators became a Mom for the first time. Her beautiful baby boy came to her through adoption and was much-awaited for years! As a welcome for Carlitos, we had a get-together at the new home of one of our mutual friends. Through the gathering so much LOVE poured out all over the place. You could FEEL it. The gathering included people who had never met, others who hadn’t seen each other for years. And every single one of them was open to the other. This tiny baby, born in unknown circumstance, who could have had any kind of a life, begins this one surrounded with otheresteem. Not only that, but creating a powerful environment for reunion, re-acquaintance, connection. A happy couple, filled with love. A tiny boy, receiving and amplifying that. A group of diverse, wonderful, true friends that find each other in the midst of this all-encompassing feeling. Otheresteem came easily that day. It inspired us all. It is contagious.

Happy Wednesday, readers. I celebrate you! Whoever you are, wherever you are. May otheresteem practices enrich your life. You know you want them to!

 

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The Wednesday Reminder: Value Others More.

I am truly grateful for that Wednesday reminder I get thanks to that now old suggestion by the wonderful Lolly Daskal to start #OtherEsteem Wednesday on Twitter. I recently made an effort to revive it, which I blogged about here. (Thanks again, folks!)

Though it rises and wanes over there, it does serve as a reminder to me to walk my other esteem talk and practice, practice, practice. I find that the mere fact that it is that day of the week, nudges me toward writing about it, exploring it, coming back to it.

Recently, I have been participating in a 12 week program featuring otheresteem to celebrate the upcoming publishing of the much-awaited Spanish version of my book. Being with this bunch for 12 whole weeks on the subject, coming back to it, deepening, exploring has kept me nimble and made the relevance of practice even more evident.

I thought the same when I went to the theater with my son the other day. The show was a monologue about what being human means. The actor has been doing the same monologue for more than 20 years. Talk about practice! I bet he gets something different out of the experience every time, too!

What are the constants in your life that you come back to? Might valuing others become one of them and change the way you interact and view the people around you?

P.S. If you speak Spanish and want to take a peek at the program (first four weeks are free along with 5 other courses on Happiness, Image, Spirituality and Riches) click HERE.

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Someone is driving you crazy? Look through.

Do you have an ongoing relationship in your life that just drives you up the wall?

It’s funny how we relate in a challenging and energy-sucking way with so many people. I know you have experienced this. After all, who hasn’t? I am talking about that person you feel you can’t cut out of your life, yet you suffer immensely in their presence. Every single time. It’s a test to your patience just to hang around this individual.  The worst you that you can be is just fighting to come out. You tell yourself she won’t get to you, but a few minutes into the conversation every cell in your body is vibrating, and not in a good way!

Well, let me just say: this is probably a GREAT opportunity for you to practice otheresteem. Nothing much to be lost and you can’t possibly feel much worse, so why not, I say.

So, I want to share with you a little game I play. It’s called looking through. Simple concept, actually. As I have a conversation with this person (and feel the exasperation coming on), I focus on looking through what he is saying, and into the good part of who that person is, what she is experiencing or aiming for, at the core. (Hint: it’s the POSITIVE part of them I am looking for and, yes, it’s hidden somewhere.)

Yesterday I was listening to an acquaintance go on and on bragging about how well he handled people being aggressive with him. He boasted that people tended to do that and went on to enlist his long list and ongoing collection of quarrels with people, known to me or not. Ugh! Not my favorite take on life. I found myself thinking: this is so stupid? Who in the world brags about fighting with others, antagonizing, being punched in the face and such? And then, I decided to play the look through.

As I continued to listen I looked intently. My head tilts a bit to the side when I do that. I realized he was saying how competent he was and how he usually came on top. He’s a survivor. He has turned this difficulty in relating into his way of life. It’s a hard life. And he feels strong for it. I breathed. I said, “You take pride in being strong. Surviving and winning.” He stopped the rambling description he was into. Sighed a bit and said “I’ve become quite good at that. The surviving mode.” and, finally, he laughed and went on to more amicable subject. What a rush! I understood him a bit more.

Wanna play? Try it out and tell me where it takes you.

….

P.S. Today is #Otheresteem Wednesday on Twitter, so if you are there, hop right in to the STREAM OF OTHERESTEEM!

 

 

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Allow yourself to be inspired by Others.

Me, Blessed

The intention was to have a word for it. I wanted people to be able to think about valuing others easily and readily. Especially the coaches I was training. We coined that word together to refer to the opposite side of a two way street: valuing others one way and self in return, or the other way around. Many of us have found it creeping into our everyday awareness. We use the word liberally and it helps us remember others on a daily basis.

But the concept also does something else for me. It allows me to be constantly inspired by others and the way they live, learn, work, connect. It lets me see beyond the outer shell and into the best they give out into the world. So, as a byproduct of the four practices I have found myself inspired beyond what I had experienced before. In awe of what people are capable of and thankful for what they open up in me. So today I write this post with great gratitude for what each and every person I encounter teaches me about who I am and who I can become.

So if it is inspiration you are looking for, look no more! It’s all around you if you choose to accept, appreciate, expect the best and feel grateful for your relationship to others. So, what do you say? WIll you allow yourself to be inspired by others? I highly recommend it! It is a simply wonderful feeling and highly productive experience.

 

Enhanced by ZemantaHey, are you on Twitter? Join us today and every Wednesday, by tweeting about how to value others more, with the hashtag #OtherEsteem!
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On Mediocrity and Conversations with Authors.

This week I have two reflections to share on otheresteem. The first comes from a response I had to a Facebook update by the always inspiring Dave Carpenter. He was talking about “creeping mediocrity” and how some of us come to lower expectations without even noticing. Provocative thought, as I have come to expect of him 😉 My response was:

“Creeping mediocrity, huh? I need only keep having high positive expectations of others and it rubs off on what I want from ME, too!”

 

I find this to be true and, as I explain in the book, it is one of the reasons I love working on the otheresteem practices, especially expectation that it comes full circle and ultimately boosts my self esteem. The truth is, if you can learn to value others, you will end up valuing yourself more. And if you make sure you don’t lower expectations but expect the very best from those around you, then how could you not offer to give the very best yourself?

The second reflection is about an book I just finished. Really good books bring up a bittersweet feeling for me. It’s nice to get something done, but it is also difficult to part with this nighttime companion; to end my imagined conversations with the author.  I feel empty, sad that it’s over. Like an old friend that I will miss. I find myself so attached to the ideas that I wish the book was longer. So, in saddened emptiness, I picked up the nearest book. It was not a new one. It was my own. I figured just a few words before drifting off to sleep. At first, I noticed everything I would now write differently, or correct (yeah, I do that). But upon letting go of the criticism – and remembering I am not so strict with other authors – I started really having that conversation with myself. How much have I been practicing? How can I deepen it? Am I still committed to these musings?

Would you like to know the answers? Not enough….By just doing it more…I am! Nice things to discover before drifting off to sleep. I think I’ll stick with this one, to the end. 😉

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Letting Things Pass

Sometimes expressing otheresteem is just about letting a few things pass. I keep reminding myself, when a person is significant to me, that “this too shall pass”. With that in mind, I begin to work on how I want our relationship to be when we get past this hurdle. How can I build on that? What do I want to continue valuing in this person, beyond what has occurred between us? These questions help me keep expectations positive, possibilites open and the future constructive.

Have you experienced this? What are YOUR ideas to help get past a rough patch in a significant relationship?

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Valuing Others: It’s an everyday thing!

I remember more than a year and a half ago when Lolly Daskal suggested #OtherEsteem Wednesdays on Twitter! (Thanks, Lolly!) She is a persuasive, vibrant, enthusiastic woman and she knew her Twitter much better than I. So, off I went and I created this blog, the Stream of Otheresteem tweets and the possibility for people to appreciate others more on that specific day each week. Yet, the most important thing it did was to keep me on the right track for otheresteem. To have me thinking every day of it. To sustain the effort for each of the 4 practices.

So let me share with you how I bring otheresteem into my daily routine and remain able to come back to it every Wednesday. I focus each day of the week on just ONE of the practices and cycle through them. So, on Mondays I make sure I accept people as they are. I observe how it plays out in my day. I write about it in my diary. I talk about it, explore, share. On Tuesdays I go into deep appreciation mode. For me, that means making some calls, writing some notes, finding some people that might not know I appreciate them. But also, making sure I appreciate even the people I find difficult to relate to. On Wednesdays I either write this post or wish I had. So I take Wednesdays to remember why I wrote that book in the first place! The sheer power of valuing others is reinforced by remembering to share it once a week. On Thurdays, I expect the best from the people around me and act accordingly. I start my day by setting intentions. This client will take my call. That associate will listen better. That friend will understand. And I go about my day making sure I act consistently with those beliefs I am creating about others. And on Friday, I am grateful for the relationships in my life. All of them. I meditate about gratitude. I go through an exercise my good friend Randall Krause taught me, imagining my inner circle and blessing them, then expanding bit by bit until I am grateful for my relationship to all mankind. It clears the slate. It gives me hope. It makes my interactions different that day.

So on the weekend, I get the opportunity to just be in the presence of those I love most. I rest from the awareness. Secure in the understanding that what I have practiced during the week is slowly but surely improving my already deep commitment to value those around me.

In my life, it has sometimes been hard to stick to some of my purposes. To sustain my efforts in time. I realize now that Lolly’s Wednesday suggestion, whether I have done it impeccably or not has become a great anchor for a lifelong learning adventure. And for that, I am ever grateful!

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Changing your mind might change the whole story.

We all write a story for ourselves. We put in the characters we meet along the way and we assign them a role to play. The more we treat them like we’ve written them, the more they seem to play their role. Sometimes they behave as expected, sometimes we need to stretch the storyline a bit. But once they are written in, it’s up to the original author to change who they are.  I know you, as I, have changed your mind about people. But, truthfully, not very often.

As you are the main character in the story of your life, you feel the need for antagonists. You want to know you are conquering truth and virtue and all that’s good. So sometimes, you feel you have to go up against someone. And you do. You write in the villians and expect them to behave accordingly. They are wrong, mean, bad, stupid, selfish, dorky, unreliable or all of the above. They make YOU look, by comparison, right, kind, good, smart, selfless, polished and reliable. Isn’t that nice?

Well, sometimes. The thing is, this a LONG story. And having someone be the villain all the time is not only boring, but suddenly not helpful to make you look good and, of course, FEEL good. Deep down you know you aren’t all of those things because of them, but actually, in spite of them or regardless of them. As you become aware of your contribution to the writing of the story, you understand that they can be exactly as you depict them, or someone else entirely.

So consider doing like a long-running soap opera. The characters shift around. Bad guys get knocked on the head and forget to be bad. Cynics fall in love and show good will. Choose a few characters you would like to befriend and rewrite their story. Give them space to move into a different way of being, to redeem themselves. Make that angry, abusive person the one who could use some appreciation. Make that bully the one who feels left out. Switch it around a bit.  Rewrite in a way that allows you to value them more.

I actually took to pen and paper to rewrite a few of my “character” descriptions. Changing theirs changed the relationship of my character to them. It made me act in different ways and expect a wider range of reactions. Try it out! Let’s see what this rethinking can do for you and how you value the people around you. You might discover some unexpected attributes in people you thought you knew. Positive ones that make YOU look and feel pretty good.  You could even write in a happier you! Expectation is a powerful ally for building otheresteem.

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