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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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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The distance between you and me

Distance is such a relative concept! I can feel close to people halfway around the world or distant to the person right next to me. So what is it that draws you closer to others and what drives you away? We each have our preferences, but as my mentor, Will Schutz would say,

“It is NOT the differences between us that get us in trouble, but the rigidity with which we adhere to those differences.”

So how can we purposefully bridge those imaginary distances? How can we choose to come closer?

One way it the 4 practices of otheresteem, of course. Yet, to keep it even simpler, we can ask ourselves that very question in every action we take. Does this bring me closer to that person or does it- in my own mind – widen the distance?

Let’s explore three ways:

Being OPEN and HONEST brings you closer. Contrary to what you might think, if you allow yourself to be true and vulnerable you will create the possibility for closeness. It is about accepting yourself and understanding that your truth might not be theirs, yet you am acting from what you see. Authenticity is a great ally of closeness.

Accptance goes a long way. Stop yourself from playing the critic! Do it NOW. If you want to come closer to someone, make sure you suspend judgement. It’s not that you agree with them in everything. It’s the fact that you shift from judging to understanding that creates a possibility for more proximity. Being accepted, paradoxically, leads to less defensiveness and more willingness to change.

Recognition is a straightforward way to lessen the gap. Substitute the criticism you left behind, for open recognition of what you appreciate in the other. When you recognize openly and truthfully you make them want to come to you.

What OTHER ways do you use of coming closer to the people you want to be tighter with?

 

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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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Finding new things in old friends.

Love is a curious thing. It moves the world. It creates momentum for most everything we do. And, sometimes, it moves us away from truly valuing who a person is. Just because you love someone – even if you tell them every day like Bruno Mars does ;) – doesn’t mean you are valuing who they are, what they are becoming, how they are evolving. So here’s an otheresteem tip to practice acceptance and appreciation really close to home. Remember we are building a practice so every opportunity helps.

Today, make it a point to LOOK CLOSER. Look into that person’s eyes and see what you routinely miss when you look at that particular person. Really listen. Notice what they say. What they do and how they do it. Allow your awareness to take you where you haven’t been before. To find new things in old friends. Smile as you do this. Make a mental or actual note of what it is you hadn’t noticed before and marvel in it. Deepen your acceptance practice and if you can, even allow yourself to discover what made you miss that before.

Next, move to the second practice: appreciation. Of everything you now noticed, what stands out as something you enjoyed discovering? Make sure you share that tidbit. Just being noticed enough is an exercise in appreciation. Let the sweetness shine through. Stretch. Acknowledge. Smile together.

And give yourself extra credit for practicing otheresteem where it really counts!

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A fortunate accident

Yesterday my husband’s cell phone dialed on its own. A bit annoyed, he picked it up to see who it was dialing. An old friend and doctor we know. He smiled and figured he would like to say hello, after all. So he let it ring and when he answered told him he just wanted to say hi, know how he was doing and wish him the best for the holiday season. The reaction was overwhelming. Accustomed to being called on only in the event of a medical emergency or consult (our last call was how to stop a persistent cough while at the beach)  he was touched by the fact that my husband would think to call him. The fact is, we do love and appreciate him very much. Apparently, much more than my husband had let on. After the call, both men were left, no doubt, smiling and content.

Which got me thinking:

How about going for these random calls of otheresteem?

Yeah! Let’s pick a random number off the list and call to share some otheresteem. It’s a great way to practice and  a wonderful way to go beyond your personal picks. If you are anything like me, you try to stay straightforward and appreciative to the people nearest to you. But what about the ones spread further out? Like our doctor friend? Like so many others that haven’t made it to my to-do lists? So I am starting a random calls of otheresteem to-do as of this week. At least once a week for each of the four practices. We’ll see how it goes.

So, this is how I see it working:  I will write it in my schedule to make four “random”, “accidental” calls:

An acceptance call: “Just calling to let you know that I understand your point of view. That I can see that you… ” Just anything that this person might not be aware that I see, recognize and accept in them. Especially where they are different from me.

An appreciation call: “Just calling to say hello and tell you how much I appreciate your…” You know, that’s the easy one for me. ;)

An expectation call: “I am hoping we can create a better relationship in the future. The kind where we can…”  Well, talk without getting into a fight, express ourselves openly, trust eachother to do this or that… whatever positive expectation we are opening up for that person and ourselves.

(More on that in the next post! I just had a great expectation experience with an old client :) )

A gratitude call: “I am lucky to have you in my life. And grateful for our relationship. It means a lot to me that…” Simple enough, right? Well, it depends on who that random call recipient might be.

Still working out how to choose the random call recipients. Let me know if you try this out and I will keep you posted here in the comments how it’s going.

Oh, and one more thing… I DO appreciate your reading this post and leaving your reflections below. 2010 has been a great year to spread the Otheresteem ideas and I am thankful for the readers of this blog everywhere. Happy holidays and a great 2011 to you!

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Appreciation in the Midst of Year-End Madness.

Since the video post last week didn’t get much of a reaction, here I am back to writing. :D

The end of the year approaches and I find myself, like many others, scrambling to finish everything I need to do before 2011. And as I do, I realize how many people have become important to me in the last 12 months. Some to my work, some to my family life, some with their friendship, their writing, their inspiration. So I have started a going checklist to which I add every day those people who come to my awareness. I write down a name and why they have been important this year.

Then, when I have a moment, I jot a quick note to let them know or make that phone call (“I just called to say…”). It is a joy and an energizing activity for me. It keeps me on my toes, fills me with warm feelings and doesn’t really interrupt my workflow. Rather, it’s a great breather before changing activities.

How about you?  Are you practicing appreciation? Add a bit to your list. You are sure to enjoy it.

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Graceful Goodbyes.

Image from Montessori Services

Image from www.montessoriservices.com

I am inspired this week by the flawless application of otheresteem practices by one of my close friends in a difficult situation. No, she did not read my book. Yet she embodies everything I aim to express there. The grace, the care, the power! My friend is at a crossroads in her life. This very week she is ending a marriage of more than 30 years. It was a happy marriage. Except, of course, for the pain, the suffering, the squabbling, the loneliness and dispair of the last few years. Those were hard. Trying times and confusing situations that have brought about her share of anger, tears, frustration.

My friend has been a lifelong learner. Her interests have taken her to therapy, to study the enneagram, to healing with a Brennan technique practitioner, lifecoaching and many other explorations. After some prodding on my part, she also participated in The Human Element basic course with us and went on to become a certified trainer two years ago. That last experience seemed to click with her. It made her explorations of self take on new meaning and her previous experiences seemed to integrate so well that she went on a professional roll! As she worked through relationships in her life and made major changes in every aspect with the help of her coach, she has been blossoming and creating great possibilites for herself and others. But on the home front, things that were already unraveling were doing so at an accelerated pace.

After one particularly hideous fight with him, she wrote a letter to the person she calls her “best friend in life”, her husband of more than 30 years. In that letter, she accepted the end with grace, recognizing that he had changed and now wanted things to be different in a way that she did not. She described how she saw things without judgement, only clarity. She appreciated so many wonderful years together. The longest, most important friendship of her life. The children. The growing up together. The laughs and the support. She set highest expectations for the future: that they could work through this in peace and love. That they could part well and in time, recover the friendship that had started it all. That they would resolve material issues and secure the boys’ future. And she stated all that she was grateful for in the relationship they held together, the one they still have now and the one they will create in the future.

As she was telling me all this, I had the image of Montessori’s long, black strip. Their relationship being long and fruitful. She had laid it out and recognized that the horror of late was only a small part. A tiny white bit of a long, long experience. As a friend, I am so very proud of her. As a woman, I stand in awe and admiration. And as a human being, I am humbled by the beauty of otheresteem expressed. Today, in writing this, I feel blessed to know her and be a part of her life. Graceful goodbyes don’t get any better than this.

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Sharing the Good Times

CUMPLE
Image by MoneDays via Flickr

Otheresteem is all about learning how to value others and interact with them in a way that this becomes evident! So why not concentrate on sharing the good times? You know, those times when you are laughing, and enjoying yourself. It may be at work, when things are going smoothly or something suddenly works out. Don’t keep it to yourself! Share the celebration with those people around you that contributed to the outcome or have been suffering the time when you were not enjoying yourself. And how about with your loved ones? Sometimes it gets to the point where they only see the down side of you! Do you go to your friends only when you are in trouble?

You can make it a point to share the good times. To reach out to people when you are in the best of moods. Share a smile. Take a happy stroll with them. Let the happy times make up future memories. Notice when you are having the good times and focus on the sharing part. And make sure you are not attaching specific expectations to your sharing experience. Practice sharing the good just for the heck of it! It shows you enjoy their company enough to want them near you when you are happy. And that’s a powerful way to say: I value you!

I usually don’t attach pictures to these posts, but today as I was writing this, Zemanta showed this one in the Media Gallery as an option to illustrate the post. It’s me on my 40th birthday! I recall having many troubles at the time, yet THAT DAY was a day of sharing joy, eating cake, enjoying the company of people I love! And THAT’s what I am talking about! Good job, Zemanta! Good memories, life!


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