Gratitude is such an all-encompassing experience!
I know when I allow myself to fully acknowledge my own, it has a calming and focusing effect. Moreso when it is about the relationships I have with others. As one of the otheresteem practices, it is truly powerful. It can be done on your own and allowed to seep through your interaction with that person you are working on valuing more.
So, take a minute to center yourself. Breathe. Be. And now, direct your attention and energies to feeling grateful for having that person in your life. Like a meditation, if you find yourself focusing on the difficult aspects of your relationship, don’t fight it. Just move right back to gratitude. It helps for me to write a list on a piece of paper of all the things I am grateful for about this particular person and me interacting. You can do the same, or otherwise record the general feeling associated with this excercise. Draw, sculpt, sing. Art might be the only way to grasp the feeling. The point is, turn it into some token reminder. When I write the list, I make sure I carry it with me that day to revisit a few times more as the hours progress.
There is nothing you need to do at this point. Just be grateful for the relationship you hold together and see how this affects you and your view of the situation. Do you notice anything? Have you acted in consequence, by being kinder, perhaps or more understanding? Was the experience hard to hold on to, or pervasive as time went on? The point is: be mindful of the effects.
Remember that, as the others, this form of gratitude is a practice. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t find it easy or effective at first. Keep at it and it will become effortless and natural in time.
If you are on Twitter, remember this and every Wednesday to tweet about valuing others more. You can join the Stream of Otheresteem by using the hashtag #OtherEsteem. Raise awareness. Create Momentum. Build your otheresteem “muscle”!
Last week I invited you to explore what happened when you chose to really believe in someone consistently and see what happens! So, How did it go? It really boils down to faith, right? Having faith is life-changing. Whether it be religious faith that guides your everyday actions, faith in yourself to get you through tough times or faith in the “kindness of strangers” like Blanche DuBois would say.
I have even been exploring lately the link between that powerful concept, faith, and the practice of expectation I suggest in the book. To quote Chapter 1:
I will treat you very differently if I see you not only as who you are, but as whom you can become. Even more, if I believe you can become whoever you desire.
Is this not putting my faith in that person’s capability for change? In what that person could do if she allowed herself to. Remember, it comes after acceptance and appreciation. So, no, I do not NEED them to change before I love them. I have faith that they will! That they will get in touch with their higher selves when they are no longer afraid of what I will think of them. They know. I HAVE FAITH IN THEM. Doesn’t that say it all?
Otheresteem is definitely a leap of faith! A very rewarding one. A tough one sometimes. A leap you get better and better at as you take it more and more. As you choose to value others and act like you do. So if the time comes when your faith seems to be misplaced, when people make it hard for you to value them, you still have your faith! And it carries you through as you learn patience. As you understand what part is up to you and what part is not. And trust that doing your part will have an impact in what others choose. And THAT is an act of faith!
Last Saturday I had the opportunity of attending Randall Krause‘s great TWO WINGS retreat! It was an expansive experience that centered on learning how to balance the Human with the Being aspects of living. I especially appreciated the theme of how simple practices can make a big difference if done consistently. That has been, as you might know from reading this blog, my point exactly with otheresteem. But the dimension of being that we worked on in the seminar comes even more to life in the presence of the others there. Getting to know eachother’s struggles to grasp our humanness and our being created the space for shared otheresteem. Beyond judgement and criticism, when we are together, yet each doing work on themselves we feel inspired and in awe of others.
So, do you have a hard time suspending judgement long enough to work on otheresteem? Shift the focus and work on yourself in the presence of others. Tell them what comes up for you when you are with them. Make your struggles to understand and include them open and straightforward. Enlist their help in understanding them better. You might just find a new way of being…together!
Read more about how Randall experienced the weekend here.