Practicing otheresteeem is not only about people different from you or people you have not been able to relate to well. There are closer, more significant relationships that you can work on. For instance, reflect:
Who have you drifted apart from?
Who have you allowed to slip away?
As life develops, as time goes by and you go about your daily life, you tend to neglect some relationships that you enjoy and benefit from but that are not in your close circle of influence. Perhaps an old friend, a relative that you haven’t seen, a colleague you enjoyed working with but no longer have that project going. A number of things can keep us separate. Guilt gets in the way sometimes. If you forgot to call on her birthday, or didn’t find the time to congratulate him on the award, or attend her mother’s funeral, you might block yourself from further contact to avoid facing that you acted in ways you did not intend to in the past.
Otheresteem and the intention of practicing it can lead to increased awareness about issues such as these. Whatever the case, just realize the unintended distance between you and some people you have slipped further away from. Notice if you would like to be closer. Then, just as practice, take the plunge! Call them up. Ask them out. Just slip them a note, email or phone message. It might make a world of a difference or not at all, but you will be practicing a different approach, based on otheresteem. Whatever you do, do not make these approaches about the past, or intend to patch things up this time. Use the four practices in your encounter:
- Accept what is and whatever response they give you. In any case, take it as an opportunity to understand yourself and how you react to others.
- Appreciate actively. Tell the person what you appreciate in him or her. Be clear and to the point. What made you think of them?
- Expect only the best from this encounter. Beware of unreasonable expectations about the outcome. Remember you are practicing otheresteem and the focus is on the giving here, not the taking. Make sure you give freely and not expect a specific reaction from the other. I often hear in my head the lyrics to that Santana song: “Oh, Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.” Get beyond the fear by expecting a learning experience in whatever form it comes and being open to the other person reacting positively.
- Be grateful for the relationship you hold together now, for the relationship you held in the past and for the possibilities ahead of you. Make that as clear as you can, especially to yourself.
Surely, this practice will bring you a little bit closer. Maybe to the other person, maybe to yourself, maybe to understanding the power of otheresteem. Lets see where it goes. Let us know in the comments. Share your story and we can all learn from eachother. Hey, it might even bring US a little bit closer!
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