Life is about relationships. You have hundreds and hundreds of them.
Your relationship with your self
Your relationships with others
Your relationships with your stuff, time, space, and information
Next to the relationship you have with your self, the most important relationships are those you have with the people in your life.
The number of people you relate to, interact with, is more extensive than you might initially think. Family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers are first in mind. But don’t stop there.
Add to that list your acquaintances and the multitude of people you interact with casually, like people you pass on the street, sit with in public spaces, that provide services for you, and help you transact business.
Your influence spreads much further than you first thought, doesn’t it?
What impression do you make on them? Did you brighten their day? Did you see them? I don’t mean did you simply look at them. Did you actually notice details about them? What was their posture or the color of their eyes?
What did you say to them? What words did you hear them speak to you, and how did they make you feel? Their choice of words can change the tenor of your day. Your choice of words matters, too.
Poet Maya Angelou said, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
The last thing I said to my kids each day as they left for school was, “Find an extra person to be kind towards. It only takes a few words.” Now that they’re adults, I still say it to them, and I remind myself to do the same.
Our choices about how we interact with people affect others. A genuine smile while holding eye contact with the people who like you, love you, serve you or even just notice you can make a difference in someone’s day.
Honest words of encouragement, assurance, and genuine appreciation do the same. Even the simplest of stories you tell can inspire.
When you choose to accentuate the positive, it lifts others on the warm currents of the upward spirals of good that you create.
It pleases me every time I read the back doors of Kane Trucking company vehicles.
Written as large as the company name is Be Kind, Be Careful, Be Yourself. How cool is that?! I’ve admired the company for decades because of the positive message emboldened on their trucks.
Conversely, you can just as easily bring others into the pits with you when you’re irritated and frustrated. It’s hard to be with people who complain without action, blame without a solution, and gripe without end. Ask yourself whether you want to be that person and exude that type of negativity towards others.
Hear your self as others hear you.
Words matter. Listen to your words.
Watch your words and the effect your words have on others.
As promised, here are the three word watching tips that can improve your relationships, both casual and close.
1) Pay attention to how others’ words affect you.
This trains you to be more aware of what you say to others. When you feel upbeat, you’ll be able to duplicate it the next time you have the opportunity to impact someone’s day positively. When you're having a negative day, you’ll know what not to say, unless you have a listener that welcomes hearing you vent. You might want to ask them first. Read here for the difference between venting and complaining. (I've always offered a 'Vent Visit' to new clients to encourage them to bring to the surface the things they'd like to change in their day. I learn a lot about them.)
2) Find opportunities to listen to not only the words they use but the underlying meanings of what they say.
What’s their objective? Are they trying to create connection by telling their similar experience? Or maybe they don’t have a goal other than to move on to the customer behind you. Read more in a recent post.
3) I’ve saved the most important tip for last: Know when to listen.
It’s hard sometimes, but please be quiet when someone else is speaking.
My niece is adept at stopping our family from speaking over each other in our excitement to share in the conversation. I didn’t realize how often all of us do it until she highlighted it.
Here's bonus tip. Actually, it's a challenge but we all like bonuses.
Find an ‘extra’ person to be kind to today.
When you ask how they're doing, mean it. If their service or their smile made a difference for you, say it.
Do it again tomorrow, and the next day until being 'extra' thoughtful and 'extra' kind is synonymous with being yourself.
Please share your thoughts below about the times someone's small gesture improved your day.
What do you do to create a positive and caring relationship not only with those close to you but those with whom you have casual contact?
What did you do before COVID-19 reminded us of how much we rely on each other, especially those we have ‘casual’ relationships with, like medical and retail professionals?
Have you done anything differently since then?
If this post added something to your day, please forward it. You’ll make my day and someone else’s too.
Be kind. Be careful. Be yourself. And watch your words.