How do we learn to use our relationships with others to realize a new kind of relationship with ourselves wherein we are able to discover that who we really are is all we need to be? Our willingness to strive to employ higher ideals in our relationships with others rewards us with the Real Life our heart longs for.
Since the usual focus of our attention and interactions with others is centered on “me first” and the fulfillment of selfish desires, there is a great inner life lesson to be learned from working deliberately to put our usual self in “second place.” By practicing this intention in our interactions with others, we agree not only to change the way we see our relationships, but we have also agreed to be changed by the truths our new relationships will inevitably show us about us.
As you celebrate the holidays together with family and friends, use the following practices as an exercise and a means to self-discovery… keeping in mind that everything true you discover about yourself enlarges your relationship with life.
- Be as alert to what you can do to help someone else in any given moment as you are critically aware of others for failing to notice your immediate needs.
- Let anyone who wants to psychologically defeat you have his victory, and do it without revealing that you chose to give him the last word.
- In any moment of consequence, be as willing to see that you may be wrong as you are convinced that you are always right.
- Do whatever act of kindness you may be moved to do for another person without drawing attention to your deed, or to yourself for having done it.
- Look for ways to make moments work to the advantage of someone else besides yourself.
- When gathered with friends or family, instead of competing for the spotlight, voluntarily help to shine it on someone whom you know its light will emotionally lift or otherwise encourage.
- Even when you know that you are solidly in the right, rather than rub it in, sacrifice your righteousness.
- Should a sarcastic or unkind remark pop into your mind to tease, torment, or in any way “trash” another person, try swallowing it first to see how it tastes before you dish it out.
- Whatever it might be when your “moment in the sun” arises — such as being acknowledged or applauded for a deed well done — if you have the choice, give the best or better portion away.
- Let there be times when you don’t tell someone everything you know about her problem, even if your understanding of it is better than hers.
- When feeling displeased with someone, don’t show your displeasure, and save any necessary correction for a later time.
There are times when the greatest strength (and kindness) we can possess is to allow another their weakness without pointing it out or otherwise punishing them for it.