4 Ways To Be Mindful Of Others

4 Ways To Be Mindful Of Others

Learning to see through other people's eyes in four short steps.

The way I see it, to be mindful of someone you need to show a certain degree of respect for them regardless of age, gender, race, etc. Respect does not equal being in agreement with everyone and everything they say. However, respect applies to one another's right to be happy and live their lives. If you ever wonder if you're correctly displaying this, ask yourself these questions:

1. Am I demonstrating ignorance?

I'm sure I don't need to tell you that we live on a pretty big planet, harboring an ever-growing population of seven billion people. We all come from different cultural backgrounds, which makes the world diverse and should be celebrated. Names and traditions common to other nations should not be shocking because they display an originality and a creativity that is uniquely human. So when you are confronted with something unfamiliar, instead of immediately judging it, try to understand it and find something about it that you like. You could even make some friends that way!

2. Is what I'm saying or doing necessary?

Sometimes we make fun of people for no real reason with no purpose to our actions or words. Next time you say something negative about someone, think to yourself: "Do I need to be saying this?" If you're saying it behind their back, the answer is likely no. If you're saying it to their face, think about whether it will just hurt them or whether it will actually help them fix their lives. And just to be clear, pointing out imperfections falls under the "Unnecessary" category because often those are uncontrollable. Pointing out someone's acne won't make it magically disappear, and will probably make the person feel overwhelmingly self-conscious.

Just saying.

3. Am I infringing on their right to be who they are?

This is an extremely important point similar to the fact that we come from different cultures. News flash: we also all have different personalities. Making someone feel bad about the things they are passionate about is disrespectful to their humanity and to the way that they were created. It drives me crazy when I hear comments about how "Weird" someone else's hobby is when a lot of times it's really just a display of originality. It's not wrong to be different, it's exciting. Treat people as such.

4. Am I making everything about me?

Finally, you have to put yourself in someone else's perspective. You could be saying, "Stop being dramatic" to someone who believes they have every right to make a big deal about their situation. You never want to make someone feel as if their struggles are insignificant. An example is the argument that other people have had it worse. Can we actually get people to stop saying that? You would never look at a person with one black eye asking for help and say "I have two black eyes so suck it up" because that does nothing to change the fact that the other person is suffering. Emotional stress is the same way, you just can't see it.

If you take the time to really think about these things, you could really make a difference. People tend to gravitate to those who understand them, and there's no way you can understand someone else if you make everything about you. So next time you say or do something someone else finds offensive, instead of immediately justifying go through the steps and see if you are being ignorant or prejudiced. We are equal but different, and we cannot coexist until we've all realized that and put it into practice.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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How Do You Show Love When You Can't Understand?

In light of the Parkland High School shooting

Isn’t it amazing that when trauma causes our world to stop, the earth continues to spin? When tragedy causes our time to pause, clocks are still ticking. The sun still rises and sets, people still make their mundane commutes to work and school, as if nothing has happened. I guess maybe if there is a big enough tragedy there will be posts on Facebook. But what is that really doing? Who does it help?

Yes, there is joy and life and goodness in the world still, but sometimes it feels non-existent. How do you tell a parent who just lost their child that life is still good? That the sky is still blue? How do you reconcile the disparity between the darkness of pain and the goodness of God? How do we show that God is love? How do we treat each other with that love? How do we care for each other when there is so much pain and anger and resentment? Especially when we use our fingers to point at each other, instead of connecting with each other.

Maybe the one who is wrong is not the others we point at, but the world we live in. You see, our world is fallen, our world is broken, and it is never going to be perfect. We don’t live in the Garden of Eden anymore. We feel pain and suffering and don’t know why. We don’t know how a good, caring God could let this happen. We don’t even comprehend the reality of our brokenness. We go through life as if we will never experience pain because we are “good” people. There are no good people, there are just people. So when we see suffering and tweet “#PrayingFor[insert location here]” are we actually praying? Are we lifting up these families, these people, these souls to the Lord? Are we thinking of someone outside of our own incredibly minute lives? Are we praying for the twisted, broken, darkened hearts of the people who cause such destruction?

Instead of saying that we are over-politicizing events, instead of saying that we are over-spiritualizing events, how about we do something? Our churches and our government need to take action. Our churches need to be praying for those in leadership of our country. Our churches need to be giving to those who are hurting. We do not need to have all of the answers. Our government needs to stop dividing between Left and Right and start uniting as humans.

Cover Image Credit: Wilfredo Lee

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To The Man Who Knew My Walls Were Made Of Concrete But Knocked Them Down Anyway, Thank You

My walls were cement and you took them down with a single blow.

Many might not realize this, but "finding yourself' is so vague. As we grow older, we change, things happen, we meet new people and experience life in a whole different way than we did 5 years ago. Finding yourself often means learning who you are: what you like, what you dislike and everything that makes you, you. It's a difficult task to achieve. To accept and love every part of who you are isn't easy. But while it might be tough, it is the most enlightening experience.

Everyone has their own way of finding themselves. Many surround themselves with family and friends, others feel they need to go on a solo journey for a while. Everybody is different. I had thought many times that I had found myself, only to reveal that I hadn't quite hit that mark in my life yet.

Then I met you.

This may sound cheesy, but it's true. Now don't get hot-headed over there, you're not the only one who took part in this discovery, but you play a very significant role.

Accepting who you are often involves looking at past events. Which is often why it can take so long for many to find themselves. We often are hiding from our past, even more than we hide from the possibilities of our future. I was struggling with this for so many years. I had moments where I had come to ease with these past events, but I never fully accepted that they were apart of who I was. I was scared to, I thought that nobody would be able to accept me for both who I am today and who I once was before.

You came along like the wind. I wasn't expecting it. The walls I had built were made of concrete, very few have been able to make their way through those locked doors. Yet, you did it so effortlessly. You never pushed, you never forced anything out of me or guilt tripped me into telling you anything. The words overflowed out of my mouth like word vomit, all at once. Before I knew it tears were streaming down my face and I realized I did it. I said everything I had been needing to say. About what had happened, how I felt. I said everything that I needed to, to a person who wasn't there to experience any of it with me.

That was what I needed.

With arms wide open you not only accepted that past, but embraced it. You showed me that, it was who I am. I finally understand what my mother has been telling me for so many years (thanks mom)! You had me bring back all of the parts of myself. The parts I was scared of, the parts that I didn't generally like, but most importantly, you brought back the parts of myself that I once loved so much.

I can know live a life without fear of judgment. The term, "if you don't love me at my worst, you don't deserve me at my best" was brought to a whole other level. If someone can't appreciate all of me, they don't deserve any of me.

Thank you, for reminding me of who I once was. Like I said, you didn't do all of it. My family and friends have been here for the journey for the long run. Keeping me going with every day that I had wanted to quit. You, you gave me that extra little push I needed to cross the finish line.

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