10 Ways You Can Give The Gift Of Your Time

10 Ways You Can Give The Gift Of Your Time

Are you empathetic, or just sympathetic?
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This Christmas, the best gift you could have given your loved ones was your time.

So many of us are busy running around, doing this and that, and we forget the whole reason for the season.

I believe that while God wants us to remember and value the birth of His Son, He also wants us to treasure our loved ones, especially during this holiday.

During this holiday break, choose to be empathetic and not merely sympathetic towards your loved ones.

Being merely sympathetic means you listen, but you don't really try to relate or understand what your loved one is going through.

Let's not take our loved ones for granted, and let's give back to them by being empathetic, which means to listen and to care.

Here are 10 ways you can be empathetic instead of being sympathetic:

1. Your intentions of listening to that person are pure and are not misguided/inspired by selfish-gains.

2. Carve out the time and space to intentionally listen to the person.

3. In that space of time, you must be completely immersed in communication with that person and be willing to be emotionally invested.

4. Put yourself in that person's shoes. You must find something in you to connect with your loved one, even if you cannot fully relate to their circumstances.

5. Listen to their whole story fully before you interrupt them or make any enquiries or comments. Remember to be sensitive when you do make comments. Think carefully about your responses instead of just blurting out your feelings about their situation.

6. Don't be the "at least" person, meaning you make statements that make their situation seem better than it is. For example, if your friend were to tell you they were failing all their classes, making a statement like, "At least you've never failed a class before," may make that person feel worse and give the impression that you don't really care about what they are going through.

7. Make sure you listen to them more than you talk. This does not mean you keep silent; however, you make sure that you don't turn the conversation into a time for you to talk about yourself. Remember, it's not all about you, it's about them.

8. Don't be quick to pass judgements on what that person is sharing with you. You are not here to be a judge. You are here to be a listener.

9. Be honest, even if the truth hurts. Don't be afraid to be real because your words may be constructive and helpful to that person's growth. However, you don't have to feel like you need to give that person answers or even solutions. Most times, your loved one just wants you to listen, and that is enough.

10. Show them and remind them that you love them and always will. No matter what happens, you are always going to be there for them and care for them.

Cover Image Credit: http://f.fastcompany.net/multisite_files/fastcompany/imagecache/1280/poster/2013/12/3023417-poster-g-empathy.gif

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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