With our busy lives we often forget to listen to ourselves and to others. We are too busy doing things rather than being who we are. When we listen to how we feel we gain insights in to what we need to do, we go with the flow of life.We also understand if we are merely doing something out of habit or obligation rather than because we actually want to. Really listening to others can also release us from second guessing what they meant as we can ask them at the time. This can save a lot of misunderstandings that spoil relationships. Listening involves taking time with the person, reflecting and giving feedback on what you think you heard to confirm if it's correct. At times we may hear one thing but in fact it wasn't meant that way at all. We all hear through our own filter of reality which the other person may not share. We all have our version of events in life which are true for us as they have been shaped by what has happened to us from birth to the present time. Life is a tapestry of events and people. The beauty is in the differences as we learn so much from them. Listening helps us to understand these differences, accept them and move on.
With our busy lives we can become detached from others in our lives and end up feeling isolated as a result. When we truly listen to our friends, family and colleagues we gain so much in connection and insights in to our own lives. We also start to understand other peoples point of view without feeling defensive of our own. We begin to see the world as a beautiful tapestry where differences are to be celebrated instead of a threatening place to withdraw from. We realize there are many similarities between us, the common ground which is always there. We also have to listen to ourselves and how we feel as a first step. If we don't do that we are less able to understand others. Knowing yourself is one of life's greatest lessons. The other is self-acceptance of all your perceived flaws with a sense of humor that doesn't take it all too seriously. We are meant to have fun and enjoy life. If we listen to other peoples stories of their lives and points of view instead of worrying about what might or might not happen we could prevent a whole lot of misunderstanding and have more peace of mind!
You adopt many roles in life but what version of yourself are you currently living out? What roles do you identify with the most and which provide you with continuity? All roles, such as the ones we have at work, home and in our families are not forever, they change as we change. We may move to college or university leaving our original home, become parents ourselves and change jobs. These all give us new roles and with it a sense of identity. Our communities also give us an identity and within that a role. You may be the person others come to in a crisis or a keen gardener who helps other people with theirs. At work you may be the organized one or the person who is likely to be there when the going gets tough. You may be the problem solver. In our families we can adopt an original role then as we grow up if family members can change with us we have a new role. Many children get frustrated with parents when they try and keep them stuck rather than see them as the adults they have become. What you need to ask with all your roles at work, home and in the community is - is the role you play beneficial to you now? If not how do you want it to change? You may need to draw new boundaries with family and friends if you want to make changes. If you are always expected to babysit for friends and no longer want to do so as frequently then a new boundary has to be drawn for example. If you are always the one to stay late at work but want more time with your family, you may need to draw a new boundary with your boss! If you are identified with being the family carer but now wish to take a job which will be a new role for you, you will find others also need to change. Sometimes they are not too keen on that idea! However, being true to who you are now is important to your well-being and also to theirs.
We all use our power in life which can bring harmony to people and situations or not. The right use of power is to heal not harm even if that means we walk away to another chapter in life. We understand we are all evolving and need compassion when we make mistakes. We use power wisely if we help people in our communities in ways that do not detract from their independence or privacy. We offer advice based on kindness and tact if asked. We refrain from giving unsolicited advice to boost our own egos. The wise use of power in wider society is to help the vulnerable without treating them as less than ourselves simply because they are not as fortunate. We are all students in life learning from each other. with relationships the best mirror for our own growth. In our lives, the wise use of power is to find ways to share skills and experience and not to discard them as irrelevant. It is valuing yourself and your contribution without feeling you are not good enough. It is thinking before you act or speak. It is speaking your truth respectfully , owning it, and realizing it is your take on reality and may not be everyone's. Standing in your own power can be frightening but it is freeing as well. With freedom comes responsibility. We need to use it well and wisely.
Each of us has a different view of what we see as beautiful. However, with our busy lives we often forget to look around us at the many gifts of beauty in life. Our media is apt to focus on what isn't going according to plan rather than the many things that are. Society as well has a different view of beauty which is portrayed in magazines and on television shaping opinions not always for the best. Beauty however can hide within chaos and is always there to be found by those who take the time to do so. I love the simple things in life that are also profound such as a beautiful sunset or sunrise, a smile from a child, trees rustling in the wind, the smell of cut grass and of dew in the morning. The kindness of a stranger is something I value and have often experienced. To me this is beauty in action . Forgiveness and tolerance are also acts of beauty. If we become more mindful within our lives we will be able to tune in to the beauty we all have inside us which is never ending and always there. Then we will see the beauty in others who are not in society's view beautiful. We will see that our planet is rich with beauty which lifts our mood.
Ankhra Laan-Ra. Glasgow based Well-being and Fitness Coach.