Happy Mother's Day Everyone! I found it interesting to reflect on the meaning of Mother's Day and to consider the value we all bring to the world by the 'mothering' we do whether or not we are mothers in the traditional sense of the word. We all have so many opportunities to mother or show care, love and kindness. It is in this kindness that we can all rejoice in, on Mother's Day or on any other day too!
In last fortnight's blog we explored self appreciation and rejoicing in the value we bring to others by what we do. I have been thinking about how we can assist others to understand this too. Do you ever ask someone to do something and are met with resistance? So often I make a request or issue an order to someone, usually a family member, without stopping to take the time to explain to them why I am making the request or to help them understand the value of their contribution. I will offer you a simple, practical example from my life and trust you may find it useful to apply to yours.
It goes something like this - I hear myself bark an order like 'can someone please unpack this dishwasher? I often forget to consider what the other person is doing or even if they can hear me! Often my request goes ignored or is perceived as a bossy, inconsiderate order. If I am truthful, often my intention could do with a gentle examination and polish up. This lack of clarity and truthfulness around intention and helping others understand is just perpetuating an unhelpful habit. So how do I change this habit and bring more understanding, authenticity and peace to the situation?
My friend Shadi told me of an interesting way to think about the word 'understanding'. When we understand something we have a stand under our position. For me the best stand or support for any situation is truth, kindness, wisdom and compassion. As Ghandi says 'be truthful, gentle and fearless'. If we are truthful and gentle we have nothing to fear.
So what understanding can I bring to this situation of requesting help to unpack the dishwasher, or any other request for help?
1. Deliver the request in a gentle, kind and considerate manner. Make sure to connect with the other person so they have the opportunity to hear, understand and consider your request.
2. Assist them to understand the value of their contribution and to self appreciate!
Often others do not understand why we are asking for help. They also may not understand the value such help brings to us. Without this understanding requests may be perceived as a bossy order! It may be helpful to facilitate understanding with a statement like 'I am trying to get dinner ready and there are no plates, can you help me by unloading the dishwasher?' And a follow up thank you and reiteration of the value of their contribution to you. Something like 'thank you, that took the stress out of trying to do everything at once. When I have done this I have perceived a lightbulb moment in the other person. If the request is not able to be met, understanding is required.
There are a couple of important things to consider here, related to that 'under standing' base of wisdom.
It is not easy to change habits which have been tossing us around for years! But, it can be fun to give it a try. I like to start with simple, practice life situations which allow me to build up for the more challenging ones.
In appreciation for you all. Have a great fortnight!