With the new year comes a rush of new vision and hope. Some people make resolutions, others try to build in different habits. However you slice it, it seems like a great practice to reassess where you are, and where you want to be.
As I said in my previous post, my main commitment of 2015 is to be a person of love, generosity, joy, kindness, and compassion.
This commitment has the potential to remain nothing more than a theoretical ideal. But I believe that real lasting change in one’s character can happen. I cannot just muster up more joy, but I can build in habits that might foster and deepen joy. Habit changes can make space for character cultivation. Unto that end, here are a few practical things I intend to do as I aim for being more loving, generous, joyful, kind, and compassionate.
- Shut off the iPhone when it detracts from present relationships. Sometimes I fill the space and silence with checking email or Facebook on my phone, and completely miss out on opportunities to engage with people who are right there with me. Can I actually take those moments to have meaningful connection with people rather than be consumed with technology and social media? Yes, I’d like to hope so.
- Listen to people. I think I’m a pretty good listener, but I still have room to grow at this. Am I always entering a conversation with curiosity and openness about what’s going on for another person? No…sometimes I’m distracted by other thoughts, thinking of what I want to say, or assuming I already understand the other person. I interrupt or disengage, which really isn’t listening well. Instead, I want to set aside my own agenda, and be open, curious, and truly seek to understand others.
- Value people and relationships above tasks and efficiency. Just this morning, I was hurried by the task of grocery shopping. There was no real deadline for getting it done; some voice inside me just said, “This task needs to get done NOW.” Because that was my aim, I rushed around the grocery store with my two children, getting upset with them for not falling in line with my efficiency, and barely acknowledging other people in the store. Later, as I reflected back on the experience, I realized that putting tasks above people probably resulted in me being less than kind and compassionate with my kids and others. And bonus, it ended up being an anxious, joyless experience for me.
I’m sure that I’ll come up with many more ways to cultivate love, generosity, joy, kindness and compassion for others, but this seems like a good place to start. Maybe in 2015 I’ll become a better wife, mother, friend, and neighbor.
What habits and practices do you practice to love people well?