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Dec 28

New Year New Awareness

Posted on Wednesday, December 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

I sat down in a coffee shop today.  A young professional to my left.  Another man to my right.  One sat with a beverage, a laptop and fine clothes.  The man to my right sat wearing shabby, unkempt clothes, with nothing in front of him.

Those of you who know me well probably laughed: a) that I noticed; and b) that someone dressed less “casually” than I did.

I thought I’d be nice.  After setting down my stuff, I said to the man on my right, “You don’t have a beverage, can I buy you one?”  He said, “No, thank you.”  I walked to the counter.  Five minutes later he left. 

I wonder: Was I rude?  Did I judge him?  Did I make him feel less than?  Did I dis-empower him?  Did I, in seeking to be a blessing, wound him?

Unfortunately, I can be judgmental.  Most people wouldn’t guess that, but it’s true.  I have to fight off judgments.  I  assess people to try to understand them.

I have belittled people in my assessment.

Because, sometimes I think I have all the answers.
Sometimes I think I’m right when I’m wrong.
Sometimes I think I’m I brilliant, but I’m ignorant.
Sometimes I think I’m wise, but I’ve given empty and vacuous advice.

So, I try to remember my own successes and failures.  In doing so it helps me to heighten my awareness of my own feelings.  When I remember how hard it was choose wisely it humbles me enough to be a compassionate support.

When we’re trying to help someone I have a few strategies that keep me in check.  Maybe you’ll be in conversation in which this week with someone who wants to make some resolutions.  If so, perhaps these will help you too.

Increase Your Own Awareness

Ask yourself:

  • What’s one of the best decisions that I ever made?
  • How did that decision positively affect me?
  • How did that decision positively affect others?

Increase Accountability:

  • What’s one of the worst decisions that I ever made?
  • How did that decision negatively affect me?
  • How did that decision negatively affect others?

Now that you have done a self-check, you’re little more humble and self-aware; I feel more capable of being a positive supportive person.  Now, when the opportunity presents itself you can ask your friend similar questions.

Increase Your Own Awareness:

  • What’s one of the best decisions that you ever made?
  • How did that decision positively affect you?
  • How did that decision positively affect others?

Increase Accountability:

  • What’s one of the worst decisions that you ever made?
  • How did that decision negatively affect you?
  • How did that decision negatively affect others?

I try to followup those conversations with prayer.  On the drive home, I pray, remembering, “Where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” 1  I pray, “Thank you for my friend and our conversation.  Please help her/him…”

1 – Psalm 121:1-2, NIV

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