Avoid.

Ever avoided something? Ever veered clear of taking an action or saying something that needed to be said? If you said yes, you’re not alone, people everywhere experience similar feelings as humans tend to avoid uncomfortable situations. It’s a natural thing to avoid the difficult tasks we need to accomplish due to our fears of upsetting others and disrupting a safe balance.

I have plenty of situations and conversations that I tend to avoid out of fear of making a mess of life’s good balance at that moment. I do this at home and at work and I hate myself at times for this behavior. I know that I would be better off if I just made the decision to say what needed to be said but I have an overabundance of concern for the feelings of others. I often allow this concern for others to walk over my feelings and grind them into the ground.

It’s a fault that I’m not alone in ownership of. We are more concerned than we want to admit about the feelings of others. It’s the real humanity in us, our ability to fear upsetting others that makes these hard times difficult to speak to and easy to try to avoid. We need to learn how to speak up without fear and skip avoidance altogether.

Think about what would make you happy, think about what you could say to someone else that would help make your life better. Now, look at the action that needs to be taken to get to where you need to be happier, prepare yourself to speak up for yourself. As you speak up for yourself say what needs to be said with empathy towards the person you are speaking with, remember to be honest and straightforward though as that will help all parties involved understand the changes that you hope to happen.

Don’t avoid speaking up when things need to be said, take some time and think through what you want to say then find a moment to share it. I cannot say the outcome will be ideal but you will feel better in the long run after speaking up for yourself.

Interest.

I’ve mentioned this before but learning new things by reading then applying is one of my all-time favorite past times. I love reading books that have a lesson to be learned and a new way to look at life. There are times when I am constantly reading the same styles of book, ones that promote self-improvement and time management. I get there are people who look at these books and think they are complete folly, but I take the good from them and apply them in my day to day life.

There are plenty of reasons to spend a little time each day invested in self-improvement. First to improve your quality of life, not because you are broken or need improvement but because too many of us fail to see the good we do and the strengths we have. Being honest we are often too critical of our weaknesses, we need to be more kind when we look inward at what we do. Investing a little time into self-improvement can truly make your mental well being better as you are a bit kinder to yourself.

Second would be to learn topics that can help you to be a better friend, primarily a better listener who can respond with better answers and follow up questions. There I said it, often times as friends we are needed as good active listeners who are able to respond with answers that add value to the conversation. These moments when we can add to the conversation will strengthen our friendships and help our friends have someone besides themselves to lean on. Obviously, you don’t want to take over the conversation but add enough value that your friend not only knows you are listening to them but you are invested in learning about their interests too.

You and I both know the list could add up to one hundred different points but that’s not why we’re here. Take a little of your time each day and work on learning a little about self-improvement, take a little more time to appreciate yourself and the good things you do. Be interested in adding to your quality of life and your personal happiness and everything else will follow.

Encouragement.

Why is it beneficial to be encouraging of others in their day to day tasks? I’m not talking about their specific work or school-related assignments but the little things they do every day that makes our lives a little better. Think of your friend who smiles at you when you are having a tough day. Think about those challenging days when a parent offered encouragement and reassurance that you could make big things happen if you put your mind to it. This is what the world needs a little more encouragement towards better things and a little less weight behind negativity.

It starts with me. A better world starts on a personal level more trust in others, a better believe that people are generally good, and a little more effort to listen to each other.  Sounds pretty easy right? It isn’t as easy as it sounds to trust others when we hear all the bad that could, has or is happening around us. It’s a challenge to see others as good when we lie to each other and even ourselves about the reality of the situations we live in daily. It’s hard to listen when we want to be heard, to be recognized, to be understood. We want so much from others but are at times unwilling to give to those we want to listen. Three simple steps to a better world that sound so easy, but are so hard to commit to.

Acknowledging that we can change the world in three steps is encouraging and a direction we can all get behind. If you start to look outward at what you can give to others you’ll see more easily all that others are giving to you. Life is a great maze that we all navigate a few feet at a time, why not be brave enough to trust others to help us forward, speak good words to each other, and listen a little better to those who need to be heard.

So who agrees that it starts with me?