“Do unto others what you would have them do unto you”. Jesus said it, and you’ve probably heard it in some form over the years. And so, in that spirit, here are three things I’m training myself to do because I wish others would do them for me.
1. Give the benefit of the doubt.
Don’t you hate it when people treat you like you’re stupid? I must look stupid, because people have been treating me that way since I was in diapers. I wish people would recognize that, very often, I have thought through my beliefs and actions, and have legitimate reasons for them.
Case in point. This week I was setting up for coating tablets (medication). I came down the hall pulling a tank, mixer and mixer shaft. My coworker takes one look at it and says “That’s the wrong mixer shaft. There’s only two of the right length, and they’re both dirty, so that’s the wrong mixer shaft.” I held up the shaft to the mixer, and lo and behold, it was the right one. I had measured.
“I’m not as think as you dumb I am,” I said.
He laughed. “Point taken.”
One a more serious level, I am carrying on a stimulating correspondence via email with a colleague who claims to worship the same God and hold to the same Scriptures as I, but who’s beliefs are fundamentally different from mine. I keep on reminding myself that he’s done his research. He’s thought this through. He’s not stupid. Because that is what I hope he would do for me.
Acknowledging the other person’s intelligence and right to believe, even though you disagree, gives them the dignity they deserve. So I am trying to teach myself to do this. I already messed it up once today, and it was embarrassing.
2. Talk about things that are important to me.
For some reason, no one wants to talk about my writing, what i’m studying, what I’m doing at work, and my goals and dreams. They want to talk about their plans, their kids, their health issues.
Could it be that people really like to talk about themselves?
Yes. Yes they do, and I am trying to train myself to ask them about themselves, and listen, and not one-up their stories. Darn, that’s hard. Because I want to talk about myself. But if I think about how validated I feel when someone genuinely wants to know about what I love, and if I think about how mortifying it is to realize that no one cares about what I am talking about, then it seems so much more important to listen. To listen with my whole being is one of the greatest compliments I can give, I think.
3. Stop using the time excuse.
In November, I participated in National Novel Writing Month. While I was doing so, someone on Facebook said “Oh, I would do NaNoWriMo, but I have to work.” I was livid. Work? What do you think I’m doing? I’m working two @*#& jobs!
I completed NaNoWriMo, by the way.
I don’t deny that this person was busy. I know first hand how hard it is to get things done when you are busy. But to say “Oh, I would but I don’t have time” cheapens the other person. It may be that they have made great sacrifices to accomplish what they did. Don’t say you would if you only have time. Say the truth: “It’s not a priority” or “I don’t want to bad enough.”
Because, frankly, we don’t have time for everything, but if something is really important we find the time. And if it’s not important, there’s no shame in telling the truth. I am trying to train myself not to think “I don’t have time” but either “how can I make time?” or “it’s not a priority.”
I so easily forget that others are like me–that there are thoughts and feelings in their heads, problems and joys in their lives, and people who love them. I don’t want to undervalue people, and that is why I am struggling to learn these things.
Anything to add? What do you wish people would do for you?