Maybe you have been there for a visit; or perhaps you still live there. The land of “I was’ is a haunted place that keeps people trapped. People there have difficult ever leaving because “I Was” brings comfort. It’s familiar. It’s a boasting point. It’s what always was and has become what is; even though in reality it is not.
It is a trap that keeps the most brilliant in need of a mental makeover. So I ask: how brilliant are you? How ready are you to move to a new place?
You see you may think you are; ready to move but know that it isn’t easy. It requires looking forward. It requires letting go of the time when you were the most popular girl or boy in school. It requires you realizing that you are not a size 0 and that you don’t have 2% body fat. It requires you getting the reality check that you aren’t 25 and can’t binge drink or dance on the bar all night. It requires you to get over the fact that you were abused as a kid. You are no different than the 240million of the rest us that were abused too. It requires you making the choice to mentally catch up to yourself to recognize that the land of ‘I Was’ is no longer. Nope. It is gone. Now is the land of ‘I Am’ waiting should you be so strong.
I too had to leave the Land of ‘I Was’; else I would have died. I had all the proverbial symptoms of entrapment to a slow death; slithering with each thought, word; and action. I was destitute in my own thinking. I was living what I knew in the Land of ‘I Was’ because it was after all; what I knew.
I now know better. I live in the beautiful land of ‘I Am’. It brings much life. It brings many things that the former can not ever bring and so I share with you a few so that you too can see what you can grasp if only you take the step.
In the Land of ‘I Was’ I was lost, a victim, abused hurt, unforgiving, bound, resentful, broke, friendless; trapped in the deception of what I didn’t know or couldn’t possibly understand all based upon the past.
In the Land of ‘I Am’ I realize I am a victor, prosperous, joyful, loving, a friend, compassionate, redeemed; and who I was created to be all based upon my present and future.
You see; living in the past serves no purpose to anyone; not even yourself. Living in the present prepares you for your future. Wouldn’t you rather be here today going forward than attempting to live in a yesterday that’s gone? I know I sure do!
At lunch recently with a friend; her son told her that he always knows when she is listening to him. She looked at him and asked ‘really? How so?’ His reply, ‘Mommy, you always stop what you are doing and look at me.’ Profound isn’t it; that a five year old understands better than most adults.
Listening is the one skill that changes relationships quicker than any other in the area of communication. When people listen; the doors of communication open in ways unimaginable. What is sad is that people are more interested in listening to respond instead of listening to listen.
A few signs of good listeners are:
1- They remove technology distractions. Good listeners know that if the phone is even on vibrate it may ring which would be a distraction. They know that the computer, tablet; or television are also distractions. They are turned off so that the focus is only on the speaker. There will always be a tweet but only one opportunity to listen to what someone is saying at that exact moment in time.
2- They indicate non-verbally. Indicators of good listeners are eye contact, learning forward; and nodding. Good listeners focus on the person speaking and are engaged in the communication process bother verbally as well as nonverbally. They are not slouched in their seats looking for the fire escape.
3- They are mentally prepared. They remove the distractions, set the time aside; and are ready to give to someone who is speaking. There is nothing else that would be a disruption from what will take place at that given time. There may be a few things to cross off the list like returning phone calls beforehand, eating; or whatever else is proves to be a distraction although taking the steps to remove those first will only lead to better listening in the end.
4- They paraphrase and ask questions. Paraphrasing what someone is saying is a great technique because it reveals what yes the intended message was received or that it wasn’t. Good listeners want to ensure that they are not missing anything said. By asking questions good listeners get the clarification needed while also sharing with the person speaking that they were paying attention.
Being a good listener takes effort. It requires focus on others instead of self. It is getting beyond only wanting to pay attention when the topic is of personal interest. It is abandonment to self for the benefit of others. It is about giving in ways that most people don’t think of. It is about being silent. After all the same letters that spell ‘listen’ also spell ‘silent’. Coincidence? I think not!
I recently heard a story about a man who taught children in small village in Africa. The children loved learning even though their learning supplies were quite sparse. So sparse in fact the only thing the children had was a pencil and paper. No; there were no ipads, androids, televisions; or anything else. Simply a pencil and sheet of paper.
The teacher asked one student to borrow his pencil and the student willingly obliged. Later that afternoon the student needed it back and the teacher not recognizing its importance realized he misplaced it. He did manage to replace it to the child and reflected for a moment about what it must mean to that student to have only one pencil.
While its simply a pencil; it was the only one the child had. To him it meant everything. To the teacher; it was disposable so its value wasn’t the same.
Looking at that for a moment; how often in life do we only have one but take it for granted? One spouse instead of a new one tomorrow. One vehicle instead of trading in for the newer model. One good friend instead of thousands of facebook falsies. One life to live instead now instead of waiting for one day. The only one you have is the only one you have.
For the child the pencil was the only one he had therefore he cherished it. He carried it with pride. That pencil had a special place in his heart. It was after all; the only one he had.
In your life; what is the only one you have? Is it your spouse? Your dog? Your best friend? I challenge you to reflect for a moment about living life without it; and then start living like it’s the only one you have.