It’s Kaylynn soapbox time…
In my teens and early 20s, I walked around living life in a bubble. I was only concerned for the world I created and the world where only I mattered. I only realized I even did this years later when I noticed others doing it. You know the ones that care only about themselves. We all know some of these people and if you don’t know them, are you one of them?
We’ve all been there. Once upon a time, we were all teenagers. We stopped listening to our parents because they knew nothing about being in high school today. We would drown out their voices with our own thoughts, eye rolls and blaring our ‘rock’ music on clock radios (today in my house the only difference is its done with earbuds attached to an iPhone). Most of us thankfully grow out of this bubble, however, some don’t. There are adults still walking around inside those bubbles. They’ve created a life seeing only what they choose to see (I can think of some I know right now). They turn their heads when nothing is in it for them…it is outside the bubble. They choose not to see the needs of others around them and over time…well, practice makes perfect. They don’t even realize what they are missing out on.
When our focus is only on ourselves, we stop seeing the beauty around us and I think we stop growing into the person we are meant to be.
“There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others .” –Mandy Hale
Are you in a bubble?
Are you a Mormon living in a bubble?
Are you an active or passive church member? Are you engaged with your ward and its members or do you just go through the motions? When you do decide to come to church, do you sit in the back trying to be invisible? Do you arrive at church in a good mood smiling thinking ‘how can I share my light today’ or do you come with expectations of ‘what can they teach me’ or ‘I’ve heard this before’? Would you notice if there was someone new sitting there and would you go out of your way to say ‘hello’? Do you listen to the talks/lessons people have prepared all week, really listen and think about how you can apply what you’re hearing to your own life right now or are you tuned out watching the clock or possibly distracted by Facebook during your meetings? Do you take the time to thank them for their words? Have you fed the missionaries lately? Do you extend yourself in your calling or just barely do the minimum hoping your flying under the radar? Did you notice who wasn’t at church, are they ok? Should you give them a call later, visit them or send them a little text to let them know they were missed? Do you act on those little promptings? Do you invite the spirit in and feel its comfort whisperings or are you contemplating whether you even stick around for Sunday school because you can’t be bothered today? Do you really keep the Sabbath day holy? Is the temple a priority and part of your regular routine especially during this busy time in your life?
Even if you’re not Mormon ask yourself this…
Are you an active or passive person? Are you engaged in your life and the people around you or do you just go through the motions? Do you go out of your way to say hello or meet someone new? Do you notice when someone is struggling? Would you ask them if they are ok, or do you think ‘it’s none of my business?’ Do you arrive at work/school/gatherings in a good mood smiling thinking ‘how can I share my light today’ or do come with expectations of ‘I don’t want to be here’ or ‘How long will this last’? Do you listen to people, really listen and think about how you can apply what you’re hearing about to your own life right now or are you distracted by your phone? Do you follow up on some of the conversations? Check to see how their Dr visit went, how is the renovation going, wish them a happy birthday? Or do you just get on with it without another thought? Have you cooked for someone else besides your own family lately? Do you invite the positive energy in and feel its comfort whisperings or can’t you be bothered? Do you have a day where you take time out for you and unplug from the outside world?
You are a good person, right? You live your life by the golden rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
But what about that person that just gets under your skin? That person at work/church that gets under everyone’s skin. Maybe they have treated you badly in the past and you can’t let it go? Forgive? Even to be in the same room with them gets you in a bad mood. I’m guilty of having my own nemesis in my time. The people who are takers– always asking you for favors and its hard to say no. For me, my nemesis was another mother. She was the perfect mother. House always clean, a great cook, she could even sew and to me, I felt she was always bragging about how great she was and how perfect her kids were. But when I think back on that time, she never really said that. I put us in a competition. Her vs me. I shared my thoughts with other mothers to make myself feel better (gossip!). I wanted them to agree with me and be on my side. This poor mother had no idea there were even sides. It was my own insecurities as a mother that I projected onto her. Once I realized it was my issue, I was able to let it go and see her for who she really was. A beautiful mother trying her best like all the rest of us. I stopped giving away my energy to something that was not even real. Energy I couldn’t afford to give away.
Now I’m not asking you to spend time with someone that makes you feel less because I’m
DEAD. SET. AGAINST. THAT.
I’m just asking you to reexamine why you might feel a certain negative way towards someone. And if they have done something, is it time to clear the air? Forgive?
Here is a challenge for all of us…can you try it for at least a day or even a week? Just see how this makes you feel.
- When you talk to people see the beauty within. Especially those that get under your skin. Help yourself to stop giving away your energy to something that may only be in your head.
- Have only ‘REAL’ conversations. Speak honestly about things that matter to you. Don’t waste your time on a ‘fake’ conversation. Be real. Don’t agree with things and concepts you don’t agree with and be mindful not to engage in gossip! Engage with people on an emotional level. Get beyond the superficial. That is where real conversations start and meaningful friendships are formed.
- Hand out compliments often. How many times have you thought of something nice about someone but kept it to yourself? TELL THEM! We all need to hear the good stuff about ourselves, the stuff we can’t always see. Tell that waiter what a great job they did, tell that random lady at the grocery store you like her dress, tell your children ‘thank you’ for using their manners. Compliments are no good to anyone when they are kept, give them away!
- Try and meet at least one new person a day. For some of us, this is easy because of the line of work that you’re in but this can be a hard challenge for some introverts out there. I often meet new people through introductions from friends but try and go and introduce yourself to someone new. Some of the best conversations I’ve had are with strangers that I’ve only met once. On an airplane, bus, walking the dog. Open yourself up to all the new possibilities and wonder that the people around you have to offer.
- Forgiveness. Don’t let it be a stranger. Explore this concept. Give yourself permission to forgive even if whatever happened was really nasty and has left a bad taste in your mouth for years. Clearing the space around you with forgiveness lightens the heavy load that you are carrying around in your whole body.
- Start your day with a prayer. Ask for the courage to do what you feel you can’t. Ask to cross paths with someone who needs your help today. Or if you’re not a pray-er, start your day off with something positive that makes you smile. I like to listen to music in the morning. It changes the mood of crabby tired kids getting ready for school immediately. I play songs we all know. Soon I hear them singing as they get ready and kindness toward each other spills out —of course I still have to remind my youngest to get his shoes on 10 times, but I’m kinder, less yell-y when I remind him ;).
If all of us tried a bit more to come out of our bubbles, or better yet pop them for good, we would all be much better off. A stronger ward, a stronger community, a happier people.
Pay attention to the way you talk to people, be engaged in the now, let your heart listen to what’s going on around you, slow down, look for someone to share your light with today. After all, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.