is the Inspirational word of the week.
Respond: (verb) 1. to reply or answer 2. to react. 3. to correspond.
Thanks to Dictionary.com.
With the passing of my husband’s grandmother last week, we heard a lot of people respond to hearing the news “Oh, I’m so sorry.” We appreciated their thoughtfulness, but weren’t very surprised. That’s what people say when they’ve heard of a loved one’s death. It’s good manners and shows respect.
It’s nice to know how to respond to something. To have an answer already figured out so that when the time comes, you feel confident that you will be able to handle the situation with grace and finesse.
That’s what protocol and etiquette are all about. The ability to respond to a person or a situation without causing insult or harm. As nice as it is to create peace with the other people around you, too much focus on saying ‘the right thing’ can make life very stale and boring.
The best we can do is be aware of what is happening around us and think before we react.
That’s not always easy. In fact, it’s downright impossible for some folks. They’ve convinced themselves that they ‘are’ a certain way and their responses are so deeply ingrained in who they believe they are that they won’t be held responsible for what they say or do.
You can recognize them because they say things like “She/He made me _______.” or “I always______. or “I never______.”
There’s no remorse because there’s no thought behind their actions. No responsibility for the damage they cause. They wander through life oblivious to the fact they they’re giving their power away every single day. Everything that goes wrong is someone else’s fault. Nothing that happens is their own responsibility. They know everything because they never move out of their comfort zone. They live a small, ‘safe’ life becase they’re afraid of being wrong. They’re afraid of failure and they can’t stand the idea of looking stupid.
I know this to be true because I used to be one of these people. For a long time, I was afraid to stretch out past my comfort zone because I might make a mistake, insult someone and end up sad and alone. So I only did things I knew I was good at. I only went places I knew were safe and talked to people I already knew. Although I was basically alive, I was stagnant and stuck. I was unhappy and bored out of my mind.
But, fortunately, patterns can be broken. Feelings can be mended and wounds will heal with time. That’s the beautiful response of the Universe (God, Allah, the Source, the Force, the Collective Unconcious, the Divine). When we acknowledge our Creator, get rooted and ask for help, we can finally see how valuable we are and how much power we truly have.
I know I was given this gift of life for reason. Appreciation and gratitude for this adventure have pulled me toward a much more fulfilling life. I’m learning new stuff and meeting new people every day. Although I absolutely still make mistakes, at least now I try to do my best to take responsibility and apologize when I need to. My mistakes are simply lessons that are helping me grow. And since I’ll never stop growing, I can look forward to making more mistakes.
My responses are my responsibility. Response +ability = responsibility.
With awareness and time, when we acknowledge our patterns and do our best to learn from them, we can grow past where we are into who the world needs us to be.
So, my friendly blog reader. How are you responding to life?
I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below!
p.s. I’ve been working on the Occupy Ortonville website. If you’re interested, click the link to take a look.
p.p.s. Brene’ Brown has a fantastic piece of wisdom. When she’s about to walk on stage, or talk to someone new, she’ll remind herself “Don’t shrink. Don’t puff up. Just be your sacred self.” Then she takes a breath to center herself and continues on. I’ve tried it and it absolutely works. Give it a try for yourself. I’d love to know it works for you! Best of luck! xoxo