Perhaps an old friend. Perhaps a neighbor. Perhaps a perfect stranger, like me.
Here are 11 things we all need you to keep in mind…
2. The most important trip you will likely take in life is meeting others half way. You will achieve far more by working with people, rather than against them. Giving someone else a voice, and showing them that their ideas matter, will have a long-lasting, positive impact on the both of you.
3. Relationships don’t create happiness, they reflect it. Happiness is an inside job. Relationships are simply the mirrors of your happiness; they reflect it and help you celebrate it. They are mirrors because they are a perfect reflection of your thoughts and beliefs. To reflect means to encourage you when you feel weak and challenge you when you feel strong, thereby returning you to your center. And to celebrate is to share the natural ease and joy of living from your center – of living in the now with clarity.
4. Compassion comes back around. The son who tends to his chronically ill mother, ignoring his own exhaustion; the neighbor who gives a helping hand, even as his own needs go unanswered; the one who donates a couple dollars to someone in need, even if she has to break her last five dollar bill to do it. Maybe you don’t hear the names of these unsung heroes in the news, but surely the universe hears their names and treats them accordingly.
5. Timing is everything. There is a time for silence, a time to let go and allow your friends to launch themselves into their own destiny, and a time to cheer for their victories, or help them pick up the pieces, when it’s all over.
6. Actions are the loudest form of communication. What you do speaks so loud that others will have a hard time hearing what you say. So practice what you preach or don’t preach at all – walk the talk. And remember that there is often a major gap between what someone says and what they do. Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.
7. A healthy relationship keeps the doors and windows open. Plenty of air is circulating and no one feels trapped. Relationships thrive in this environment. Keep your doors and windows open. If a person is meant to be in your life, all the open doors and windows in the world won’t make them leave.
8. People are more what they keep silent than what they say. Pay attention to their quiet gestures. If you cannot understand someone’s silence, you will have a hard time understanding their words.
9. What others say and do is often based entirely on their own self-reflection. When you have people speaking to you who are angry and upset, and you nevertheless remain very present and continue to treat them with kindness and respect, you place yourself in a position of great power. You become a means for the situation to be graciously diffused and healed. A Zen teacher once said, “When somebody backs themselves into a corner, look the other way until they get themselves out; and then act as though it never happened.” Allowing people to save face in this way, and not reminding them of what they already know is not their most intelligent behavior, is an act of great kindness. This is possible when we realize that people behave in such ways because they are in a place of great suffering. People react to their own thoughts and feelings and their behavior often has nothing directly to do with you.
10. Sincerity is giving without expectation. Good character and true friendship is all about how a person nurtures another person who is vulnerable and can give nothing in return. So when you have been through tough times and come out the other side, look around you. The people still standing beside you are your true friends.
11. Not every relationship is meant to last forever. Some people aren’t meant to stay in your life. Some people are just passing through to bring you something – perhaps a lesson you need to learn, or memory that makes you smile years later. When the time comes, it’s okay to let go and move on with your life.