Journey to Faith

Journey to Faith
Follow your own path

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ignite the Power Within Step 2: 6 Ways to Improve Your Relationships

Relationships are a gift. Like any gift, we must be open to receive them whatever form they come in. Most of us like to think we are open-minded and accepting of others but are we really?  We like our routines and habits. We like the people we hang around. We like the groups we belong to and the church we attend. But when was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone and met people different from you? If we want better relationships and more peace in our world, it is important to accept and understand others who think differently than we do. Today I'll be sharing some tips on how to become more open-minded

1, Try something new
    Many times we form an opinion about something before we even give it a try. This goes with food, people, activities, belief systems, and so on. My mom is constantly amazed at how many different types of cuisines I enjoy. This is because I am open to trying them. Before you poo-poo something or someone, give it or them a chance. Go to that new ethnic restaurant that just opened up. Try a new social group or venue. Attend a sports event. You may well be pleasantly surprised.

2. Step out of your comfort zone
    This goes along with #1. The older we get, the more we feel comfortable in our regular habits
and activities. If we want to experience more of life, we have to make the effort to get out of our comfort zone. This could be as simple as planning a new route to work. Taking a different class at the gym. Trying a yoga class. Joining a foreign language club. The benefits are we will meet people who think differently than do and we will get an opportunity to practice accepting rather than judging others.

3. Visit a foreign country.
    This is one of my favorite ways to expand my mind. When I visit different countries, I get a chance to see how people live, dress, eat, and think. I also realize that people everywhere want the same things: a decent job, safety, good food, and affordable health care. Rather than expect things to be like home, enjoy the differences in cultures and lifestyles. Travel makes me appreciate what I have at home even more and gratitude is always a good thing. We have so much to be thankful for and often we take much for granted, like running water for instance. Did you know people in India have to walk miles to get fresh water? I know people who dump a glass of water without even a thought.

4.  Read more.
    We are all busy, but reading is essential for growth and expanding our minds. For example, if you're glued to the latest romance novel, why not try a historical fiction or a book on psychology or finances?The library is free and now you can download books right from your computer without having to go out of your house. Reading is a convenient way to absorb new thoughts. I love to read books on personal development and learn about different belief systems. It's my thing. How about you? What are you interested in? What would you like to learn more about?

5. Listen without judging.
    Most of us are quick to size up someone. When you meet a new person, reserve judgement. Don't categorize them right off the bat. It takes time to get to know people. Everyone has a story and until we know and undertand that story we can't really understand where they're coming from.  Focus more on listening and accepting them rather than trying to categorize them and put them into a neat little box. Try not to label. As long as someone is not hurting me, my philosophy is "Live and let live." Practicing mindfulness helps me to be more aware of when I am having judgemental thoughts.

6. Give up the need to be right.
    I have to admit I struggled with this one for a long time. Although I wasn't consciously trying to
prove the other person wrong, I realized people don't like to feel like they are wrong. So now, even if I am 100% sure about something, I don't insist on pressing my point. I let the matter drop. This gives them both freedom and dignity. This may be what is called allowing someone to "save face". When we always have to be "right" it is a sign our ego is in control, and not the spirit of God.

These are some simple but effective ways to be more open-minded which will have the pleasant result of improving your relationships as well. What ways to you have of expanding your mind? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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Until next time, give some of these tips a try and let me know how it goes.
Stay tuned for more on changing our thinking and transforming our lives and remember,

Keep looking up!