How Do You Leave People?
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When we leave, people are left either …
- energized or depleted
- encouraged or discouraged
- inspired to tackle the next challenge or wanting to quit
How do you leave people?—Michael Hyatt1
Dear Jesus, help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly,
That my life may only be a radiance of Yours.
Shine through me, and be so in me
That every soul I come in contact with
May feel Your presence in my soul.
Let them look up and see no longer me, but only Jesus!
Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine,
So to shine as to be a light to others;
The light, O Jesus, will be all from You; none of it will be mine;
It will be You, shining on others through me.
Let me thus praise You the way You love best, by shining on those around me.
Let me preach You without preaching, not by words but by my example,
By the catching force of the sympathetic influence of what I do,
The evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You.
—John Henry Cardinal Newman
I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.—Maya Angelou
The greatest gift that we can give one another is rapt attention to one another’s existence.—Sue Archley Ebaugh
Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.—Henry James
It is often the small kindnesses—the smiles, gestures, compliments, favors—that make our day and can even change our lives.—Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval2
Kind words do not cost much. They never blister the tongue or lips. They make other people good-natured. They also produce their own image on men's souls, and a beautiful image it is.—Blaise Pascal
We are insecure, all of us, from the deaf janitor to the rock-jawed football coach. Frequently, the brighter a person’s veneer of success and confidence, the more ravenous his hunger for affirmation. Pull back the orange peel just a bit and you will find that each woman and man, no matter how polished or praised, is deep down a little girl longing to know that she is beautiful or worthy, or a little boy eager to hear that he is handsome or capable.
Of course, this need can be manipulated. Frequently it is. Feigned attentiveness can be an assassin’s dagger in the hands of ambitious ladder-climbers, sexual predators, and other charlatans. Sincere attentiveness is another path altogether. It conveys genuine respect, concern, and value more than any other communication decision. When a person receives another’s whole-hearted attention, suddenly they matter; they have worth. In a very real sense, at that moment, they feel they have been brought into existence.
That is why people respond to attentiveness almost as if to magic. It is a kiss that really does transform frogs into princes and princesses—changing behavior, opening hearts, and inspiring loyalty.
Most of us imagine ourselves to be good listeners. Question yourself. Do others come out of interactions with you feeling that you really sought to hear them and draw them out?
Remember: You have a desperately needed gift to offer through attentiveness. Many are grasping for it. Even to the confident and secure, it will be a prized blessing.—Jedd Medefind and Erik Lokkesmoe3
Everyone is hungry for praise and starving for honest appreciation. We all need the encouragement of others, and yet most of us fail all too often to express appreciation or comfort to those around us.
“Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”4 We need to learn to apply that to those around us and try to remind ourselves constantly to think about and praise them for their good qualities, the good things.—Maria Fontaine5
Most of us don’t mean to be inconsiderate. We’re just so busy starring in our own movie that we forget that everyone else is starring in theirs. That’s why it’s extremely important to see yourself as others do—as the supporting actor in their movie. So do an inventory of all the people in your life, and ask yourself what kind of character you’d play in their movie. Are you the loving, doting grown daughter or the distracted, absentee one? The sweet, supportive boyfriend or the needy, selfish one? The office troubleshooter or the drama queen? For each relationship, write down five ways that you can make your “character” more sympathetic.—Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval6
The purpose of life is not to win. The purpose of life is to grow and to share. When you come to look back on all that you have done in life, you will get more satisfaction from the pleasure you have brought to other people’s lives than you will from the times that you outdid and defeated them.—Rabbi Harold Kushner
People pass under the window of your life every day. Has your love found a way to help them?—David Brandt Berg7
We remain a nonentity, no being, nothing, timeless, spaceless, emotionless, complete ineffectiveness until loved.
Then somebody comes along and the world begins. I begin.
For I realize that I’m not just a figment of my own imagination. Only when I see the glow in another’s eyes do I know that I’m on fire. Only when I see the explosion in another’s life do I see my own power.
Then and only then can I say, “How about that! How about me!”
So often we spin our virtues, qualities, talents. We spin our usness about us and around and around we go, peeping out now and then. Kind of confused and afraid because we’re not sure of what we’re doing. We can’t see any reflection of usness in somebody else.
Then the shell is cracked, and somebody peeks in and says, “Hi.” And then it’s all real because somebody else has it.
Suddenly usness exists outside the shell, outside us. There it is: We can see it, feel its power, watch its influence. And it’s great looking at us from the outside.
What do you do? Do you laugh or cry or sing or shake hands with you?
Do you hug this blessed event or just walk around shaking your head?
You do all this and much more until the thought hits you—that’s why Jesus is my brother and Lord! Because He loves me.
A just here me.
A just physical-matter me or even an animated-matter me is a not-much me.
But when He peeks in and says “Hi,”
When He takes this “usness,” examines it, really looks it over, and says, “I love you”
Then I have real-life existing me.
Then I have time,
Then I have space,
Then I’m alive (if you want—kicking).
That’s why God said, “You will be My people, My bride, My vineyard, the apple of My eye.”
When He loved us, we began to exist as new creations as persons, not as things.
The Gospel says: “You are to be like your brother Jesus.” Well then,
Go love someone.
Go create someone.
Go make someone come alive.
Let them see their usness in you.—Sister Robin Stratton8
God is our sun; we are His moon. We merely reflect His light. And when should we reflect His light the most? When does the moon shine brightest?—At night, when the sun is out of sight. As the world slips deeper and deeper into spiritual darkness, so we must keep on shining and lighting the world with His reflected light.
We are also like the sun’s rays. Each of us who has received Jesus as our Savior is like a sunbeam, a little ray of sunshine coming from the Lord. Each of us has become part of His light and part of His power, spiritually.
If you will shine His light on people, He’ll do all the rest. He’ll cause it to accomplish His purpose in their lives and hearts and minds.—David Brandt Berg11
Published on Anchor March 2013. Read by Jon Marc.
Music by Michael Dooley.
2 The Power of Nice (New York: Doubleday, 2006).
3 The Revolutionary Communicator (Relevant Books, 2004).
4 Philippians 4:8 NKJV.
5 Love’s Many Faces (Aurora Production, 2010).
6 The Power of Nice (New York: Doubleday, 2006).
7 Ambassadors of Love (Aurora Production, 2007).
8 Brennan Manning, Souvenirs of Solitude (NavPress, 2009).
9 1 John 4:8.
10 More Like Jesus (Aurora Production, 2001).
11 Ambassadors of Love (Aurora Production, 2007).
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