Have you secretly admired a truly devoted, caring person? With some guidance and perseverance, you can develop those habits that make them stand out from the crowd. Here are some pointers that will have you elevating your friends and family in no time.
- DO NOT DELAY. As an adult, you can look back at all the missed opportunities of your younger days. Imagine how much you could have contributed to your parents, siblings, and the kids at school, even if they stubbornly resisted. The good news is that it is never too late. Start now, but not at your high school or college; you might seem a bit creepy, at your current age.
- FUNDAMENTALS. Aside from finding people who need your help, (who does not?) the primary skills of the compassionate person are sympathy, forthrightness, and clear judgment. Let people know that you see their faults, and that despite those flaws, you still care for them. Do not waste time trying to phrase things tactfully, just get to the point. If they do not warm up to you at first, approach them again, every time you see them, unless they get a TRO. Once these primary “ways of being” are second nature, you can advance into being thoughtful, uncritical, giving, and understanding with the people who so desperately need your help.
- SENSE OF HUMOR. Keep things light. Show them your playful side. For example: Make impromptu calls to friends and family; ask them to come to the airport and pick you up for your vacation visit. Chide them for forgetting your trip. Once they agree, call back 15 minutes later, laughing, to say “Surprise! I am still at home.” Sharing fun like this strengthens personal ties.
- ENCOURAGE IMPROVEMENTS. After you lay out the areas that need improvement, point out the ways other friends or family members excel in these areas; compare them honestly, use comforting expressions like, “Bless your hearts,” “I know you mean well,” and “They sure are the lucky ones.
- BE HONEST. People need to face the truth, if they ever have a chance to improve. Some people let feelings get in the way; do not be one of them.
- SHARE WISDOM. Understand that some people are reluctant to ask for what you know about life, so go ahead, tell them what you see about their lives that they can and cannot improve. That hurt in their eyes will fade once they realize, it is for their own good.
- TRUST YOUR GUT. You are not naïve or gullible. Do not let your family or friends tell you who and who not to trust when making hard choices in your own life. Remember, you are the one bringing wisdom to them.
- TELL IT ALL. Just because all the facts are not in, does not mean you should withhold, from the people you love, what you have heard on the street. Some of what you share may turn out to be untrue, or gossip; but that is the way things are, sometimes. You can show them you are not a hypocrite like the people who insist on being right all the time.
- BE THE JUDGE. Friends and family are usually poor judges of what information should stay secret, and what you can share with outsiders. Sure, sometimes people let slip really embarrassing, harmful things, but the hurt or embarrassed people must move on; what is done, is done. You should still be confident in your keen intuition.
- IT TAKES A VILLAGE. How can your friends and adult children ever grow, if you are unwilling to express your disapproval of their choices, to other people in your community who can help? It is for their own good.
- YOU HAVE EARNED IT. Some friends and family members just do not understand that they owe you respect and tolerance because of who you are, not because of harmful, degrading, moral or legal mistakes you made in the past.
- REFRESH MEMORIES. Many people do not have clear understandings or infallible memories, like you. You must remind the people around you, of the vigorous personal development efforts you have lavished on your friends, children, and their spouses, to remedy their unfortunate, non-genetic faults, before they are passed on to your grandchildren.
- BE RESOLUTE. Becoming a devoted friend and parent takes practice. Resolve to work at it every day. Ignore distractions. Do not be moved by pitiful complaints or disrespectful accusations from your friends or children. They may be in the learning stage of dealing with early-level, disappointments, or hurt feelings. Your more fully-developed, mature feelings are what count. We are adults, and no one promised us a rose garden.
As you mature further, you will see, in the lives of your friends and family, how much your guidance and support means. You may see and hear less and less of them as they become absorbed in life’s offerings. That is fortunate, because so many people still need your help.