I don’t know if I’m just hyper aware right now or what but I’ve been making some serious observations of the world around me lately and they’ve led me to some (once again, I hope) really thought-provoking observations about myself.

Everyone has ideas and plans on how to become a better version of themselves, which is great… honestly. However, we tend to only focus on our goals, forgetting that if we do magically become that ideal version of ourselves, he or she is probably going to have a hard time sustaining the change if our surroundings don’t improve as well.

I’m all for promoting how our perspective affects how we relate to our external environment, but let’s not become so self-absorbed in our own progress that we forget that we have a heavy hand it helping others do the same.

I tried to think of practical ways to kill two birds with one stone (Why do we have to kill birds, though? I’m changing it to “pet two birds with one hand”); directly helping someone else achieve a goal indirectly helps me achieve my own.

1.) I want people to feel comfortable saying ‘no’ to me – The other day I asked if someone had time to help me with something and she didn’t so she hesitantly and very apologetically told me ‘no’. It didn’t hurt my feelings or offend me at all but apparently she hated saying it. Even though it was one moment, I think that was the first time I realized it wasn’t an uncommon one. Although I’m proud of her for saying no, it’s crazy how hard it is for so many people to decline doing something just because they don’t want to risk alienation. I can’t fix the whole of that issue in someone else’s life, but I will make sure I’m intentionally receptive and grateful when someone does say no for their own good. No one should ever feel bad for prioritizing their well-being.

2.) I want people to feel comfortable saying ‘sorry’ to me – Am I the only one who can’t remember the last time I heard an honest apology? Not one that’s just a knee jerk response to accidentally bumping into someone or a PR-driven band-aid given to save a brand. No, an apology given from honest remorse. It’s necessary to give sincere apologies, not just say the words, as much as it is to respond to those you receive with grace and humility. I can’t make anyone feel the genuine remorse that drives such a thing, but I can intentionally appreciate and accept when they do. How can I demand apologies without creating a space to be given one?

3.) I want people to feel comfortable saying ‘please’ to me – I am absolutely a stubborn, independent, know-it-all. I admit it, but as time goes on, it becomes less and less true of me. I’ve been shown that I can’t do everything and I don’t know everything many times and I’m thankful for it. Not everyone has that mentality yet, but it’s coming. Those who have the “me against the world” attitude may win battles, but will always lose the war and when that happens, I won’t be the one who says ‘I told you so’. Asking for help is something we all preach, but very few of us practice. Whether it’s out of fear or stubbornness or something else, I don’t know but it’s a lonely walk down a dead-end road. I can’t wake people up to their blinding pride, but I can welcome, comfort, and walk with those who already have.

So this is it. Three simple goals that demand me to be better for the benefit of others.