How important do we think we are? Importance is difficult to define. What or who is important to you may not be so to me.
There are several social measuring rods we use to gauge another person’s importance. Outward signs like homes, cars and material goods. Relational signs like what names are dropped in conversations with others. Social signs like who is invited to what party or fundraiser and where we sit at those gatherings.
What if there was another way to tell?
I’ve discovered an attitude in myself that has the potential to trip me up in relationships. It’s the attitude that I am better than or above others because of what I do or have or who I know. When I cop that attitude, I miss out on the joy of learning from others who are different from me.
It’s ironic that the more we focus on ourselves, the less joy we have.
Help others get ahead
A universal principle for relational success is that each of us is equally valuable and important. A healthy approach to life considers our needs and at the same time considers how to meets the needs of others.
I believe that each one of us is a unique creation of God, fashioned in God’s image and by God’s hand.
We demonstrate necessary self-concern and self-respect when we feed, rest and care for our bodies and souls. Because of our healthy self-respect we don’t allow others to manipulate us, violate us, or abuse us.
On the other hand, self-concern can quickly become self-absorption. We can live as if the world revolves around us. That’s a death blow for our relationships.
When we serve others, we both win. You get your needs met while I get joy from meeting them.
Show common courtesy to others
There is a practical way to live this out in our daily lives. It is by showing common courtesy to others. It seems so simple and yet it is so difficult to do! We get busy and stressed and common courtesy goes out the window.
We are driving around the parking lot when another person wants the same parking space that we spot first. Why not let them have it? It is just a parking space.
In a line of traffic, why not let another person merge in front of us?
In the checkout line at the grocery store when we see someone coming with their arms full of stuff, why not allow them to go ahead of us?
After dinner, why not take the other people’s plates to the table? Family members included.
If you want to go “all in” on this courtesy thing, here’s a challenge. The most powerful appliance in our home is the remote control. It‘s a fact that, “The person who controls the remote, rules the home.” Why not let another family member have it?
We have plenty of opportunities every day to demonstrate common courtesies that express the attitude that considers others needs ahead of our own.
One measure of success is how we treat the people we encounter daily in our relational world.
How do you others that you value and respect them? I’d love to hear your thoughts!