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15 Things Matter to Life that People Always Forget

15 Things Matter to Life that People Always Forget

Most of us are completely aware of the big stuff we need to do in order to have fulfilling lives, but what about the little things? Those little things that we forget to do in life matter greatly!

Embracing these seemingly small aspects about life is what can empower us and equip us with the tools to live more fulfilling lives. So, what are the 15 things we should remember about life but very often forget?

Read on and as you discover each point, make it a life goal to remember them always.

1.  Be completely honest

…With yourself!  We are all taught to believe that lying, deceiving, or keeping information from others is wrong but, what about lying to ourselves? We have the courage to be brutally honest with others, but we are cowards when it comes to being honest with ourselves.

Yet sometimes, the only truth that can make a difference is the one we admit when we look at ourselves in the mirror. And sometimes, that truth is the only one that can set us free.

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2. Have the guts to pursue your dreams

Sure, the entire world is telling you that you are wasting your time, but in your heart, you know you are doing what you were born to be. Press on! People that put you down when you share your goals with them don’t understand the purpose of life.

They don’t understand that living a life without fulfilling what you feel you were meant to do is truly a life wasted. You have a unique gift in life, one that this world needs to see and experience. Believe in your heart that you were created with a purpose, and believe that you were created for greatness.

3. Honor your parents

This one may be difficult…Yet, there is something sacred and honest about doing honoring your parents. Regardless of the circumstances, you are here because of them.

Appreciate the opportunity of having family and being a part of something that goes beyond choice. After all, you didn’t choose your parents, God chose them for you! So be thankful and honor them.

4. Forgive but don’t forget

Holding a grudge is really not a pretty thing to hold onto. Be willing to forgive, but don’t force yourself to forget others’ wrongdoings.

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Being let down is an important life lesson, so forgive, but don’t feel you must forget. It is completely OK to remember what you’ve been through as it will enable you to be grateful for who you have become.

5. Remember that your smile can change the world

You have a very powerful tool that can truly change the world around you – your smile. You have the ability to try and make someone’s day 100% better just by sharing a simple smile! In addition, sharing a smile with a stranger will empower you to remove fears as it will inevitably make you step out of your comfort zone.

6. Enjoy silence

In a world where we are constantly bombarded with cellphones, televisions, radios and every other device that keeps you forever connected, it is imperative that you take time to enjoy silence. Enjoy the quietness that surrounds you, recharge yourself and rediscover your thoughts.

7. Live in the present

Yesterday is gone – learn from it. Tomorrow has not yet come, so prepare for it.

Today is here – fully enjoy it because you will never again have this exact moment. Be willing to experience each second of life you have been gifted, because life is too short and precious to waste it thinking about what was or what could be.

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8. Do not judge others

Nothing is gained by judging people. Instead, your self-righteousness will most definitely blind you from becoming your very best. Respect everyone around you, but honestly, just worry about yourself, who you can become and what you can accomplish.

9. Help others fulfill their dreams

The amazing Zig Ziglar once said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” Live a life of service to others and you will never feel alone, defeated or unsuccessful.

10. Surround yourself with positive influences

When life gets tough, it is crucial for you to have a strong support system that influences you in a positive way. Strive to surround yourself with positive minds. and strive to remove any negative energy from your life.

Besides, positive influences can empower you to continue your pursuit towards living a more purposeful life.

11. Don’t lose hope

Regardless of the circumstances you may be facing, believe that there is always a way out.  As long as you are breathing, there is room for growth, change, and hope. There is always hope, it is everywhere, you just need to keep looking!

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12. Be kind…even if others don’t “deserve” it

Call it Karma, the golden rule, or whatever else you like. But you must remember to always be kind!

Be kind, not just towards those who treat you right, but also towards the not-so-kind folks. Your actions may teach them a lesson and your heart will remain pure.

13. Fight for love

Love is truly a blessing when you find it, but it is not all bliss. Yet, if you have found your one true love, fight for it! Also remember that it is more than butterflies and gifts, it is unconditionally accepting and embracing the good and bad in others. Love will always be worth the fight.

14. Be a good listener

When others talk, listen. Don’t just watch their mouths move as you plan what to say next, truly listen.

Study their word usage, their tone, their eyes. Give everyone the respect their words deserve.

15. Always keep a book with you

Time is precious and we are forever running out of it. Redeem each moment passing by and keep a book handy; strive to learn something new each day! Reading is not only relaxing, but works out our minds in a way like nothing else can.

Featured photo credit: Couple and Confetti, smile and happy via shutterstock.com

More by this author

Sarita King

motivational warrior!

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

What Makes People Poor Listeners?

Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

How To Be a Better Listener

For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

1. Pay Attention

A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

2. Use Positive Body Language

You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

According to Alan Gurney,[2]

“An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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Be polite and wait your turn!

4. Ask Questions

Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

5. Just Listen

This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

6. Remember and Follow Up

Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

  1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
  2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

8. Maintain Eye Contact

When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

Final Thoughts

Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
[2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
[3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
[4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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