It starts the second you meet someone…or more to the point the moment you lay eyes on them. You instantly make determinations about who that person is, what kind of attitude they’ll have and how their entire family must behave based solely on the appearance of this new acquaintance. You’ve been noticing more and more frequently how easily this “skill” makes its presence know, and you’ve also been noticing how these unfounded judgements are keeping you from making an effort to get to know people…or even smiling in their direction.

It’s this a-ha moment that gets you thinking. Why has it gotten so easy for you to predetermine at first glance what role a person is going to play in your life…if any? The more you pay attention to these thoughts and habits which have subtly weaved their way into your reality, the more you decide it’s time to start sewing a different pattern. After all, you wouldn’t want what you’ve done to others to be done to you, right? If you’re not sure where or how to start, though,  here are a few suggestions to get you on your way to fashioning a beautiful tapestry of healthy, new relationships.

  1. I am that…I am. When you meet someone and they “rub” you the wrong way, take a minute to check your own self. Is the glaring “defect” in that person actually a characteristic or ideal of you that’s needing to be healed? If you find yourself criticizing a person’s looks, perhaps it’s because you somehow feel as if you’re lacking in the looks department. If you feel you’re lacking in ANY area of your life, however, consider that your cue to evaluate the root of those thoughts and begin to view yourself in a different light. There is only one you, and that was 100% by design. You have a gift to offer the world which no other person will ever be able to duplicate. Beginning to recognize and foster your uniqueness will then begin to radiate outwardly into the environment and to the people you interact with. The more authentic you can be with yourself, the more love can be given and often more importantly be received.
  2. Speak your truth with love and respect. Whether it’s to yourself or to the person standing in front of you, the quickest and most effective way to begin to honor yourself and others is by speaking your truth. Shrinking at the expense of others is counter-productive and disempowering. When you are able to use your authentic voice, you create a space by mere example alone for others to do the same, thereby rippling love, grace and genuine compassion through the waters of life.
  3. Forgive yourself. It’s not  your fault you’ve been conditioned by society and often times those around you to be judgmental and critical. It’s a subtle and sneaky epidemic that snakes its way into your reality before you even know it’s happening. Just being aware of its presence is the first step to change and allows you to see how judgement has become a disease of which you had no idea you’d been infected. Consistently being mindful of your desire to love yourself in order to love others is in and of itself forgiveness, and you are worthy of both.
  4. Compliment rather than criticize. When you meet someone — and each time you look in the mirror — pay the person you see a compliment. Notice their shoes, their smile, their confidence, their humility, their shadow or their left eyebrow if you have to. Whatever you need to do to make someone else feel better will in turn do the same for you. Practicing one Act of Random Kindness at a time by paying forward compliments stretches out the hand of compassion, offering love and healing to people beyond those receiving the compliments and thereby putting into motion the healing of the society — and yourself. It’s that simple. The Beatles summed it up perfectly in a mere five words: “Love is all you need.” Period.