“You are as important as you make others feel.” Ron Kaufman.
Do you have the ability to make people feel special, admired, respected, remembered?
Do you leave people feeling better, valued, inspired? Here are some ways in which you can develop your abilities to make others feel good.
What’s in a Name?
(Image: Flickr. Jeff Lowe. Scripted Nametag.)
Well, there’s a great deal in a name, actually. As Shakespeare has pointed out, a rose might smell as sweet if it were called something else, but we human beings need our names. They are important to us, a very big part of our personal identity.
The rose does not have feelings, as far as we can tell, but we do.
A rose would not be hurt if we called it a daffodil and yes, it would smell as sweet. It would still be a very special flower.
However, if someone forgets our name, or calls us by the wrong name, we may graciously overlook their oversight, but it does not make us feel that special!
So…… remembering a person’s name is very important…. as is using their name when we see them and showing them that we remember WHO THEY ARE.
“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.”
– Ernest Hemingway
How very true are Hemingway’s words. So many times, people are just not listening; as soon as one person relates their experience, the other rushes to add details about themselves and their own lives. That is an example of hearing in a self-absorbed way, not listening.
It seems hard for some people to stay with and concentrate on the other person’s material, without deflecting the attention back to the self.
However, listening, attending and responding to another person and being interested in them, makes them feel valued and special.
Really listening creates a feeling of being respected and appreciated in the other person.
It is important not to talk too much about yourself. Focus on them. Show interest in what they say and do and in who they are.
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
— Dale Carnegie
“So many people are shut up tight inside themselves like boxes, yet they would open up, unfolding quite wonderfully, if only you were interested in them.”
Make Good Eye-Contact
What is good eye-contact? It certainly is not about maintaining a fixed stare, which can create self-consciousness and discomfort in the other person.
It is important to look at someone whilst they are talking in a natural, relaxed, yet attentive way.
This is not a cross-examination!
Looking around the room, or over your companion’s shoulder when they are talking to you is distracting and off-putting. It does not give the other person a feeling that they are at all special.
Give Genuine Praise and Encouragement.
Be genuine and specific when you give praise and do not be critical or over-challenging.
Everyone needs recognition, appreciation and to feel that they have done things that are praiseworthy.
Receiving a genuine compliment is uplifting and makes a person feel that they and their efforts are worthwhile.
Show them you have time for them. Be there.
“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”
– Walter Winchell
How valuable it is to show the other person that you are there for them and that you are not rushing off to the next appointment……
Wanting to spend time with another is a compliment in itself. It does not matter whether you are actively doing something with them. Visiting places, going to a restaurant, or just relaxing and hanging out with them, all these are ways of being with another in a companionable way.
What is crucial is that you have ‘given’ that part of your day to them. You are invested in them and appreciate their company.
Identify and Empathise.
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
– C.S. Lewis
Real, genuine identification with another’s feelings or experience makes each person feel connected and understood.
It is a way of counteracting loneliness and sharing life’s ups and downs in an empathic manner.
Of course, no two people can have the same experiences, even if they think they have, but often there are enough similarities to create a bond and to develop feelings of attachment.
Think: Can you share another’s pain, can you really feel, and show, empathy for their feelings?
Being able to listen and respond to another’s feelings, especially in times of difficulty, is a genuine gift. It requires patience, love and attention.
The opposite of being empathic with another in times of difficulty is when a person experiences schadenfreude, which is a sense of pleasure at others’ misfortunes.
This is borne out of aggression and rivalry and definitely needs to be worked on if there is a wish to be empathic to others.
Image by Dunk, Flickr
Equally, can you share another’s joy?
Can you genuinely feel pleased when good things happen to another person? To feel truly special and valued, everyone needs to have an opportunity to share their happiness with another.
“Anybody can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend’s success.”
– Oscar Wilde
If this is difficult, it may be worth remembering that destructive envy plays a big part in not being able to empathise with others’ good fortune.
This envy may be worse than in Oscar Wilde’s day, as it could be exacerbated by social media.
‘Notice the people who are happy for your happiness, and sad for your sadness. They’re the ones who deserve special places in your heart.’ (Unknown)
Respect what others say.
“The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when someone asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.”
— Henry David Thoreau
Valuing another’s opinion and respecting their views is a way of making them feel important and special. We all want to be appreciated for what we know and what we have learnt through life’s experiences.
If you don’t realize there is always someone who knows how to do something better than you, then you don’t give proper respect for others’ talents.
Be honest, truthful and open with your feelings.
Sharing openly with another with whom you feel comfortable will give them the feeling that they are trusted and seen as reliable. It is definitely a way of communicating faith in another person’s ability to be a strong presence for you.
Develop Sensitivity to other people’s feelings.
Think before you speak, especially if you tend to say things that are less than thoughtful. Sensitivity to another’s feelings is a unique way of valuing that person, of knowing them and understanding their needs and wishes.
“What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.”
Show that you care.
Be loving. Be thoughtful, and be grateful for having the other person in in your life. Show that you care about them. Demonstrate kindness and empathy and give hugs where and when appropriate.
Such demonstrations of affection will inevitably give the other person a sense that they are treasured and worthy of your admiration.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”