Slow down, listen well, bravely ask

As you start this week, may you be mindful of the people put in your life that surround you with good. Take note of the details of these people—the way they hold themselves, how they listen, the color and mood they seem to represent, the beauty that’s found deep within everyone.

May you remember to look at people as people, and not as projects, or as conduits for your productivity. May you resist the temptation to rush through relationships in order to find the prize, or to check off your list “coffee with a friend.” Slow down, listen well, and bravely ask more questions than talk about yourself. Show that you care.

And when good questions are asked you by a good friend, don’t be afraid to answer honestly. Be a true friend by being real, and don’t be afraid to cry. Or laugh until you snort.

And if you feel lonely? Be that good friend to someone else, even if that “someone else” doesn’t quite feel like a kindred spirit. Do your best to be be patient in the waiting—you might be surprised at what you find. Loneliness is often used to build our character in profound ways we don’t notice until we’re on the other side.

All people—friends, spouses, parents, children, neighbors—are gifts in some form. Embrace their offering in your life, whatever that may be.

This post was first published on June 10, 2013.

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35 Comments

  1. Rachael Alsbury

    Good, good, good! I’ll be thinking about this.

    “Slow down, listen well, and bravely ask more questions than talk about yourself. ”

    That is a skill I am really focusing on. Thanks again.

  2. Angela

    Such good reminders! To see people as people…not projects. Ouch! I needed that. 🙂

  3. Barbara

    This is great! I love the way you phrased this post. Thank you for the gentle reminder.

  4. Sarah @ LeftBrainBuddha

    I love this ~ beautifully written. I feel it totally encapsulates “Namaste.”

    Namaste.

  5. Michele-Lyn

    This is beautiful and life-giving. And this…”May you remember to look at people as people, and not as projects…” Yes.

    What a fresh read to start the week. Thank you!

  6. Jenn @ A Simple Haven

    Wise words, Tsh :).

    “Be that good friend to someone else, even if that “someone else” doesn’t quite feel like a kindred spirit. Do your best to be be patient in the waiting—you might be surprised at what you find.”

    After moving 11 times in 8 years, I’ve learned the truth in that. Regardless of how long we may be in a place, I have to pursue community–even if it doesn’t look like what I’d imagined/hoped for.

  7. Sheila

    Thank you so much for these Monday morning posts. I look forward to reading them “AND” acting on them during the week.

  8. Regina

    Thank you so much for the reminder this morning!

  9. Jo@simplybeingmum

    Really listening is the greatest compliment you can give anyone. I try to remember this when someone is talking!

  10. Ann

    Maryalene, I’m sorry to hear about your husband. I was going to come here and comment about something else, but instead my thoughts are with you.

    • Maryalene, Social Media Angel for SavingsAngel.com

      Oh thank you Ann, but please share whatever it was you were going to write!

      My husband had esophageal cancer, and we have known since last July that this was coming. But even though I thought I was prepared, this whole experience has been utterly disorientating. I guess I never realized how much your marital status impacted your other relationships. Now that I have gone from happily married to (I hope temporarily) needy widow, I am trying to figure out where I fit in.

      Lots of wisdom in this post for me to consider.

  11. Jessica

    Oh my, “people are not conduits for productivity.” What a good reminder. Thanks for helping me start my Monday off right.

  12. Christina Lang

    Those were inspired words just for me today. Thank you!

  13. Ashley // Our Little Apartment

    That bit about not seeing people as conduits to my productivity was just what I needed to hear. Since my husband and I both work from home, I tend to see him as child care while I work. But it’s SO HARD not to, you know?

  14. Steph

    May you resist the temptation to rush through relationships in order to find the prize, or to check off your list “coffee with a friend.”

    Yes. It’s so easy to reduce relationships to a checklist. Thanks for the reminder.

  15. Kristine @ A Changed Life

    It’s a reminder for me too, because sometimes I tend to rush on things to reach my so-called goals. When I do, I feel I haven’t appreciated and savored the simple things in my life – at the present time.

  16. Sarah Westphal

    Thank you.

  17. Gabriella

    So beautifully written, thank you for share.

  18. Jessica

    I absolutely loved this. It’s so beautiful and true that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since I first read it yesterday. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  19. Ashley

    This is exactly what my morning needed. Thank you so much for these wonderful words!

  20. Carmella

    These are good, good words, Tsh!

  21. Kris

    Tsh,

    You’ve said it very well. Let me just say thank you. You’ve made me realize that I need not to isolate myself. I have to be me and let the people see the real me by then they’ll see the goods in me and vice versa.

  22. Cate Pane

    I LOVE what you said about loneliness building our character. I have found over the years that this is so true and actually a wonderful thing! I grew up with five siblings and rarely spent time alone as a child. Now, I cherish my “alone time.” BUT, when it isn’t my choice, I do struggle. Thank you for your positive words. You are making the world a better place!

  23. Jenny

    Love this and definitely needed it tonight. Thank you!

  24. Aggie

    Needed to read this, wonderful post. I will find a way to be a good friend this week…and feel comfort knowing I’m building character during this time of transition in my life. Thank you

  25. Southern Gal

    Wise and beautiful words. Thank you.

  26. Amy Reasoner

    What a timely reminder, Tsh! I was actually praying about this yesterday (or the day before?). My best friend moved away 2 years ago this month. I’ve had a hard time filling the hole she left in my life, and I was wrestling with the fact that the people I have in my life aren’t what I had in my mind as the perfect by-my-side, girlfriend. And, I’m surrounded by people who are blessing in my life – our church’s congregation, my children, my coworkers, my husband, my mom and mother-in-law – and I think I’ve been taking that for granted. Thank you for encouraging me to see them through new eyes!

  27. Sarah Rudell Beach

    This time of year (with recitals and end of school) I definitely need the reminder to not rush through everything. Lovely reminder about taking it slow… thanks.

  28. Sharon Holbrook

    Funny, I don’t remember this post from before. A timely reminder, thanks!

  29. Chris K. (Disquisitive Mama)

    Yes. Thank you. I needed this. I feel I’ve fallen off the ‘mindful wagon’ a bit. We’ve gotten caught up with the end of year craziness and our own major projects.

    I am not making time for my people or appreciating what I have but only worrying about what I need to do. Thank you for the wonderfully written reminder.

  30. joanna

    Love this. I’m trying very much to not just check things off the list. Great advice and reminder to us all.

  31. Stacy

    Not only do I need to remember to listen to the big people…I need to remember to listen to the little people in my life too!

    I’m wondering when life became a great big “to do” list instead a journey of experiences…and relationships have become just another line to check off or cross through…and sadly, I’m guilty…it is painful.

  32. Anna Leigh

    Great words. Love the post. Thanks for shearing this Tsh.

  33. Aaron Garrett

    What a beautiful article. Thank you for the advice. Everyone should read this.

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