Shine Brighter & Lift the Light of Others
Would if we choose to shine brighter than ever? Would if we choose to lift the light of another?
The last thing we want to do is dim our own light, let someone else dim our light, or steal light from someone else.
Do you ever get fixated on other people’s behavior?
Okay be honest.
Our natural instinct is to perceive how someone is feeling about us based off our initial interactions. When in reality the persons behavior probably has nothing to do with us (maybe they have a sick parent, maybe they are shy, maybe someone recently broke up with them, maybe they were in a car accident, maybe they lost a pet, maybe they locked themselves out of their apartment, maybe just maybe it’s not about you at all).
Being concerned about a person’s behavior around us, is our own personal dilemma, we start dimming our own light because of someone else’s behavior and their behavior may not even be about us. If we choose to react negatively, we only dim his or her light and the opportunity to lift someone up passes us by.
Many times, we don’t really know what is going on with someone else, so why not simply ask, “How are you today?” or “What are you going through today?”
On Monday of this week in class one of my student’s body language seemed off to me, of course like many of us, my first reaction was to make it about me-is it something I said that offended the student – why is the student acting that way?
At the end of class, the student came up to me.
The student anxiously proceeded to tell me that he would not be coming to class on Wednesday. For a moment there is silence, I respond with is there something I can do to help? Is there something that you need? (I could have responded with what’s your problem? You need to be in class.)
The student begins to tell me...I came up to you because of your openness in our class and I knew you would listen...I had a situation this weekend. I don’t have much support here at the university. I told the student he was not alone and we discussed a few possibilities. The student selected to get additional care.
Think about a time when you perceived something about another’s behavior. Got one? How did you respond to the person?
Did you choose to reach out with a how are you today or is there something I can help you with? Or did you react with, “what’s your problem?”
One resource to assist us in creating spaces to understanding our self and our interactions with others is the Johari Window:
“American psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham developed this model in 1955. The idea was derived as the upshot of the group dynamics in University of California and was later improved by Joseph Luft. The name ‘Johari’ came from joining their first two names. This model is also denoted as feedback/disclosure model of self-awareness.
The Johari window model is used to enhance the individual’s perception on others. This model is based on two ideas- trust can be acquired by revealing information about you to others and learning yourselves from their feedback. Each person is represented by the Johari model through four quadrants or window pane. Each four window panes signifies personal information, feelings, motivation and whether that information is known or unknown to oneself or others in four viewpoints.” (Communication Theory, n.d, para. 1 & 2).
Even though I teach and present the Johari Window all the time, I admit I still have to catch myself; we perceive things about others within the first five to seven seconds of an interaction. If we select to reveal information about ourselves and learn from others feedback and interactions, we are able to create an environment of trust. Because of my willingness to be vulnerable in my class, I created a space for a student to feel comfortable reaching out to share an uncomfortable situation.
Earlier this week I shared a brief explanation of the Johari Window.
All of us, myself included need a reminder to check our perception of others at the door.
Remember someone else’s behavior probably has nothing to do with you. Instead of responding with, “What’s your problem?” choose to ask, “How are you today?”
I remind us to shine brighter and lift the light of others.