Consideration…Being mindful of others

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Yes, the season of love is with us again and there is nothing better than sharing this great gift with precious ones. With 2018 being the year of new beginnings, this is indeed the perfect time to dig a little deeper and reinvent how we show love to others.

 American philosopher and pastor, Dr Gary Chapman, developed the five love languages – words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch – to help people express and receive love.

However, more often than not, we show love how we want to receive it rather than how the recipient needs it. For instance, because I love receiving affection then I will show my husband affection to communicate my love for him.

A story is told of a marginalised community in Kenya where a non-profit
organisation saw the need to build toilets with an aim of improving sanitation and disease prevention.

However, months after the facilities were erected, the foreigners were jaw dropped to find them completely unused. Turns out in that specific community, men and women, the old and the young could not all possibly share the same facilities as is not allowed in their culture.

This situation could have very easily been avoided if the organization took into consideration the beliefs of that community.

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So how can we be more considerate? Firstly, it is important to note that there is a difference between caring and consideration. It is possible to care about somebody and fail to consider their feelings, needs and values as in the case given above.

That being said, the way to being more considerate is to listen more with the intention to understand. Listening is arguably one of the most difficult things to do in the communication process.

Founding figure in the discipline of listening, Dr Ralph Nichols, quantified that we spend 40 per cent of our day listening to others and of that 40, we retain only 25 per cent most of which is under attack from daydreaming, distractions and competitive listening – assuming what the other person is saying is wrong.

Take time to really listen to people and understand what they are saying. On the flip side, don’t always say the first thing that comes to your mind. It is important to speak your mind, but speaking just to be heard does nobody any good. So, before you speak, ask yourself – is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it
true?

During this Valentine season, pay special attention to your relationship with others. Be alive to the feelings, wants and needs of those around you and
 hoose to act on that information.

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