3 Keys to Build Happy and Sustainable Relationships

Relationships either build or break people’s lives. It is important to note that life without our family, friends and surroundings can be incomplete. How to relate to people and surroundings in a way that makes us happy and keep the world a better place? Here are 3 keys on improving relationships around us.

1. Giving attracts receiving

Sustainable relationships are rooted more on giving than receiving. In a world that has become so fast and competitive, relationships with family, friends and spouse have often crumbled during their infancy. Also, our relationships with the environment can often be aggressive doing harm to the nature, animals and man-made infrastructure. This is a cause of everyone looking for something to gain from the next person or the environment, thereby hurting others in the process. To live happily, we must consider that giving attracts receiving. If we invest in giving, we can motivate others to give back and thereby develop a cycle of reciprocity resulting in sustainable relationships.

2. Take time to listen

Sustainable relationships are further realized through good listening skills. Hence, communication is one of the vanguards. Mindful people take time to listen to others before they judge, respond, or act upon those around them. This means that for one to sustain a relationship, they should be patient enough to give the opportunity to others to express themselves, to listen not to respond but understand other’s position, idea or a way of thinking. Communication thus is one of the vital cogs in keeping relationships going and building trust with our family, friends, workmates and all those whom we relate with in our personal and social life.

3. Approach differences without destroying similarities

Relationships are either broken or sustained by the way we handle conflicts. One sad reality is that conflict is inevitable but what is important is how we react and approach differences in a manner that does not destroy the similarities or things that bind people together. Conflict is one of the common features in human life, and at one point, the absence of peace is bound to visit everyone of us.

There can be conflicts in one’s thoughts, conflicts between two or more people, and a conflict between us and the environment. The key here is to first accept that conflict is inevitable. When one has accepted that conflict exists, he or she will be prudent to first relax, clear our mind and then self-reflect. Hereby, one’s ability to create a relationship with themselves is the first step towards solving any conflict and sustaining relationships with others and the environment.

In the end

Let’s consider to those whom we relate with. After all, it is thanks to them that our life is often made beautiful and memorable as we share experiences together. Want to know more about improving relationships with all? Or how to start meaningful relationships with yourself first? Check out our free 42 days self-development program!

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The Power of Giving

Giving can have different motives. People tend to give out of excess, what they feel useless, or when they want to create space for new things and clean up the mess. They may also give because they feel uncomfortable keeping something. In these situations, the recipient becomes a dumping site, and no feeling of affection or love for the other is in this act. Others spend to give: they sacrifice what they wish they could keep, but they choose to let go as they feel it is for a higher purpose for both the giver and the recipient. This becomes a charitable act when giving happens unconditionally with no expectations of a future gain or receiving back the same gifts or other favours.

Do I have enough to give?

While some people give out of love, others may think they need to acquire more to be able to give. The feeling that they do not have enough to give creates hindrance in the act of giving. The complex human nature will never allow them to share as one will never have all he or she needs. In fact, there is always what to give to others – kindness or cash, time or affectionate care – as what many may need could simply be a feeling of being loved and cared for, not necessarily material stuff. In fact, giving helps the mind and inner wellness for our own self-development.

How can giving change our life?
Donating one’s earned things is one of the most regarded act of charity as we donate what has a value. It becomes help given to others with an aim to make their life conditions better. This comes in the form of cash, material stuff such as clothing and other useful items that once received will make the person relieved. We can donate time as well, a less valued asset, which is really a good gift. We can also give something very cheap, like a smile, which can transform someone’s life. A shiny face, a greeting full of kindness and affection can relieve the mind and that is what millions on earth are lacking: kind words and gentle smiles from those whom they expect the least.

You may disagree with me, but try to give money or a gift to someone with a gloomy face and see the difference. That echoes the beautiful quote from Kahlil Gibran who said: “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”

Joy of giving

In our earlier posts, we explored how donating can help one be free from an ego mind. Yes, getting used to giving can make one’s mind free because even in many scriptures from various religious believes there is this popular saying: “There is more joy in giving than in receiving”. Shannon Perry said: “It’s worth burning myself out like a match so long as others receive the light and warmth I dispatch.” He probably meant that “others are because I am”. This is why those always in predisposition of giving are called generous: not only does this earn them a repute, they become our role models as well.

What if it’s hard to give?

In case you find hard to give, there may be so many factors in your life that have led you to this. No art can be performed to change it when there is no practice. We may start with just a little and make it a constant act to be a part of us till we feel like it is a duty for us to give out: volunteering has been one easy way to start with; it is where we offer our skills and time with no monetary value awaited. The mind will feel happy when we have managed to let others feel good from what we share with them. Would you like to try it today? Go ahead!

العطاء

يقول الله عز وجل: “لَن تَنَالُوا الْبِرَّ حَتَّىٰ تُنفِقُوا مِمَّا تُحِبُّونَ”.
المعطي؛ اسم من أسماء الله الحسنى، ويروى أنّ رسول الله (ص) ما سأله أحد شيئًا إلّا وأعطاه.

للعطاء أنواع عدّة، ففي بعض الأحيان يكون المُعطَى علمًا أو مالًا أو جاهًا أو دمًا أو جهدًا أو وقتًا.  فالسلوك الإنساني والتعاطف مع الآخر وإعطائه الوقت لسماع شكواه ومساعدته هو عطاء سامٍ، ولو لم يتضمن منفعة مادية. فالابتسامة عطاء للآخرين وقد تتفوق في بعض الأحيان على العطاء المادي.

شاركْتُ في تحدي سكون وسلامالمتمثل بالتخلي كل يوم عن ثلاثة أشياء من خزانة ملابسنا لمدة اسبوع. في البداية كان سهلًا عليّ انتقاء الأشياء لأننا كنّا ننتقل من فصل إلى فصل. وبعد مرور حوالي الثلاثة أيام، أصبحت الخيارات ضئيلة وأصبح الموضوع أصعب. أخذ مني الانتقاء وقتًا أكثر ولكني أكملت التحدي. أحببت ذلك كثيرا وأتمنى أن ينتشر العطاء والسلام في مجتمعاتنا. 

تعلمت من هذا التحدي أهمية العطاء وهو ليس التبرع بمبلغ من المال أو إعطاء ما لا نحتاجه فقط، بل هو اقتناء ما نحتاجه والتبرع بما يزيد عن حاجتنا. كما أنّ له منفعة على الصعيد النفسي، فالعطاء يبعث المشاعر الإيجابية ويقلل من النزعات السلبية. أثبتت بعض الدراسات أنّ العطاء يعزز فرزهرمون “الإندورفينمما يؤدي إلى ارتفاع المزاج. فليس أفضل من أن تعطيَ شيئًا للآخر ومن دون انتظار أيّ مقابل.

إنّ العطاء يساعد على التمييز بين الأنانية ومحبة النفس. فالأنانية تتمثل بالإجحاف في العطاء بينما محبة النفس تتجلى بالرغبة في تطويرها والسعي إلى الكمال والعيش بوعي. والتطور وبلوغ الكمال يتعزز بالعطاء. فالذي يحب نفسه يعطي الآخرين وينشر المحبة في محيطه. لذا علينا تعزيز المبادرات التي تدعو إلى العطاء وتشجيعه وذكره خلال عملنا وخلال جلسات التأمل لنصل إلى عالم يملؤه التسامح والحب والخير والتعاون

يقول أبراهام لنكون: كلما تقدّم عمرك ستكتشف أنّ لديك يدان، واحدة لمساعدة نفسك، والأخرى لمساعدة الآخرينفلنمدد أيدينا للخير. وأختم بالقول أنّ تجربتي في هذه الحياة علمتني أن العطاء هو أجمل شيءٍ في الوجود.

What is Your Motive for Giving?

I read somewhere that ‘it is easier for smaller communities to live in peace and harmony than bigger communities.’ I cannot attest to the truism of this, but I know from personal experience that the less we have, the happier we become. It is normal to find people in my community giving to the poor and the needy. But is the motive of giving important?

What’s bad in the motive?

Growing up I knew it was nice to offer clothes and other items that I didn’t like or use anymore to the needy. I used to give to free up the space, to get new or trending items and replace the ones I had given out. Well, you may say: but what’s bad in that? Nothing actually, except for the motive. Motives help us analyse and evaluate the reason behind everything we do, why we do the things we do, and how they shape our actions. It took me a desire for inner peace and happiness to finally understand through the practice of mindfulness and meditation that the motives behind giving or sharing anything with anyone is what counts more than the mere act of giving. All motives stem from the mind ― good or bad ― as a result of what we feed our minds with daily and often unconsciously given that our lives are likened to our minds and often a reflection of each other. If we have thoughts of peace, simplicity, prosperity, harmony and love, it will be reflected in our lives by inner peace, less attachments, happiness, ability to manage stress and unconditional love for all living beings.

More space, easier to focus

Our ability to live happier lives doesn’t depend on how much we have or possess but on how well trained and cultured our minds are. You will agree that it is a way easier to manage a group of 10 people than a group of 100 people. Imagine then, if you are able to reduce all the thoughts in your mind and learn to focus on just one at a time, won’t that be awesome? That’s what I learned through the practice of mindfulness that changed my perspective about giving. My motive for giving had always been to create space to buy more but after training my mind to focus on one thought at a time I am now able to analyze my motives from different vantage points, clearly and more accurately. The more space we create in our lives and our thoughts, the easier it becomes to focus on the things that really matter to us with more clarity, focus and understanding.

Whoever wrote these words ‘it is easier for smaller communities to live in peace and harmony than bigger communities’ in my opinion translates to: it is easier to find focus, balance, harmony and peace by reducing the chaos in our minds and our lives.

You are just a click away from a life changing experience, learn more on how to simplify your life and find inner peace by visiting us  today.

Kick Consumerism, Give Peace

The way North Americans celebrate the holidays has inspired scrutiny for decades now, ever since big retailers realized they could capitalize on the tradition of holiday gift giving.

Ho-ho-ho, give us your money.

On a personal level, the holidays are a celebration of joy, abundance, and community. But the outer manifestation of all that? Shopping in busy stores where people shove, snark, and spend money like there’s no tomorrow. I’ve worked holiday retail for over a decade, and trust me, the whole thing is icky. There’s something incongruous between the reason we give gifts and the way we give gifts.

There are groups of consumerist rebels in North America who are taking the notion of holiday gift-giving into their own hands. We’ll call them the Do-it-Yourself Movement. In some cases they handmake their gifts, but to be a part of this movement one doesn’t need to be terribly crafty. Their goal is simple, instead of being enchanted by the festive promotional hype of big box stores, these people simply use creative means to get to the heart of the matter: What is the purpose of a gift?

When we push aside the glitzy, twinkling lights of holiday shopping, gift-giving at its core is an offering of peace and joy to someone we love. The problem comes when we get stuck in our heads. We panic. Maybe they won’t like just any gift, maybe they’ll only like the gadgets they have on their amazon wishlists or they’ve seen on TV.

A good gift is something that adds peace to life of the receiver. Here are a few creative ways to go about spreading peace this holiday season through the gifts you give.

 

Upcycle

 

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Sometimes the best gifts are the most unexpected. The kind that someone has thought about for months, carefully collecting all the materials and creating a gift with one person in mind.

To avoid the mayhem of giant craft stores, plan your DIY presents ahead of time and use materials from around the house. Even something as mundane as a glass jar or bottle can become a terrarium, lamp, or hummingbird feeder. Upcycling is not only fun, but it infuses everyday materials with a personalized creative edge.

Also, it’s simply good for the world. Who doesn’t like receiving a gift that was made just for them, and didn’t have to be mass produced by children in a sweatshop?

 

The Gift of Meditation

 

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Give someone you care about a gift certificate to a meditation class led by a local teacher. The gift of a meditation class is a way to quite literally gift peace.The benefits are far-reaching — both in terms of inner peace and in terms of being of benefit to the world.

Not only does a regular meditation practice help a student learn to let go of all the background noise one encounters in day-to-day life, but the community fostered in a meditation class is a gift in and of itself.

Remember. Sitting meditation isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. If the person you’re thinking of for this gift has trouble sitting for long periods of time, don’t forget that meditation takes many forms. Walking meditation, tai chi, yoga, and mindful breathing all have the same benefits.

 

The Gift of a Good Story

 

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In this technological age, people are becoming more and more adept at multitasking and skimming through huge amounts of data to glean important takeaways. Sounds like work, doesn’t it?

This holiday season, give your loved ones the gift of stories. Give them books.

Paper bound books, those low-tech Kindles of olde, give modern readers the rare opportunity to practice what’s called “deep reading.” If you’re not familiar with the term, that’s because there didn’t use to be a term for it; it was simply called “reading.” But our collective neural pathways seem to be changing to meet the needs of the technological age. There’s a real difference between how we read on paper and how we read on a screen. On a screen we flit from paragraph to paragraph in order to consume as much of the information as quickly as we can, but on paper we move down the page in a steady, linear way.

Books offer us relief from flitting. This focus lets a reader feel fully immersed in a world, in characters, and in new points of view. That’s the definition of compassion if I’ve ever heard it. Not bad for one measly Christmas gift.   

The anti-consumerist movement is not only great for the people who are receiving gifts this holiday season, but it’s got the fringe benefit of being awesome for gift-givers as well. By kicking the idea of the traditionally-hyped shopping season to the curb, buyers give themselves the gift of avoiding the madness of the retail holiday.

There’s nothing wrong with spending money on those you love, the focus is simply that it be spent mindfully in ways that support personal peace, local peace, and global peace. Happy holidays!