Ever paid attention to how often you use the word “I” throughout your day instead of “you?” One of the steps to achieving spiritual fulfillment, self actualization, or nirvana is to have a good balance between self and other focused mindsets. Many individuals ranging from spiritual and religious leaders to researched psychological theories to politicians and many others have either mentioned themselves, or quoted others, about how helping others helps yourself. Well, not only does helping others help you, but consciously focusing your awareness upon others can actually increase your own self awareness and feelings of self worth.
Many people when talking to others get lost in conversations by thinking about something else they have to do that day or how bored they may be in that conversation. This keeps you at a distance from others and ultimately effects your own levels of self fulfillment and joy because I am a firm believer that no one person can be self fulfilled without the company of others, especially close friends and family. Someone once told me something about how they believed leadership worked best “Talk less and listen more.” This doesn’t just apply to leadership. Practicing the art of intently listening to others and not being in your own mind, either judging or ignoring whats being said in the conversation, is one of the steps towards spiritual fulfillment. Being wholly involved in conversations with others is a tool that keeps in you in that moment and also helps you relate to others better. Relating to others on a deeper level via giving them your full attention also helps them out. Sometimes all someone needs is to have someone not just listen to them but actually hear them. A good conversation with a friend where both are intently listening to each other for a while can be better than an hour of any form of psychotherapy.
Try this as a spiritual practice: Stop using the word “I.” Try to slowly take that word out of your daily vocabulary. Obviously it may be hard to take it out completely, but at least try to lessen your usage of the word “I” in any way. Except if you are a fan of positive affirmations such as “I am happy, healthy, confident, and calm.” Definitely keep using these if you find that they help you. What I am referring to is more geared towards when you are talking to others or even when you think about experiences or situations that involve others. This is meant to help you be more intently focused and interested with others while in a conversation. Remove that word from your vocabulary and try to focus on others a bit more. Once you do this for a while you will start noticing differences in yourself via a higher self awareness, knowledge base, and a higher gratitude level for those in your life. Strong interest in others and strong relationships of give and take are vital to our path towards spiritual fulfillment.
Another test to see if you even want to try this practice is to start counting the number of times you say “I” versus “You” or “Us” or “We” and then totaling them up to see what the disparity is between them. Some people may like to literally write down how many times they say them. For others just paying attention to the number of times you say those words in your head may be enough to convince you to begin this practice. Saying “I” is not a bad thing, but when you overuse it and then it becomes out of balance, then that is a problem. Balance to everything in life my friends. That is the key to spiritual self fulfillment.
Actually, one of my personal guides to live by includes the statement “Always try to be of service to others.” I will share the other personal guides I have used throughout my life in a latter posts.
Namaste. God bless you.
– Greek Guru Guy