In today’s stren, #52, you will learn three qualities that are commonly found in people who attain success in any endeavor. These qualities have been identified in multiple studies and verified in my personal observation; they consistently work for others and they will work for you. Once you identify them, you will find they are easy to learn and make part of the repertoire that will increase your popularity. They are (1) accurate empathy, (2) unconditional positive regard, and (3) congruence.
1. Accurate Empathy: Empathy is the ability to convey to another person that you understand their experience. You can resonate with the feelings, thoughts, and motives that person is going through. “I get it.” Empathy does not require that you agree with the person’s perspective. It very well may be that your position is quite different, even opposite to that being expressed.
Example: Jill: “It’s so painful that I lost my best friend in an accident.” Mary responds: “When my mom passed, it took me months to regain interest in things. I was preoccupied and angry with the world. Is your pain anything like that, or something else?” Through active listening, we convey resonance and understanding.
2. Unconditional Positive Regard: Regard is the quality of demonstrating respect for the person even though they may act in ways that we don’t respect; and indeed, we may need to set firm limits on that person’s behavior. Regard for a person does not mean acceptance of their negative actions or behavior. Regard shows one’s willingness to pay attention and seriously consider another’s motives. The words unconditional and positive mean we are able to recognize worth in this person and all people. We are able to convey the genuineness for our respect for the person.
Example: “I think your anger is uncalled for, but I value your friendship. What can we do to work this out?” Among the most powerful words ever spoken are, “Forgive them, they know not what they do.” We are instinctively preprogrammed by our genes to respond negatively, often to fight or run when some “other” is not perceived as one of our kind. Unconditional positive regard is a way to overcome this programming.
3. Congruence: People who maintain consistency show the quality of congruence. They are not cold one day, warm another; sometimes genuine, but self-centered and impassionate at other times. What we represent to the other person is consistent, and our character can be counted on. Others may expect that when we next meet, we will show the same characteristics that we have previously demonstrated.
Example: “Mom had so much on her shoulders, but she was always there to listen and offer words of wisdom.”
Because these three behavioral skills work most effectively when joined together, we are wise to practice and develop our abilities in each of them. They are quite easy to learn. They don’t require unusual intelligence, good looks, material wealth, or even good health – just serious effort. These three skills open the door to dialog. The combination of accurate empathy, unconditional positive regard, and congruence show willingness to share and work together on a common problem. They invite others to participate in a collaborative, cooperative effort to solve problems in such a way that all parties share in the most positive outcome the circumstance permits. When people can come together and communicate using the magical problem-solving common sense wisdom, we can create a win/win outcome that works for today and the future. Treat yourself with these qualities to become you own best friend lifelong.
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