Hello and welcome. I'm happy you are here. Your time investment will not be wasted today. It's so critical to invest in a healthy and empowering perspective, and that is exactly what you are in for today.
Look I've said it before and I'll say it again, relationships, your relationships, the quality of your relationships is the single best predictor of happiness in your life.
Learning skills that allow you to navigate successfully in your relationships, whether it be with your spouse, with your children, with your neighbors, with your co-workers, is the single most important effort you make in your life.
Of course there are other things, other ventures, other things that hold tremendous value, and I'm not trying to always create this hierarchy of what is most important, but I think if you take a quick scan over your life, you'll most likely agree that relationships play a critical role in your life, in the enjoyment of your life, and in the meaning of your life.
Look, I have no reservation in affirming to you that the questions that I'm about to expose you to, will have a dramatic effect in the way you live your life and handle your relationships.
You may have heard me say in previous episodes, this powerful concept that we are constantly and unavoidably inviting something. We simply cannot help it! The concept is simple. When you smile at someone the invitation you are sending is, "let's smile!"
When you greet someone with excitement, you are inviting excitement. When you are honest, you are inviting honesty. When you are loving, the invitation is "let's be loving." When you are kind, you are promoting and inviting kindness.
The opposite is also true.
When you are rude, the invitation you are sending is "let's be rude!" When you are dishonest, you are promoting and inviting dishonesty. When you are disrespectful, you are saying "let's be disrespectful toward each other." When you are critical, you are inviting criticism.
The problem, of course, is that our focus is usually not turned in, but turned out. We are so much more aware of what others are inviting, or not inviting, that we often overlook what is by far the most important information for us, which is…what we are inviting at any given moment.
One more thing before I tell you what the three questions are. As humans, we have a very strong tendency to reflect what is being presented and portrayed in front of us. When someone is laughing, we are more likely to laugh ourselves.
When someone is crying, or sad, or yawning, or angry, our brain-full tendency is to mirror what is being offered. That is why this is such a powerful concept. As we recognize the influence of others upon us, and our own influence upon others, we can begin to shape circumstances around us, simply by inviting them in others.
Our ignorance often leads us to provoking negative thoughts and feelings in others. Not only do we provoke feelings in others, but we often ignorantly invite others to do the very things we are hoping they will stop doing. So, let's save ourselves from our own ignorance, by becoming masters of these three questions.
Question #1 - What am I inviting?
Increase your mind-fullness by beginning to pay attention to what you are inviting. Remember that you can't help it; you are always inviting and promoting something. This question will allow you to turn your focus inwardly, to help you become aware of your invitations at any given moment.
As you become awakened to your own invitations, to the things you are promoting, you will recognize the behavior, thoughts, and feelings that you are inviting and/or provoking in others. Now, just because you are inviting something, doesn't mean that others will invite that same thing back (thank goodness), but it increases the chances that they will.
I'm certainly not talking about manipulation or mind control here; those things only produce bitterness and resentment. What I'm hoping is that as you increase your awareness, you will be able to modify what you are inviting to more closely aligning and matching what it is that you truly want in the long run.
Question #2 - What do I want to invite?
This mind-full question allows you to expand beyond the primitive, into the spiritual and divine self. It leads you to consider the outcome that you are wanting in the end, and as that becomes apparent to you, you will then consciously and deliberately invite it in a manner that is congruent with your objectives and highest values.
If the outcome you desire is to cultivate respect, then you must invite respect in the way you interact with your children. If you want to create and nurture peace and safety in your relationships, then your interactions have to invite the outcome you desire. If you want a loving and forgiving relationship, your actions have to invite that in others. As Gandhi put it, "you must become the change you wish to see in the world."
As you invite your desired outcome, the results will change over time; also, you will become someone that others can model. Your presence alone will serve to liberate others, as you become free of reactive and knee jerk responses that do not invite what you want to achieve.
Question #3 - How do I invite it?
This next step involves taking the knowledge that you now possess about what it is that you are inviting, whether it is congruent with what it is that you want to invite, and then inviting the very outcome you want. Inviting what you want is recognizing that the end is the means!
It takes courage and a significant amount of hope to invite love, to invite kindness, to promote understanding, and compassion, when rudeness, disrespect, and ingratitude are presented to you, but if I can bear witness to you that in the end a humble, kind, patient, full of love and long-suffering approach yields the superior outcome.
At the least, this approach allows the other individual to know that your faithfulness and loyalty to them is stronger than their mistakes, and it keeps you positioned to influence them later. So many times I watch myself and others, whether they be parents, or spouses, or friends, inviting the very opposite thing that we are trying to promote.
I get taken over by emotions, or by pride, and become completely unconscious to the desired outcome that I'm hoping to achieve. In this unconscious and blind state, we end up provoking the very negativity, the very resistance, the defensiveness that we are hoping to squelch. Our attempts at disciplining lose most of their effectiveness and value as we threaten, disrespect, yell and scream, unaware that we are inviting the very resistance that makes it near impossible for them to truly accept the message we are attempting to send.
I watch over and over again how our insecure fears override our desires to invite love, kindness, safety, and loyalty in our marriages and relationships. Offended, and out of fear of losing the relationship, we launch an attack provoking in the other the very outcome we are attempting to avoid. Instead of inviting safety and loyalty, we provoke fear and insecurity.
Instead of love and gentleness, we provoke resentment and rudeness. Instead of inviting forgiveness and hope, we provoke a nagging reminder to the ones we love that their past actions are not forgotten, instilling in them a depressing hopelessness.
We must do better!
As we recognize the influence of others upon us, and our own influence upon others, we can begin to shape circumstances around us, simply by inviting them in others.
We must not continue in this ignorance, blindly justifying and rationalizing to ourselves that our scandalous approach has a positive end in mind. That is an inferior psychology that will yield an inferior outcome.
Begin this moment to become aware of what you are inviting, discover what you want to invite, and then invite it confidently, prayerfully, mind-fully, and deliberately. As you do, not only will you dramatically impact the environment around you, but you will also be teaching your brain to become less reactive, and to deal with others and the world in a peaceful and confident way.
The brain will listen and learn, and little by little become a confident tool for you.
Now go invite!