These 3 simple phrases when used more often between you and those you value or love (and even your enemies) can make a significant impact in your relationships with others.
A few months ago, one of our deacons shared a link with me to Pope Francis’ Speech to engaged couples on February 14, 2014. If you have some extra time you can find it HERE .
However, most of us might only have a few minutes, so allow me to break it down for you. And on a side note, these three incredible phrases have personally re-inspired me to make them a priority in my life because they can be so, so helpful in the every day interactions with anyone and everyone you come in contact with.
Can I, May I?
“Can I?, may I? This is the polite request to enter the life of another with respect and care.” Pope Francis says. He goes on to say, “to ask permission means to know how to enter with courtesy into the lives of others.” Is it possible to further enhance a relationship with others by injecting courtesy and will it even make any difference? The answer is YES! Yes, it is possible and yes, it will make a difference. This is an important but simple message that he reminds us about. A house with children or teens might sound like this, “pick up your stuff, put away the dishes, clean up your room, etc.” But what would happen if I tweaked the question a little bit different like: “Can I get you to put your clothes away before 9am so that we can spend some time together later this afternoon?” Other questions that you might find helpful and courteous are: Do you have a few minutes so that we can chat? Can I meet with you briefly? Should we consider the following options? Do you think this is a good idea?
How many times do we ask for things from our children, coworkers or friends, expecting it to come instantly? I’ve asked my teen boys numerous times to clean up their room, put away their dishes and pack their backpack, only to feel frustrated when it is not done the very next second. As I was reflecting and thinking about this, I started to look at this from their perspective…how often have THEY asked me to do something for them, such as buy a poster board for a project or they needed something for school and I have forgotten about it or put it off thinking that I have more time to finish it later? It goes both ways and frustration very quickly sets in.
“Thank you for your time, for your presence, for helping me to grow, for allowing me some time to respond, etc.” These questions will foster value between persons. When we say “Thank You” we acknowledge that we have received something from another. With a few specifics, sincerity and appreciation, “thank you” can go from a kind word spoken to a stranger out of obligation or routine to a very heartfelt and genuine sentiment of gratitude and thanksgiving. Being generous with “thank you” will empower you to become a model of generosity to others.
I recently asked my 13-year old son to clean his room while I was out for the morning. When I returned, I expected to find his room still messy which had been the case many times before. This time was different. I opened the door and found his room very clean. I immediately went to him and said to him, “thank you, son, for cleaning your room as I have asked.” He said, “you’re welcome mom” and gave me a hug. We had a good day that day. He saw how much completing that task had made my day. I was grateful and I told him about it. It took a few minutes, but it was so well worth it.
If I want him to possess an attitude of gratitude, then I must embrace that same attitude and model it often for him. If you want this attitude to permeate your workplace, then it begins with you. If you want to create a culture of gratitude in your community of friends, then you have to take the lead and become the example. If it catches on, you will have a solid group of friends; however if it doesn’t, you might discover some toxic behaviors that you might not want to be a part of.
Doing the same within the relationships at work, school and most importantly at home will truly make a difference when disagreements or differences of opinion come into play. That’s when you use the third phrase and final phrase that will make things go a little smoother.
We have Jesus, a perfect example and model of love, to look up to and even though we might try to be perfect, we will never be. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t make a mistake. WE are human, only GOD is perfect. Therefore, that means that I must sharpen my conscience and acknowledge the times when I make a mistake. It’s easy to find ways to justify our mistakes or blame someone else for the errors; because who really wants to admit their mistakes or imperfections? But when we do…humility and vulnerability can be found which ultimately grows into trust. The Pope says “We can say many ‘I’m sorry’s’ every day.” “I’m sorry” can be followed by “please, forgive me” or “please, excuse me for passing you by and not acknowledging you today.”
He goes on to remind us of the saying, “Don’t let the sun go down without making peace!” This is the secret for maintaining love and making peace. So the next time, when saying I’m sorry…it might hurt a little bit or even a lot…but say it anyway! Say It! And mean it! When you do, you will be working towards making peace, reconciling and forgiving the the other and God will rejoice in your efforts.
“I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your fles
h and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
So, to instantly transform your relationships with others:
- Ask permission to politely enter into another’s life
- Say “Thank You”
- Say “I’m Sorry”