1- Listen to listen, not to answer.

It is a vice: While the other person is speaking, instead of listening carefully, if we look at our mind we will realize that we are formulating an opinion / sign / interpretation, instead of actually listening. This mental habit translates verbally into the compulsion to automatically respond to what the other person has expressed with opinions and various interpretations that do not always have to do with what the other person has said.

To counteract this egocentrism camouflaged as interest, we can exercise the attitude of perceiving the person in front of us as the most important in the world for us at that moment. This one change of attitude will cause us to pay much more attention to what the person is expressing, not only verbally, but with their body language as well. In this way, even if the thoughts emerge in our mind while the other speaks, we will turn our attention back to the other's discourse because we have already considered it valuable from the beginning.

When our turn to speak has come, it is also beneficial that we practice to pause beforehand and let the silence extend a space that allows the other to observe and that gives us the necessary time to respond from the heart, with the motivation that what comes out of our mouth is of benefit to the other (if there is actually something beneficial to say, since silence and a supportive look can sometimes be the most skillful way to respond with love).

2- Relax the tendency to respond relating everything the other person has said to yourself.

It is a classic: Our mind seeks ways of identifying with the other's discourse in order to consider it valuable. If we do not find something within what the other expresses to connect to our interests / experiences / aspirations, we dismiss it as insignificant or boring. At the end of the day, it would seem as if we do not meet to talk, but to use the other person as a pilot audience to rehearse our stand up number or dramatic monologue!

This egocentric habit inevitably drives us to relate everything the other says to ourselves and respond in every dialogue with self-referential allusions. Realizing this tendency can be somewhat embarrassing (it has been for me at least!), but we can choose to assume it with sincerity and sense of humor, knowing us as children of a humanity of prominent navels.

Many times we speak simply from the habit of wanting to say something clever, nice or point out something-nothing-related to what the other says, just to satiate our need to talk.

Recognizing that the other is a human being with the same desire to be valued, recognized and heard can be the first step to exercising the muscle of giving priority to the other, and savoring the satisfaction of having offered our time and a genuine listening, contributing to their well-being.

3- When you make a gift, give what the other really needs or likes, not what you prefer.

Another way in which our egocentrism interferes with the other is to make gifts with a double intention: because we want the other to wear certain clothes, to read a certain book or to go to this or that event, we give him just what we we want. And as our navelcentric intention goes unnoticed in the eyes of the generous image that we have of ourselves, we are offended if the other person does not show much gratitude or enthusiasm when receiving our gift ... and we invite everyone present to our self-pitty party!

One tip to detect this pride disguised as generosity is to ask ourselves: Will this gift make the other person happy or actually please me?

4. Give up the compulsion of criticizing everything others do (with the underlying belief that you always know better).

We know how to dress well, how to prepare a good coffee, what is the best study technique, what the most interesting books are, the best music, the most delicious food ... we hold The Truth! And the other person does not know anything, of course.

Gently (again the camouflaged pride) we point out to the other how everything he does could be done better according to our standards of perfection. And again we are offended if the other ungratefully does not follow our advice (knowing that he will eventually realize that we were right, and will come back repentant).

To be constantly criticizing the way of being of others is an arrogant tendency that makes us appear intimidating and causes the other to move away from us or not to show himself as he is for fear of being judged.

Going to the middle of the field and undressing at dawn looking at the immensity of the sky can be an effective technique (although a little extreme) to make us realize that we are not as important as we believe, nor is our point of view;  learning to dialogue and to exchange ideas instead of trying to impose ours through the despicable and unfriendly critic, is another.


5- Include highlighting others' good qualities as part of your daily routine.
 

Usually we live so conditioned by the message that we must achieve perfection in all areas, that we move this inclination in our tendency to excessive self-criticism and criticism of others. Our egocentrism is specialized in finding faults, in discovering what could be done better, what the other could do to be thinner / attractive, to be better able to approach - again - our standards.
How would our judging mental state-and its becoming stress and antipathy-change if we were to learn to see the beauty, the capacity, the possibility in the other? And how much more would our bonds with others change, how much would we contribute to the well-being of the other if we practice expressing that beauty we perceive?

Once again, I encourage you to put into practice these simple but highly effective habits to become more attentive (and therefore, more loving) human beings, more decentered, more open to relate to others in a genuinely caring and compassionate way. To become Agents of Peace in the world.


What do you personally learn from putting these habits into practice?
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