Every New Year I try and find a ways to improve myself. Growth is important at every level and it never stops. Many times we have to listen to others as they help us grow. It is important to have people on your side that will tell you what you need to hear but don’t really want to.
Luckily, I have many people like this. This year my goal was to become more aware of my faults and learn how to improve. In the past, I have had trouble becoming accountable for the things that I do. I so often would just make excuses for myself, but that only gets you so far. These steps are just some of the ways to develop better relationships. While this may work for me it may be different for you.
One of the first things I learned to do was listen twice as much as I talked. My biggest mistake on this was the fact that I listened less than I talked. This was my biggest issue and it’s okay to want to respond to what people say, but growth is more important. When there is an issue, listen and recognize what you’re being told. You don’t have to respond immediately; sometimes you need to process what you’re being told.
Another thing I learned to work on was that once I am told I need to work on something, I actually need to work on it! I used to let these things go in one ear and out the other. People were not telling me these things just to talk, they were telling me them so that I could move forward and become my best self. It is hard to recognize needing to change, but it is necessary. Working on yourself takes time, but as a busy college student you have to make the time. Some days it is as easy as self reflection for a few minutes a day or writing down events that have become an issue and evaluating them. One thing I have found that is important is having someone who is partial to the situation to talk with you about it. They are more likely to point out the things that need to be worked on. By doing all of these things, it is easier to evaluate the situation and overcome it.
This sounds simple, but apologize when you’re wrong. An apology is more than “I’m sorry.” It is constructed with acknowledgement, responsibility, and regret. Many times I feel like I’m saying more by saying less. From experience this makes people feel like I am insincere and that I don’t care. This is when thinking before you talk is so important; hear what is being said, think about it, and then apologize. The best apology makes others feel like change is going to actively happen. Acknowledgement is understanding what went wrong. Responsibility is saying, “Yes, I did _____ and this is how I’m going to fix it.” Regret is important because if you don’t feel bad about what you did then you wont move forward positively. This was the hardest step for me because growing up the term “I’m sorry” worked fine, but as we mature and our relationships mature it isn’t enough.