Moving from “Me First” to “We First”
I think it is normal human instinct to want our way. If we are truly honest with ourselves, we sometimes convinces ourselves that life would be so much better if people just did things our way. If only he folded clothes the “right” way, I could use his help. Why does she always have to talk so much? Doesn’t she know I am tired and want to relax? It sure would be nice if these kids would just pick up their toys without being asked. We all operate from our own agenda. This is the “me first” attitude.
If we lived alone in this world, I suppose that attitude would work well. But everywhere we go, there are other people that we are in relationship with. We have relationships at home, at work, at church, in school, and anywhere else you have two or more people interacting with one another. The “me first” attitude doesn’t work so well in relationships. To work well together and maintain the integrity of the relationship, a “we first” attitude works much better.
So how do we move from “me first” to “we first”?
- First, acknowledge your tendency to think first about your own agenda, needs, feelings and ideas.
- Understand that everyone else is doing the same thing.
- Practice listening to the other person first. Wipe your thoughts out of your mind momentarily while you deeply listen to new ideas, perspectives and feelings.
- Keep your mind open to truly understanding where another person is coming from. If you don’t listen, you can’t find your common ground.
- Share your thoughts, feelings and perspectives and insist on being heard by the other person if they are failing to listen.
- Brainstorm together to find your common ground. Sometimes you may share common feelings about a problem, but have different ideas on how to solve the problem. You may want the same result, but don’t see eye to eye on how to achieve that result. Other times you may find nothing in common other than your anger and stubbornness.
- Accept that a “we first” attitude is the best option for your relationship. Without it, you are compromising your relationship.
- Talk about how you can create win-win solutions in the relationship. What needs to take place for both parties to feel like a winner?
- Win-win solutions require us to sometimes change our perspectives, learn and try new ideas, and believe that sometimes the “win” is the result we receive when we love and care for another human being.
The purpose of relationships is to provide us with an avenue to grow our character and ultimately be blessed because we fostered a “we first” attitude.