Sharpening our social skills

THE story of the cure of the ten lepers (cfr. Lk 17,11-19) clearly tells us that Christ highly values the details of sociability. We should never underestimate the importance of developing the social skills since these can only create a healthy, happy and fruitful environment that would be good to all of us.

He expects us, for example, to be thankful always since everything good that we enjoy and that we usually take for granted comes from him. Neglecting this detail will already lead us to separate ourselves from God and from others and lead us to be self-absorbed.

The social skills expected of us help to strengthen our unity and our sense of being children of God and brothers and sisters to each other. This is a fundamental truth about ourselves that not only should never be forgotten but also should be reaffirmed and reinforced everyday.

We really need to pause from time to time to recover the memory of this duty, often lost in the frenzy of our daily activities and concerns. It would be good that in our daily planning, we concretize the details of these social skills that we need to develop and polish.

It may just be a matter of smiling some more during the day, greeting people around, expressing warmth and affection to them, etc. These, and many others, go a long way in creating a very humane atmosphere around where everyone would feel good.

We need to grow daily in the area of affability, courtesy, loyalty, empathy, compassion, etc. We need to examine ourselves so as to be more aware of the weaknesses we have in these aspects and to do something about them.

We are usually subjected to certain conditionings, like our temperament, our physical, emotional and mental state in a given moment, etc. While we cannot fully escape them, we have to learn to transcend them when we notice the limiting or restricting character of these conditionings.

We can always do that if we simply are aware of these limitations and have the mind to do something about them. A person who happens to have a stern face, for example, and yet has a good disposition towards everyone, may have to exert to smile more to soften the sharpness of his facial features and can appear more welcoming and friendly to others.

Or a person who is by temperament of the quiet and cold type may have to exert effort to talk more and to show more warmth in his manners. The ideal is that it is automatic in us to be always nice and friendly with everyone, in spite of our unavoidable differences and conflicts.

We have to learn how to dominate our moods that would usually cut us from the loop of the relationship we ought to have with others. With moods, we are simply at the mercy of our emotional and psychological conditions. We have to learn to go beyond them.

Developing our social skills will definitely be a continual work in progress. But everyday we should have specific plans to grow at least in one aspect of our social skills. It will not take too much time nor effort, and it will be all worthwhile.

The end product will be a happier us and a more effective way of dealing with others. Ultimately, these social skills will make us to be pleasing to God, and to be like him in the end. He went all the way to becoming man and identifying himself with each one us, including assuming all our sins!

Email: roycimagala@gmail.com

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