My dear friend, Patricia Van Horn, used to say, “The way you are is just as important as what you do.” She was saying that our internal processes are just as important, as the words we choose to say, and how we choose to say them with our tone of voice, and our body.
We are all connected, constantly conveying information to each other. Neuroscience has helped us understand the power our brains have not only on ourselves, but on others. Behaviors and thoughts are contagious because our brains are wirelessly connected through a network of mirror neurons. When we think a certain thought, our body and our energy changes in response to that thought, and those around us are influenced by it. Think of something gross and non-consciously your body responds. Your nose scrunches up, your lips curl and your muscles tense up. What we think has as much power as the words we choose to say.
Scott Achor’s research on happiness shows that the lens through which we view the world and others, changes us. What we feel, think, and do has an impact because of the mirror neurons in our brains. Negativity, stress, and uncertainty spread….so do happiness, joy and acceptance. Each moment of every day, we have the capacity to use our “powers” for good, to make the world a better place, to assume positive intent of those around us, to offer compassion and hope.
Every December and January this message becomes louder and louder in my life. Two people I dearly loved were murdered at this time of year. I can’t help but wonder what the world would be like, if we practiced growing kindness and understanding for one another. Patricia helped me understand the importance and the power of saying with my whole self, “You are welcome here.” Imagine the power of feeling welcomed-accepted, cared for, valued, just as you are…..the world would be a much different place.