“Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-break on.”
– Maxwell Maltz
Teams work best when each member is valued and feels valuable. Treating one another as a valued member produces results – undervaluing yourself or others produces less. How we treat each other matters – personally and professionally – and we all struggle with self-doubt. Sunday, I was inspired by my friend Dan Miller’s email and I want to share it with you. Mainly, because I’m in the business of growing things – people most of all – myself included. Dan’s email reminded me that I matter always – that all people matter always. I hope you find it insightful as I did. Enjoy!
I love words that have a deep meaning. We might think of Love, Hope and Faith and how they impact our lives. We could go on with Beauty, Solitude, Purpose, Passion and Wisdom. But this morning I want to point out an ancient Hindi word that has profoundly affected my view of the world. (Hindi is the fourth most-spoken first language in the world, after Mandarin, Spanish and English. First language of 260 million people in northern India.)
We use Charity as a word that means giving to those in need, or helping those less fortunate than ourselves. But this Hindi word has a deeper meaning than Charity. The word is “Genshai.” (pronounced Gen-shy) And it means “Never, ever treat anyone in a way that would make them feel small.”
If Joanne and I are walking down the street in our annual Christmas excursion to Chicago and throw a couple dollars into the cup of a homeless person we would be practicing kindness, generosity and charity. But when Joanne gets down on her knees on the level of a terrified homeless young girl, looks her in the eye and with both hands extends that money while smiling and speaking encouragement, that’s the spirit of Genshai. You can sense the difference is emotion, intention, concern and love.
But here’s a perhaps unexpected extension of Genshai. If you ever feel inferior to someone in a given setting, you’ll also feel superior to someone else in a different setting. Making myself feel small is a violation of Genshai and sets me up to feel better than the next person I meet.
In order to love someone, I have to see them as good and loving. Seeing myself as worthless is not as much a sign of humility as it is a sign of insecurity. If I don’t see myself as cherished and valuable it helps me justify seeing other individuals, clients, groups and countries as less than and is the basis of criticism, envy and war. And it’s a violation of the Biblical principle to love others as we love ourselves.
The spirit of Genshai is to treat others, and ourselves, in an abundant, positive, loving and encouraging way. May we this week celebrate our love for and belief in others everywhere as much as our nationalism.
Keep Cultivating Your Greatness!