NOTE: These are the closing remarks in Tammy and Louisa’s 2nd edition of their educator book, released in March of 2020. It was originally adapted from a blog Tammy wrote in 2007 and published in their 1st edition 2010.
We’d like you to imagine what our world would be like if everyone went about their entire lives trying to bring forth the greatness in every person they met. Each of us would stop and notice, pay attention, and be present. We would honor and name every great thing we saw and be so enamored by the gifts others possess and the values they exhibit. This book calls us to do exactly this. This one life calls us to do this: To see and be that greatness lens. To be a change agent and a Greatness Crusader, one relationship at a time. Starting with yourself.
Louisa and Tammy have always maintained a core faith that all people are good. While some may not manifest this goodness in their actions consistently, we believe it lies within them — perhaps yet untapped, unrecognized even by themselves. These individuals have let their mirror reflect only what others have said about them, and what negative beliefs they have owned about the world, themselves, and their journey. They live in their problems and their past and can falter with a lens of what is going wrong versus a beauty of every right thing. Yet we also believe that nearly all individuals have the best of intentions: The best intention to be their best self. They fall short when their brain goes right to the anger/fear/worry that is often their first thought in a new situation, or one where experience has taught them to not trust. They have forgotten to be enamored with themselves.
Think now of the people who move and compel you: Those who seem to have some light which draws you and others in, those who seem to be closer to the source, the way a small child is in their simplicity. We know you can name one — and likely many. Are these people actively participating in feeding their greatness? We believe so.
This life is not about survival to a destination but about living in the journey. It is not a discovery process, but a recovery process of your ultimate greatness which has always been there. We know this can be hard. We live in a world where much energy is focused on flaws, mistakes, cannots, and criticisms. This is why it is even more important that you get your greatness — and the greatness of others — to your core. Often it is easy to find the beauty, depth, and shine in other people. When we aim our hearts and actions and words at others, when we shine our light on their greatness, when we name it — and are specific, we are often noticing the very qualities which we ourselves possess but fail to shine. Now, as NHA practitioners, we are called to own our Qualities of Greatness (Q.O.G.s); we accept them in ourselves and in the observations of others. We don’t push it away — or defer it to somebody else. We flood our brains with those happy neurotransmitters and empower those around us to do the same. We also acknowledge that this is hard: To see how powerfully great we are. But we know we cannot begin to impact change on the world — and on the students and people we touch in our lives — if we are not firmly affirming our OWN greatness. Say to yourself, “I am great.” Then risk to name what is great about you (compassionate, brave, patient, tolerant, positive, funny, flexible, risk-taking, etc.) Keep going. Your list is endless.
Imagine what this power, this light, this internal shine would do for a child who really believes in their own greatness. If children or adults truly leaned on their strong Inner Wealth of grit and compassion, they would rarely doubt their capacity to manage life’s challenges. They would see greatness in others and be fearless in asking for help. They would understand conflict and struggle as temporary and adopt new strategies to cope. They would value themselves and their impact on others, and they would know their importance in the world. Imagine nurturing the souls of children so nothing could stop them in their relentless pursuit of the positives. You are in relationship with every person’s best side, soaking him or her in their greatness. Because of your capacity to name and be greatness, you are holding up a mirror which reflects their unique and indomitable capacity.
“What about when I am not great?” asks the skeptical voice. Ah, that is just the old loop of negative self-bashing. It does not serve to focus on our flaws and imperfections. As a change agent in children’s lives, we must change our own default setting. Reset. Refresh. Let it go. Restart. For many, it can be a struggle to focus on our greatness, to stop our negative loop. It’s grace. It’s a stretch for some, but you are stretching. Negative thoughts exist, but they no longer have power over you.
All this sounds so mushy and oozy and well, basically, simple. Don’t believe it works? True transformation can occur in a ten-minute conversation. Flood the person you work with. Overload your in-law. Soak your partner with the evidence of their grace. Dunk the heads of your students in the full focus of your wild appreciation of their amazing gifts. These may be things you think but don’t often say. They may be the things you share with other people, but not always the individual. Let go of the worry about the things they do imperfectly. Start by helping them see all they do right. Use no buts — and ask for nothing in return. Do it again. And then again. And then again. Email them, text them, put a Post-it on their desk, leave them a voice mail, brag about them right in front of them.
This is how you begin to change the way you relate to others: How you see them, speak about them, speak to them, and ultimately honor them. And it is also how you honor yourself. The transformation of the most important relationships in your life begins with YOU.