Going with the flow is healthy in many situations. Following others’ lead allows you to let go a little bit and enjoy yourself, whether it’s going to the movies or getting a massage or pedicure.
Sometimes, though, you get into the habit of letting go when you need to do the opposite. When you care about caring for others but can’t bring yourself out of your bubble, you need some intentionality practice. Here are some illuminating steps to becoming more intentional that you can’t miss.
Consume Media Made by All Kinds of People
First up, read books, watch movies, and read articles that come from a person with a different viewpoint or background than you. It’s natural to silo yourself among voices you approve of and relate to, but this hampers your ability to connect with others. Because empathizing with someone is the first step towards intentionality, you must open yourself up to other ways of thinking. This doesn’t mean you have to buy into their exact views, but understanding why someone thinks a certain way has value.
Serve Your Local Community
While learning from others is a prerequisite step, serving in your community gets you into action. It’s one thing to care about the abstract issue of poverty, but it’s another to actively fight it in your local community. Tangible service allows you to practice the art of seeing a person, recognizing when they’re in need, and accepting the invitation to support them. You can start small—foster a connection with a local organization and let it grow as you become comfortable.
Our final step to becoming more intentional is to plan it out. Sure, it seems inorganic to pencil in a good deed, but that’s not really what deserves your focus. The truth is scheduling your intentionality will enable you to do more for people with the time you have. And it’s perhaps the only realistic way to work toward establishing a habit that could become a regular part of you as a person.