Mālama

White Ginger by Rosa Say
White Ginger by Rosa Say

Care is one of those English words which has positive and negative meanings. We can say, we care for another like a parent cares for a child or a spouse cares for its mate. This is a loving action rising from a heart of Aloha love. It flows without obstruction, freely, with no expectation of being repaid. It is full giving at its best. It lifts burdens from hearts and shoulders.

Care has a negative side, though. The cares can crowd in choking the vibrancy of life. It can invade and destroy. It can weigh down a person to the point of disability.

From a Gallup poll:

An alarming 70% of American workers are not showing up to work committed to delivering their best performance, and this has serious implications for the bottom line of individual companies and the U.S. economy as a whole.

Of the 70% of American workers who are not reaching their full potential, 52% are not engaged, and another 18% are actively disengaged. These employees are emotionally disconnected from their companies and may actually be working against their employers’ interests; they are less productive, are more likely to steal from their companies, negatively influence their coworkers, miss workdays, and drive customers away.

From the American Institute of Stress:

  • 77% regularly experience physical symptoms of stress, including fatigue, headache, upset stomach and more
  • 73% regularly experience psychological symptoms of stress, including irritability, anger, nervousness and lethargy
  • 48% say stress has a negative impact on their personal and professional lives
  • 30% say they are “always” or “often” under stress at work

They say that these stresses are often related to inabilities or areas needing growth. How we see them is the culprit. Instead of seeing them as stresses, see them as growth places.

Based on just these two studies, I think we’ll agree that there are times we need someone to care for us and perhaps more times we need to be caring for others.

If you would like a word for this week, a goal to shoot for, consider Mālama. Saying “Mālama pono; me ke aloha” to someone means “I am here for you if you need me.” What a gift your presence can be.

Be alert to people who need a smile and kind word or action. Listen to what they say. Watch how they walk. Be ready to encourage and build up; plan what you will say. Preserve and protect those around you. Learn how to show meaningful, authentic appreciation for who they are. Recognition, which targets accomplishment, is not enough to combat these trends. Showing true, authentic appreciation targets the nature of a person and cares for them as they are.

Question: If we could learn and apply the value of Mālama, I wonder what would happen.

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