Latter-day Saint Life

4 tips for seeing others’ stories—to help you find connection

Human connection

We’ve all heard the cliché that you can be in a crowded room or surrounded by a group of people and still feel so alone. Clichés are cliché for a reason—they are relatable! We have all felt alone in life, but even if it’s normal, it’s still discouraging. But our heavenly parents did not create us to be alone. We are here on this earth to make connections and learn from one another’s stories. We need each other!

In fact, this is something that Taylor Ricks feels so strongly about that she wrote a book called Everyday Disciples: Lessons Learned from Unnamed Scripture Heroes, where she describes the stories of faithful Saints in the scriptures. She believes that everyone has a unique story to tell. She stopped by the Magnify Podcast to share how we can learn from other people’s stories. Most importantly, she shares, “I’m not alone in feeling alone.”

Here are four ways Taylor says we can connect with others to see their stories and feel God’s love:

1. Switch the Mindset

Instead of asking “What can people do for me?” ask yourself, “Who needs me to focus on them this week?” This mindset helps others feel like they are seen. We are created to be seen and see others and make connections.

Taylor believes that we are created as beings that are meant to connect. She says, “We were created to be seen and known and loved in a perfect way by our Heavenly Father. I think that it’s innate in us to want to be seen and understood. Our spirits yearn for that kind of connection, because that’s what we’re created to have."

2. See and Embrace the Whole Person

Nobody is all good or all bad—when we see and accept all sides of a person (and ourselves), it allows for deeper connection. Assume that everyone has a unique and humble story to share, because they do!

Speaking of people’s qualities that we don’t understand and would rather just ignore, Taylor says, “Instead of looking past things in other people, maybe we can see it and embrace it and meet them where they are in that thing. Personality traits that we don’t understand, experiences we haven’t seen—understanding that everyone is created in a divine way. Instead of looking past it, let’s just embrace it and be like, that’s a part of that person, and how can I love it? How can I embrace it?”

3. Observe Others and Their Actions

Sometimes it’s easy to not look outside yourself when you’re dealing with a lot of personal struggles. One way to help learn from others’ stories is by consciously observing people and their actions. In fact, a great way to do this is to write down things you notice about your friends and family so that you can bring it up and open a door to a conversation.

Taylor has learned to do this through her mother. She says, “Be prayerful and notice people’s countenances. You can say a quick prayer in the moment in your heart and ask to know what you can do to open up and share with other people.”

4. Ask Heavenly Father How He Feels about You

We often let outside influences affect how we feel about ourselves. It can be tiring to keep up with the world, but one way to love your own story and learn about others is by asking Heavenly Father how he feels about you in sincere prayer.

Taylor actually has a unique way of doing this. She says, “I decided to stop every time I had a bad thought about myself and pray and ask Heavenly Father to remove the bad thought and replace it with something He saw in me. One day I think it was over 60 times that I had stopped and asked for those thoughts. I have learned that He will take every opportunity we ask for to teach us what He sees in us.”

Listen to the whole episode on the Magnify Podcast and learn more about Taylor and her story.

Everyday Disciples: Lessons Learned from Unnamed Scripture Heroes

Though we may not know their names or tell tales of their outstanding feats, there are countless quiet, humble disciples in the scriptures who faithfully found their place in the fold of God even when their contributions went unnoticed by those around them. As we start to see the impact of the unnamed scripture heroes, we can also better recognize the significance of the seemingly small contributions each of us can make to building God's kingdom on earth.

Everyday Disciples testifies that every voice is needed, every testimony is important, and every soul is great in the sight of God.

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