I am going to say something so obvious perhaps some will say its not worth saying, but I think we all need to be reminded, and often. My key observation this week is a particular reminder of what every person needs, to be heard and acknowledged.
There have been three incidents this week alone where I received calls with questions and concerns on an issue. The one thing all of them had in common was that they had not felt heard and/or acknowledged.
I stopped and realized that so often we focus on what people “complain” about and not what they are really saying. I thought about how, sadly so many of us have not been taught to say what we mean or ask for what we really need, so instead we complain or feel hurt, get angry or cry.
So this week I decided it was not my job to listen to complaints, but to listen to what happened and how it effected them. My goal was to work through how I could support or help. I wasn’t able to necessarily solve their problems, but I assisted to the best of my ability and that’s all we can really do. More often than not, that’s all people really need.
At first I was uncomfortable and concerned about how to handle their issues, but I thought about my goal to approach my life and the situations in it with compassion. If I am so busy preparing for the conflict, I will not hear the true concern. So I released my worries and simply had conversations with lovely people whom I heard and I am grateful.
My second observation this week is an acknowledgment for myself. For so long I have been protecting myself from people. The problem is I love people. I love connecting and sharing. I love, big. However for so long I have kept this wall around me. It served me in the past but I no longer need protecting so I am taking it down piece by piece and its working. I always wondered why I was the one to have to reach out, make plans, check in. Now I see, how could anybody get past the barrier? They couldn’t. It’s changing. People have been reaching out and making plans. I am open and excited. I have so many friends whom I adore and I am making new ones, which hasn’t happened in a long time. I went to dinner with a new friend just last night and had a wonderful time getting to know someone new, someone interesting and fun.
Tying back to my first observation I have to admit that I too have needed to be heard, I just didn’t realize how often I didn’t speak or turned my head or worked so hard to not need anyone else that it seemed obvious to others I did not need them. I do. We all do. We as people have a basic human desire to be with and share with others.
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” ― C.S. Lewis
Thank you to all of my friends.