“We all have different gifts, so we all have different ways of saying to the world who we are.” ~ Fred Rogers
If I asked you how well you know each person among your family and friends, you’d probably say you know them very well. After all, you’ve known them for years, and you can usually…usually…predict how they will think, feel, or act in various circumstances. But sometimes a situation arises between people that brings about a new perspective in how well they really know each other.
A few years ago, I felt very depressed over a situation for which there was no immediate resolution. I knew how to resolve the problem, but the depression was robbing me of stamina I needed to move forward with it. So I went to see two friends for emotional support to help me through it. I told them about my depression, but their reply told me they’d not really heard me. The wife began telling me how to fix the problem, which I already knew, and the husband came back with a totally unrelated problem of his.
“Confusion is the first step toward clarity.” ~Syd Field
I went home feeling unimportant, invalidated and confused, worse than when I reached out for help. I knew my friends cared about me. Why had our meeting not brought the help I needed? I had to gain some understanding and clarity for this situation. So I asked my Minister for feedback, and I learned an important lesson.
“Different people have different duties assigned to them by Nature; Nature has given one the power or the desire to do this, the other that. Each bird must sing with his own throat.” ~Henrik Ibsen
She explained that we’ve all been given certain gifts, or talents, we use to help others, and not all people are good listeners. But each is important. There are fixers, caretakers, and doers, and some offer humor, knowledge, patience, understanding and compassion, while others give good directions, etc. So when we need help, we must go to whoever has the talent we need rather than someone who can’t help us. And be ready to share our own talents with others in need.
In the past, I had not noticed anyone with their particular talents in mind. They were just my dear family and friends. Now each relationship has expanded with new dimensions and new ways to relate to them. We’ve actually been sharing more than I had realized, and our relationships are more meaningful.
Maybe you’ve experienced times when you kept going back to the same place for help, but kept coming away confused and empty. The door was closed, and you didn’t understand. It wasn’t that someone didn’t love you. They just didn’t have the talent you needed, and couldn’t help you. How much easier it would have been for both of you, had you known where to find the open door.
“I can do thins you cannot; you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.” ~Mother Teresa
We take so much for granted in relationships that we can actually miss parts of the other person’s personality, and can misjudge some of their actions. How often do you look at a family member or friend with your own mind so preoccupied, you can’t really see them at that moment? And that moment might be very meaningful.
When you’re with someone, take time to really look at them with different eyes. Notice what you haven’t seen before. Feel their presence. Acknowledge who and what they are to you. What’s different and special about them? What makes them unique? And if you see something you don’t like, that’s okay. Accept the whole person, and let it be. Don’t judge.
This may seem like a tall order, and one you don’t need to do or have time for. But it will break down the doors of communication, and you’ll know how to be there for someone else, and who has the bread when you need help. And the better you know and understand the people in your life, the more fulfilling and meaningful each relationship will be.
I wish you clear vision and a happy journey.
Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer