If you’re willing to Listen, Life is willing to Teach you

Last week a friend of mine wasn’t feeling so chipper, so I wanted to do something nice for her. We agreed to meet up at the end of the week, when both our schedules seemed to align. So the day came, and I wasn’t sure of exactly when we’ were meeting. You know how it is, you text someone, then when they respond it’s about something else. Before you know it you’re chatting, and important details get forgotten. Eventually I didn’t end up meeting my friend, we were definitely not on the same page about the timing. At first I was upset, because lately it seems our timing is always off, someone is always unclear about when we’re supposed to meet.

Sometimes it’s not always about ME!

While a communication faux-pas would be a great topic to write about, it’s not the focal point of what I learnt from that experience. I started by saying I wanted to do something nice for my friend, but at some point I made it about me. In my mind I was going into it with my own agenda. It had been some time since I’d seen her, and there were questions I had, and wanted to ask. So when we weren’t able to meet, I was upset, because I was feeling “why does this keep happening to ME?” While the timing was off, my friend no longer felt like being social, so this worked in her favor. So that brings me back to my central question. If it was supposed to be about her, about how to help improve her mood, how did it become about me? You see Life had a way of interjecting here, and I’m thankful for that. Had I met with my friend, the evening would have been about getting my questions answered, instead of listening to what she had to say. Of course men this is a critical lesson for you, sometimes a Woman just needs you to listen, sometimes it’s not about solving a problem. Sometimes she needs to FEEL like she’s been heard, and that you care about what she’s experiencing.

Your light shines through no matter what

As luck would have it, life wasn’t done giving me lessons this weekend. I’ve shared from time to time about my faith, it’s a central part of who I am, my guiding light. I’ve never liked those people who stand on their soap boxes and preach about what a sinner you are, it always seemed so judgmental and boastful. So when it comes to my faith, I take a different approach, if you ask me why I have certain views, I’ll tell you about how my faith has molded that view. I’m not comfortable in pointing out all of your flaws, because the reality is that I’m struggling to live my life a certain way everyday, and I do have my flaws and secrets. I mentioned in a few previous posts that I constantly doubt myself, I doubt my purpose and my influence on others to live a positive life. My roommate came to me last night because he felt that he needed to share something with me. Generally I’m the one sharing positive things, and inspiring others, so it’s a bit weird receiving it. What he had to say was that he can feel that I’m a positive person who has the ability to lead others in living a similar life. He wanted me to know that I’ve been a good influence, and that he can see my light shining through. I thought this was interesting, because as I said earlier, I haven’t been feeling so confident about myself lately. What this showed me though is that my values and beliefs that are at my core are strong. Despite how I may feel on the inside, on the outside I can can still influence and encourage others to live a positive life. As I think about that, it’s important to glean this key out from everything I’ve said:

“when you embrace who you are, others will see THAT, despite how you may feel about yourself.”

So what you ask? What’s the WIFM (what’s in it for me).

  1. If you’re doing something for someone else, make sure it’s about them. Sure you’ll feel good and get a benefit from helping your friend. However if it becomes too much about your needs, then you’re not serving your friend well. Try to be more about ‘what your friend would like have done to them’ (platinum rule) rather than ‘what would I like have done to me’ (golden rule).
  2. Despite how you may feel on the outside, what’s in your heart is what others actually see. So the good news is that others will see the real you, the bad news is that others will see the real you. Your light will always shine through especially when it’s dark.

I’d love to get some feedback, no seriously I’m asking for it! How will what I said change the way you interact with others. Are there any strategies you’d like to share on how you overcome this obstacle?

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8 thoughts on “If you’re willing to Listen, Life is willing to Teach you

  1. Vince, as usual, a very thoughtful post. It made me stop and think about how pure my intentions are when a friend reaches out, or I invite them to catch up. I hope I’m a good listener, I do try to be. We all shouldn’t just leave it to our moral “auto-correct” to check ourselves, I’m with you on the concept that we need to make a conscious effort to be our best.
    By the way I love what you’ve done with the place!

    • Well first of all thanks for stopping by. There was more that happened this weekend, but it’s for a different audience ;-). I’m glad that I can help prompt you to look at something in your relationships.
      As for the new look, lol I stole some inspiration from your page, and I’m not just saying that because you pointed it out either 😉

  2. I love how introspective this piece is. It makes me think about the fact that even as healers and helpers who genuinely have the good intent of helping others, it still goes back to how it makes us feel to help. If it didn’t feel good would we still reach out? Probably not because “feeling good” is our barometer for how to move around in the world.

    Feeling frustrated when your friend failed to keep the appointment was you being human. We have to give people the space to be who they are. But don’t take it personal because it probably doesn’t have anything to do with you.

    • Couldn’t have said it better. Luckily I did catch myself, even though I was upset, I told her I didn’t want to spend time going back and forth about who’s to blame. Lol after my “I’m an Extroverted Introvert” piece, I remembered that I’m also going through my “I don’t want to be social phase” I did end our conversation by telling her I’m not going to hold it against her, and that it was in the past. You’re right about this piece being introspective, what I wrote were my realizations over the past 2 days. Thanks for stopping by 😀

  3. You were able to witness what you were doing, and as opposed to undermining the situation, you fully embraced and reflected on it. That takes much effort.

    In my experience, I discovered from my errors as well as realizing what others were doing to me, but the intent behind a “good” deed determines the validity of the deed. If you are “assisting” me or I am “assisting” you, but in reality I am assisting me and you are assisting yourself, the deed loses validity. I used to “help” others but underneath that help, it was based on making me appear positive in their eyes.

    I didn’t desire anything tangible in return, but in a way, I was assisting people for them to recognize, “Wow, he is such a nice person.” Verbal exchange is different, but still in the ballpark of desiring physical exchange for one’s good deeds.

    Others may say this is natural, but good deeds should be more about the people we are helping, than about us. It takes a lot to alter this, because the difficultly occurs by removing yourself from the equation. However, during the time I met my wife, I slowly started to alter this. I am learning each day, so the lesson teaches me how to remain committed with the belief system. Even now, I may stumble along the way, but each mistake is a new lesson.

    • As usual, well said. I think it’s interesting that many times our actions are actually geared towards our self preservation. On a sub conscious level we’re thinking, “how can I better myself from this”
      As you pointed out while removing yourself from the equation is the height of self-less acts, getting there isn’t the easiest road. Thank you for your input.

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