LETTING PEOPLE IN...OR NOT


IT CAN MAKE YOU MORE EMPATHETIC -  When you let your guard down to allow things to flow out, you also open the space for things to flow in.   Sharing with someone your struggles can create an environment where they, too, share.   And because we can focus on only one thing at a time, while listening, really, truly listening, we stop thinking about ourselves for a moment.  While in listening mode, we may find that someone close to us has been struggling silently with a troublesome issue of their own, until now.   It may be a time to see them in a different light.  Understand them better.  Talking and actively listening can foster more empathy in all parties involved.  Why is being more empathetic a goal? A person who has developed her ability to be empathetic is the one who is better able to manage her own emotions during conflict.  The ability to step outside of yourself and view a situation from another person’s perspective can help you to exercise better control over your own emotions during a conflict.  Self-management and concern for others.  Imagine if we all were skilled at both?

IT SHOWS AND BUILDS STRENGTH – Allowing yourself to be yourself is easy only when you are mentally strong.   To be strong doesn’t mean that you can’t falter.  Watch an athlete push herself to the limit.  Her muscles twitch, she may take an extra step more than she should, her arms shake, but she holds on until the end.  And if, after she emerges victorious, she tells you how close she came to giving up, how great the pain was that she felt in those last moments, would you respect her any less?  If she confesses that this was the hardest thing that she’s ever done, would you label her as a whining complainer?  Admitting that something is hard, hurts you, confuses you, angers you, is threatening to unravel you, is not weakness.  It is acknowledging what is.  No one is strong all of the time.  So what if you feel broken right now?  Why is that a crime?  This is not a time to judge your responses through this journey.  Expend your energy on getting through it, not on judging how you’re getting through it, or worrying if everyone else approves of how you’re getting through it.   Playing "make believe" is child's play.  Anyone can pretend. Being honest with yourself and others requires mettle.