Making Time for Relationships

I am such a task-oriented person, it’s not even funny. Especially not to the wonderful people in my life who sometimes have to jump up and down with their hands in the air for me to notice that I’ve been neglecting them (sorry hubby and munchkins!). But I was reminded today (thanks, E, for asking me to breakfast!) of the importance of making time for people. Because there are certain things you can only learn in a relationship, such as …

~ listening to others

~ being vulnerable and open with others

~ bearing with each other when dealing with different personalities/preferences

~ supporting someone through the hard times

~ giving your time, energy and heart to someone else

~ receiving feedback from others

~ and so much more!

If you didn’t notice, there’s a theme to the list above, namely the use of the words “others” and “someone”. Moreover, if you’ve lived for any amount of time on this earth, you’ll agree that we were born into relationships and we cannot survive without them.

Sometimes though the relationships we have in our families or with friends or colleagues are not the most healthy ones. Sometimes they’re just plain hurtful and damaging. But the good thing is that there are other healthy, supportive, and reliable people out there in the world who know how to love you more wholly and healthily. And there’s hope to be found in those relationships.

God didn’t mean for man to be alone—and as much as I’d like to think that only applies to the male species, I know us gals need relationships, too. 😉

So, let’s make time for the people in our lives who need us and whom we need as well. To-do lists and deadlines can wait, but love cannot.

Two of my favorite people in the world. :D (Look how tall they're getting!)

Two of my favorite people who have made me more relationship-oriented. 😀 (Look how tall they’re getting!)

Here’s a fun song about relationships, Paul McCartney’s “Got to Get You Into My Life”.

Who are your favorite people? 🙂

You Don’t Listen!

lis ten

 1. to pay attention to sound <listen to music>

2. to hear something with thoughtful attention: give consideration <listen to a plea>

3. to be alert to catch an expected sound <listen for his step>

 

“You don’t listen!”

One minute my dear friend/college roommate had been trying to give me pointers on how to cook and the next minute she had turned and walked out of the kitchen.

I continued pushing the rice cakes around on the frying pan with a spatula the only way (and best way, in my opinion) that I knew how and let out a deep breath.

Me, don’t listen? I wondered. Okay, I admit I could have tried flipping the rice cakes the way she had suggested, but why would I want to do that? I had been fine all my life doing things the way I wanted to do them, why change now?

Yes, I was a stubborn one. And yes, my friend was right.

For someone who prides herself on having good listening skills (that’s part of the reason I wanted to become a counselor), the truth is this: I don’t listen very well. Not in the sense that I don’t hear what people tell me about themselves (I could listen to people’s stories all day long), but in the sense that I don’t take into consideration the things they say about me. When it comes to hearing about my shortcomings and the areas in which I could improve upon, my ears are quick to close up shop and put up a “Do Not Disturb” sign.

Image courtesy of photostock/freedigitalphotos.net

The incident with my friend happened over fifteen years ago and I still think about it today. Back then I was shocked and taken aback at her admonishment; now I just shake my head and cringe when I think about how impossible I must have been – all because of a spatula!

I could blame my poor listening skills on a decade of “only child syndrome” or on my controlling tendencies; either way, there really is no good excuse for being so hard headed.

What I’ve learned since then is that God gave us two ears for a reason. Listening is important. Heeding other people’s advice is crucial. Receiving input is necessary for personal growth.

For much of my life I lived based on my own (limited) perception of reality. Then I met some trustworthy friends and learned other people have good opinions, too. Then I met hubby and endured an ultimate boot camp in keeping my ears (and heart) receptive to another person on a daily basis. It’s required a lot of humbling on my part – and a lot of patience on my friends’ and hubby’s parts! – but it’s been worth it. I think it’s safe to say my ears take fewer siestas these days than they used to. 🙂

I decided to put my listening skills to the test recently by joining an online writer’s critique group. I really hesitated at first to put my work (and my fragile ego) out there, but decided that if I want to become a better writer, I need to get feedback. The first time I submitted an essay to the group, it took me half a day to get the courage to read the emails I received back. Thankfully, the ladies are all very gracious and encouraging in their critiques, which makes my part as a listener so much easier. I know they have my best intentions in mind when they correct my grammar and suggest ways I can use stronger verbs to bring a story to life. I now look forward to sharing my work with them and reading their feedback because what they say makes a positive impact on my writing.

I’m proof that stubborn people can change and that we all need a little help from our friends!

Here’s the perfect song for this post – “With a Little Help From My Friends” – sung here by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

What makes it easier for you to swallow other people’s feedback?