Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Discovering a New Skill

"Sometimes you are hard to talk to." This was what a friend told me a couple of months ago. I, like anyone, can be hard to talk to, depending on the circumstances. This has been expressed to me most recently in my work place, also. This has never been a struggle for me, as I understand everyone has off days. Personalities and the social integration of people are so intertwined, if there is no acknowledgment of this interwoven social blanket, anyone can be viewed as unapproachable. Regardless of explaining the sociology of the reasons behind the quote, I have been reminded of this off and on in my life. I am happy to have this little poke in the ribs, to put me in my place, yanking off my high horse and forcing me in front of a mirror to judge myself as stringently as I judge others. In my introspection, I see my weakness and understand the reactions of my friends, peers and coworkers. In addition to recognizing my faults I found that this criticism can be turned 180 degrees. 

Over the past 2 weeks, I have befriended a stranger who is in the midst of a family crisis. Before meeting this woman, I overheard the situation involves the health of her mother. She has become a daily regular of the bar I frequent and is staying in the hotel attached. On one occasion, I sat next to her and we began a conversation. After hours of talking, bending my ear about her situation and the imminent passing of her mother, she and I had become fast friends. I listened, advised, supported, listened more, and was generally just the person with whom she needed to talk.  Now, weeks later, we are still friends at the bar, as her family members arrive, the hotel filling with relations from around North America. Perhaps we became fast friends because of her need to vent and my need for a strong female role model. Regardless, I have realized that I can be easy to talk to and a great listener.

With the passing of my mother, I have been able to pass on my experience with people in similar situations. I respect anyone who can ask for help, as I unfortunately learned early in life, that asking for help means failure. Of course that learned behaviour is so hard to change for me and a character flaw of my personality limiting my personal growth. These most recent occurrences crossing my path have helped me to grow personally. Hopefully, I will learn that asking for help is not a sign of failure. I take pride in my stoic personal representation, and in turn, friends come to me for help. I never look at these friends as failures when they come to me. The question is why, when I need help, do I feel like I have failed? Perhaps the need for help shows people that I am not as strong as I present to world. Is that such a bad thing, showing the world I am human?

Regardless, this new role of supporter and listener has made an impression on me. We'll see what path it takes me down in the future.

Jen McIntyre | Create your badge

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