From that point I take off with an elaborate story complete with facial expressions and hand gestures. [Big sigh and shaking my head] No. I'm not dramatic in the least.
In the past, I thought it was helpful for the other person to know she isn't alone. Problems, fears, you name it, happen to all of us. But, am I competing with the other person when I throw 'been there, done that, survived' into the ring of discussion and make it about me?
I'm not saying relating to a person by saying, "it happened to me" isn't helpful. But, I believe there is a time and place for it.
I'm reading a great book by author Emily P. Freeman entitled Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World. It is one of those books in which you've highlighted a tremendous amount of sentences and/or paragraphs it has you wonder if you should own stock in the yellow highlighter company! I come from a long line of "you do not write or highlight in a book...books are for reading". So, to say I have actually colored most of my book...well, the struggle is real.
As I was innocently reading chapter 7, I began to feel conviction in my soul. It is a chapter of connection and competition and a mention of the dreaded people-pleaser. [dun-dun-dunnnn] Hi. I'm Deanna and I'm a people-pleaser. [sigh] As the author so aptly wrote, "It's an issue of safety and control [ouch], which is a subtle form of competition, the enemy of connection [double ouch]."
When I turn the conversation to me, even though I think I'm helping, I really begin to take away her safety in our communication. I steer away from her and point to me. "...people need our with-ness" not me trying to think of what to say next to make her feel better. Counselor, I am not. Fixer, sometimes...okay most of the time...people just want someone to hear them not fix them. Did you hear me? Really hear them. And, when we really hear them, "we need not compete, we need only to connect".
Am I practicing what I've just confessed? I'm trying. Really trying. When I revert back to my old ways, I'm much more aware. It gives me permission to be. To hear.
When is the last time you've sat still for five minutes and just breathed? Yeah, I can't remember either.
Psst...come close. Inhale and release. Felt good, huh. Go on - sit, breathe, and be okay in your smallness.
More about Simply Tuesday:
Emily's book is about so much more. I highly, highly, highly [have I convinced you to read it yet?] recommend Simply Tuesday. You'll look at our "church-y" words in a brand new way...and hopefully stop using some of them. You'll see it's okay to be small in a world full of voices shouting one needs to be big in power or fame to make a difference. Pssst...you can make a huge difference in the lives around you by just being you.
So, basically...go buy it already!!
(Silly legal stuff: I received an Advanced Readers Copy and am part of Emily's launch team. I was only asked to give an honest review and help promote the book.)