So You Think You Know

“It is by teaching that we teach ourselves, by relating that we observe, by affirming that we examine, by showing that we look, by writing that we think, by pumping that we draw water into the well.“
–Henri Frederic Amiel

We all need one to one contact with others. It doesn’t matter what personality type, what you do for a living, or what your level of intimacy with others is, we all need that personalized touch. Yes, even me, who at times seems so self-sufficient (and by the way, it’s people like me that need the nurturing more than most!).

Ok, I’ll admit it, I love to hug. There is something about that physical exchange of energy that satiates a need from deep inside of me. I don’t want to get all philosophical and say it’s because my mother didn’t coddle me enough or that I blah blah blah. No, I just want to leave it that simple: to feel nurtured and loved, I need hugs, and lots of them, frequently.

I realized this week that this one to one personal connection satisfies a need for feeling heard, of worth, and important. This intimacy, whether it’s physical from a hug, or emotional by sharing parts of one’s own personal journey, removes the barriers that are so easy to put up between myself and others. And helps to quell the fear that I might make a bad decision for not having the best judgment on trusting one of my reps in the field.

After having some difficult conversations with one of my reps as we transition to new leadership, I found that spending a few days walking side by side into client’s offices, braving the fierce cold and slippery sidewalks, there was a newfound understanding of each other and empathy for the other person. Once we personalized ourselves to each other, the conversations came easier, and a level of respect and appreciation for what the other does was reached.

So I started to think about all the times that it has been easier to dismiss another out of hand without learning more about them, the situation, or their plight. It’s easier to walk by a homeless person if you don’t give them a name, or see them as another human being, a child of God. No, it’s easier to remain distant if you dehumanize them. And I’m embarrased to say, that’s exactly what I can do with my co-workers, leading to a non-sympathetic response from me at times.

Just for today I will spend the extra time to listen, and learn from my fellows, holding off judgment.

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