Really Get to Know Someone.
As you might already know from prior posts, I’m striving to be a better communicator, and in the way my life seems to work, the very words I needed to hear showed up in a chapter I read last night before I fell asleep. The book I’m reading––one of the three I go in between––is called the Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer, and the line that struck me was “when you don’t need anything from anyone, you have the chance to really know them.”
I woke the next morning with those simple words knocking around in my head. My first instinct was to assume that the statement warned not to just pursue relationships that can help you get where you’re going, or that help further a cause. Reasonable enough, I told myself and made note to check and be sure that the friends and acquaintances I keep, weren’t for the sole purpose of furthering my own agendas. After taking careful inventory, I decided that wasn’t the case and considered there must be some other meaning in those powerful words. A message that wasn’t so much on the surface, but deeper. So I brewed a cup of tea, sat in my writing space, turned on the fireplace, took a few deep breaths and asked the question: How does this information relate to me at this time and space? Then I sat. And sat, and when I drained the last drip of green tea from my cup, I figured there was nothing more to what I considered was a layered message. I got up and was about to get on with the day, when a curious notion danced across my synapses. What if the need referred to in the book wasn’t material? Meaning it had nothing to do with favors, donating, networking or making work connections. What if the intent of the statement referred to an internal need? The need to be accepted. To impress others. Or connect. Acts or rituals we go through to fill holes that we have inside. For example, perhaps we go over the top in some way, dress up really nice in order to fit in to a moment or get compliments, or hyper prepare for work or sports not just to be competent, but to impress the others in our pack. All in the spirit of receiving accolades or reassuring feedback. Although at first glance, these simple acts seem irrelevant. But like the book suggested, consider if you are approaching situations expecting or wanting some sort of reaction? With this in mind, I asked myself were there times I walked away from social situations feeling unsteady, disappointed, judging or irritated? If so, then I knew I was heading down the wrong track. A litmus test, if you will, to see if I was unconsciously behaving in ways in order to get something in return.
I realize installing this pause button is tricky and time consuming because before you do anything you have to stop and take a moment to get real and ask, what’s the motivation behind what I’m about to do? Are my actions in the spirit of learning and connecting and sharing experiences on the planet? Or am I acting so that I can…fit in, be the best, the most, get ahead or attract attention? If the truth is the latter, than perhaps its worth further self investigation. Before long, this way of thinking becomes automatic, and when I take a beat to realize what my motivations are or question the message tape running in my head, most times I laugh. When I crack up, whatever angst I feel vibrates away and I can relax, creating a safe place to look at myself without judgement, and figure out how to get what I need before bringing others into the mix. In other words, I fill my own holes and become balanced.
Then, something really cool happens. When I meet friends, acquaintances, and business associates, I’m full and complete. Open and centered, which allows me to learn things about these individuals that, in the past, I’ve somehow missed––even people I’ve known for years. I receive the gift of understanding friends and family better, the opportunity to gain insight into how to support them, and in business, a sense of heightened awareness that allows me to easily assess if we are a good professional match. Invaluable information and, if I’m being honest, dynamics I’ve struggled with and burned energy over in the past.
So the Untethered Soul’s information was, for me, tested true. All I had to do was pause and ask the deeper questions. “When you don’t need anything from anyone you get the gift of really knowing them.” And as a friend once told me, “There’s always another thing you don’t know about someone.”
E.L Chappel author of Spirit Dance/Storm Makers/Risk
Eyes, ears and heart open. Searching for guidance wherever I can find it.
aka The Glamorous Wife