Back in April, I wrote That ONE Thing You Didn’t Do, which sparked some good debate from both sides, in agreement and against.
After all, who hasn’t known the pain of giving something that was not at all appreciated, and who hasn’t also had people give them things they didn’t want, and say they were ungrateful?
I think we’ve all been in both pairs of shoes.
@UnicornHusbandry said something perfectly in a comment, that I’d like to share and expound upon.
It should be a lot more simple than it is. The issue seems almost childish. But it’s such a common problem in relationships, isn’t it?
What we give to another person, in time, affection or gifts, all indicates who we believe them to be. Do we see them as our property? Do we see them as our student or child who must be instructed? Do we see them as our parent who must offer us unlimited support and affection?
For example, big-scary-thing-in-life happens. How do you treat your partner?
- Command them in what to do? (property)
- Give them ideas and suggestions and teach them? (student or child)
- Cower behind them and expect them to save us? (parent)
- Offer support and say, “I know you’ve got this, and I’m here, always, if you need or want anything.” (capable adult)
How we engage with others communicates clearly how we view them.
I wrote this in 2014: How Do I Say…?
It still guides my relationship with my Pet every moment.
It still guides me in my relationships throughout my life.
It’s a reminder that showing appreciation for those around me is not a once in a while thing, but an ongoing series of actions from now until the end of time.
Which written out like that, seems pretty heavy.
Like those ads that we see around Christmas about not getting a puppy as a present. A relationship may be a lifetime commitment—every moment of every day.
Of course, there are many relationships: friends, lovers, children, bosses, coworkers.
And we communicate with all of them with our actions.
And when we act unthinkingly with those around us, we communicate that we are not thinking of them.
When we treat people as we see them…
We may be communicating that we see them more clearly than anyone—or that we don’t see them at all.
Sure, there are days when I am distracted, and I don’t pay the people around me as much attention as they may want.
However, over time, my people know I’m here for them, in nearly anything, from needing an ear for a rant, to being the place they flee to when their latest relationship ends and they have no place to live that isn’t full of broken hearts.
And that’s what I want to communicate to them. So, I make sure I AM there for them, because that’s the best way to make that clear.
Seems simple, right?
Then why do we so often get it wrong?