POD #21: The glove of indirectness
I sometimes make assumptions, probably more than I should. If I don’t understand something I don’t have a problem directly asking questions until I do understand. However, if something is said that could just be misinterpreted, I might not ask for clarification. Not because I can’t, but because I assume I might not like the answer, I might not want the true interpretation because it might hurt more than what I heard.
I could make an assumption that they meant to hurt me, which creates a distance in our relationship. If I am hurt, I might withdraw and then they might not try to see what is wrong. So the distance grows. One punch in our relationship might not cause me to fall. However, with enough misunderstandings that are never cleared, I’m down for the count and then the relationship might end prematurely – all because of what could be a misunderstanding.
Instead, I have another Jackie-ism that I use when I have interpreted something someone close to me or important to me says that I receive with hurt feelings. I ask myself “What is their heart towards me?”
See people who are not important to me, they don’t have a heart towards me, I can shrug off what they say with “If it had been anyone else.” However, if they are important to me, I know that their words have power. So instead, I look at what they would mean to impart into my life so I can see what they are saying in light of constructive criticism instead of hurtful banter. I can again decide if it is something that I need to work on in myself, allow God to work in through me, or if they are speaking out of their own situation at that moment.
If I know their heart towards me is good, I will eventually discuss with them what was said. I generally wait because if I’m hurt, my lion personality will come out and I will directly cause more pain in our relationship than they ever meant to. Plus that gives me time to do the soul-searching on the truth behind what was said. Then I can come back to them with “Man that hurt me when you said…” or “Man, what you said the other day really gave me pause. Thank you for caring enough about me to bring that to me. I realized I really needed to work in that area, nd here is what I was thinking….”
What I am not good at directly communicating, is my needs. First and foremost, it is hard to me ask because I generally don’t know what I need. My life is content. But, on the occasions when I do find myself in need, I really do have to work up courage to ask. Usually I remind myself “You have not, because you ask not.” and “The worst thing that can happen is they say no – and you’ll be no different from now. But they could say yes.”
Sometimes I assume others know what I want. I especially do that with those close to me. I think that they should know me well enough to know I want presence over presents. I prefer service over material things. I want quality time together over quantity of time. These are things I believe that people close to me should know. When they fail to live up to my expectations, then I remind myself I am not a mind reader, and others probably are not either. If I get upset enough by those needs getting met, then I will ask for time or share how I feel. However, even then I wait a bit because again, when I’m hurt that lion personality comes out and every negative trait about it surfaces.