Sunday, June 21, 2015

Mutual Appreciation

Some people are wordy people. For example, I am clearly a word person. I like to use language in a variety of  formats to express myself. I'm the girl who writes cards and letters and long, grammatically correct texts and ... oh yeah, a blog. I like words.

Some people are not wordy people. Some people are action-oriented. They will do rather than say.

For the record? These are both valid ways of being.  One is not better than the other.

Let me just say that again, in case you missed it:

One is not better than the other.

Oh, but we like to think one is preferable, don't we? If you're a word person, you believe that words are the pinnacle of expression. If you're an action person, you don't understand why some people can't appreciate or see a gesture and understand what is expresses.

I see this a lot in the relationships around me and find that it is the source of a boatload of frustration; people failing to hear -- or see -- what a friend/ family member/ partner/ coworker / whatever is expressing to them because the mode of communication is not the one that s/he primarily uses.

As an example, let's look at apologies.

Word people will apologize with words. All of the words. They will say it. They will write it. They may sing it. They will tell you, in no uncertain terms, that they are sorry, so very very sorry, and will do their best to try not to do whatever the thing was ever again. EVER.

Word people think other people should apologize this way, and if someone doesn't apologize to them in this fashion, they're usually (mostly) convinced that the other person is not sorry, not even a little, and is in fact a colossal jerk.

Action people? Don't usually get what all of the fuss is about. They might not verbally apologize. Instead, they will demonstrate their regret about what happened through gestures -- some big, some small, but clearly there. The verbal apology is not what's important to them, but showing that they're sorry is; because of that, they don't necessarily enjoy a word-based apology. They want to see something happening that shows you're sorry and, if they don't get that? They're usually (mostly) convinced that the other person is not sorry, not even a little, and is in fact a colossal jerk.

The problem isn't that the world is full of colossal jerks. The problem is that so few of us take the time to appreciate each other. The problem is that we get so hung up on our way of doing things -- what we think of as the "right" way -- that we can't see past being right to see -- or hear -- the way the people in our lives are expressing themselves and appreciate it.

And it's important. It's important to understand that there are a million -- a zillion! -- ways to tell someone you love them, or that you're sorry, or that you're angry, or proud, or whatever you are, and that no one way is the correct way. Yes, if you're a word-oriented person, it's great to hear that someone loves you,  but it's also really amazing to see it in action.

Ideally? We'd all back up all of our words with actions and our actions with words. However, that's not how most of us are wired.  There are a lot of people who can't say what they feel, but they can show it.

We need to appreciate each other more, I think. All of us. In each and every way we can express ourselves.

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