May 21, 2010

ten things for ten people who won't listen

Maybe you've seen it on a Facebook - a challenge to write ten things you haven't said to ten people (without mentioning their names).

Only... this is a difficult challenge for me since I tend to already be intentional and real in my relationships.  This means means I've probably already said it, even if not everyone wanted to respond to such conversation.

Some people in your life that you really want to work things out with will pretend like they can't hear you; or when you ask someone to take a step forward in the friendship, they may seem to want to keep it surface level; other times you may try to help someone see a blind spot, but they'd rather not see it at all.

So my hurdle isn't in saying it, but in having the people I say it to actually listen.  As a way to offload some of that frustration bottled up, I'm sharing it here and keeping the names anonymous... no need to turn this into a rant of gossip. But in sharing it I want you to understand a slice of my life that I can't seem to overcome, no matter how productive I attempt to be with others.

And by the way... I'm not giving up, even if the people I'm writing to seem to have for now.  While I can't control their response, I can control my initiative. 

Here is my list::
  • "Please... stop hinting. Just say it.  If you need something, say it once in an upfront way instead of 10 times a tenth of the way.  A lot of people around you would respond if you wouldn't dance around your needs or desires but simply and clearly ask."

  • "Seriously, what happened? One day we were friends, and then suddenly you stopped returning my phone calls and emails, and are all aloof like nothing changed. Um... I don't get it.  You do remember we did hang out, and now we surprisingly don't, right? I'm okay if you don't want to hang out anymore, but please - show some maturity and have a conversation about it."

  • "You have some great thoughts to share with the world, but the way you're doing it is preventing anyone from giving you any credibility.  And instead of seeing that and changing that, you seem to want to just turn up the volume.  I want to help you with this."

  • "I can't do this alone.  Please don't assume I can.  It's way too important."

  • "I need you to ask me how I'm doing in this area I want to grow in.  Will you do that?"

  • "It breaks my heart that you have settled into a life that looks amazing from the outside but is full of gaps on the inside.  You have such a shield up, and while you may lower it at times you never do move it aside.  And you really are missing out on how much larger life is, but the shine of your stuff and household activity keeps you from paying attention."

  • "I know what's really going on, and I know you'd like me to pretend that I don't.  So we can either play this game or we can admit that something is going on and start talking about what's next."

  • "It's time... time for you to step up... time for you to lead those around you instead of letting them lead you. If you did this, and didn't give up, what would happen out of your life would be nothing short of amazing for everyone.  But in the meantime... it isn't."

  • "You know that forgiveness you want when you hurt people on purpose or on accident?  You need to give that, especially to ______________.  I know you don't want to, because you think it's more productive to hold on to your pain.  But if you don't let that pain go it's going to poison you with bitterness and blindness.  Forgiving doesn't mean forgetting - it means that what happened doesn't have to have the final say.  Don't let your pain define you... let it refine you."

  • "No. You're wrong."

Admittedly, I kind of laughed writing that last one because it's offensive in our world to say that.  We've gotten so used to everyone having an opinion that words like "right" and "wrong" have become discarded or redefined.  We say, "Let's agree to disagree" instead of "Let's agree to figure out what truly is right and wrong and be sure we both respond to that, even if it's uncomfortable."

Anyway... thanks for letting me share.  Like I said earlier, there is nothing subversive about this statements - if I needed to share it with you, you've already heard me say it.  If something resonated here, maybe it was the first time you've "caught" what I meant - or maybe it wasn't intended for you at all but what I wrote to someone else could be used as a tool in your life. 

But I did write it because... well... what if someone hasn't shared with you yet the things on their heart?

And if they did... would you respond or withdraw?

Interact or avoid? 

Grow forward or regress backward?

If we have something to work on together, let's work on it.
"Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses." (Proverbs 27:6)

1 comment:

deb said...

i liked the forgivness one. I dealt with that this weekend. i was so busy over the years, not forgiving others for the wrongs they had done to me in relationships, and then i had to own up to being hurtful and wrong to someone i loved in a relationship 30 years ago. it came full circle yesterday, and he told me he knew it was wrong, but that he never blamed me, just didn't understand why i had done it. That broke me. i understand how God's forgiveness works, when we least deserve it, he gives us that gift anyway. i had pretended all those years i had never hurt him, but in my heart i knew i had. we had an open and authentic conversation, apologized, and have now put it in the past. and you had a part in this moment, i think, because i remember something you said to me quite awhile ago. i did hear, it just took me awhile to digest it, and live it.