A response to Joni’s last week's comment lends itself to another side of the importance of connecting.—“Some people place bars on their hearts to protect themselves, unfortunately the person (s) they try to keep out could be their greatest asset in helping to remove those bars on their heart."
The e-mail read in part: “I can say that since I was young I have pushed people away that only wanted the best for me. I chose to cope with life in negative ways and being hard-headed rather than connecting. I try to say that what other people think of me is none of my business but it's difficult. Practicing healthy coping methods helps. Just staying the path each day shows consistency and who I am becoming. Not everyone is going to like me and I am finding that's OK.”
One of the goals of parenting and teaching is connecting with young people who erect bars on their minds and hearts as they resist those who care about them and warn them about poor choices in friendships, activities, and behavior as the e-mailer points out later in life.
The e-mailer acknowledged that everyone is not going to like him and he can live with that. As we have discussed previously, It is true that some people are disliked for what they do or don’t do. A reminder: Feelers want everyone to like them, even the people they don't like. Thinkers care little about who gives them approval; they prefer trust and respect from employers, family and friends.
As discussed in the book, our first assignment for healthy self-esteem is to understand and appreciate our Creator’s design. Remember, there are 16 different personalities. All personalities have their strong points and weaker preferences but all are valuable and wonderful gifts to the world.
For those who are Feelers, one coping method is to accept the fact that everyone will not like how we talk, don’t talk or behave. Another coping method is to acknowledge that we will not enjoy every personality equally, either. Keep in mind that we are not superior to those who are different from us.
In the meantime, straightening up any inappropriate behavior is another important coping method. People like themselves much more when they are thinking good thoughts and doing kind things for others.
Sometimes, we have difficulty finding much to appreciate in others and have to purposely look for inroads into connecting positively with a person who is totally different in order to contribute to his/her self-value and help them build self-confidence. But doing so becomes a marvelous private project that can be done as we are going and coming to work, classes, recreation, shopping, family gatherings, social media, etc.
We aren’t always aware that what we say or do touches others in significant ways. Teachers learn years and years later how what they said or did was actually a turning point in the life of a student.
I challenge readers to look around and find someone who you think may not be enjoying life or appreciating how they’ve been designed. My personal recent encounter involves a single gal who I run into pretty frequently. She rarely smiles, and struggles with hearing loss, so conversation is difficult. One day I noticed her purple hair clip and let her know how pretty I thought it was; purple is my favorite color. Every time since, she flashes a smile and turns around so I can see her clip in place and she inspects whether I’m wearing purple. Then, we converse a bit. But it’s so good to see her smile. A few minutes of connection enhances her sense of value and brings me great joy as well.
I recommend the joys of connecting which involves purposely finding something in everyone that we can appreciate, even admire, and do all we can to encourage others. Another connecting encouragement is learning to be authentic, not trying to mimic another, necessarily. Many people violate themselves by scourging themselves emotionally for not being like those whom they consider superior. All of us can improve how we speak, act and behave. 'The Golden Rule ‘Do unto others as you would have others do to you' can also read 'Say unto to others what you would have others say to you'. Let’s be kind. If you have a bible, the verses in Philippians 4:8-9 state this simply and succinctly.