Saturday at the Farmer’s Market I watched a four-year-old girl anxiously and tearfully come up to her mother and reveal her freshly scraped elbow. The skin was raw and bloody, the kind of owie that an adult would simply shrug off. Without saying a word, the girl wrapped her arms around her mom.
That little girl was hurting and she needed a hug and all that Mom’s hug means to her. She unashamedly shared her pain with someone she knew would comfort her, and she got what she needed: unconditional love, acceptance and acknowledgement.
While the hurts of your adult friends are far more significant and longer lasting than that little scrape, if you want to have great relationships with them, you must have those three items — unconditional love, acceptance and acknowledgement, and be willing to share them abundantly.
Give Them What They Need
In just a few minutes, her mother showed she accepted her daughter’s assessment of her own needs as true, and acknowledged both the situation and her needs. She:
- Focused all of her attention on her daughter and communicated face to face.
- Inspected the boo-boo.
- Acknowledged that it hurt.
- Told her daughter she was sorry that it happened.
- Gave her a big hug, and held her for a few more seconds.
She showed her unconditional love for her daughter with those simple steps to acknowledge the situation through her daughter’s eyes and accept her daughter’s experience and understanding of the event.
Don’t Give Them Junk
What the mom did was as important as what she did not do.
Just imagine if she had:
- Told her the scratch was nothing and dismissed her pain as insignificant.
- Ignored her daughter’s obvious need for comfort.
- Compared her daughter’s boo-boo to some experience of her own.
Adults do precisely those negative and unhelpful things to each other when they mean to comfort one another.
The truth is, your willingness to show comfort through acceptance, acknowledgement and unconditional love is the key to building strong relationships that last through thick and thin.
When you can acknowledge and accept the bad in others’ lives for what it means to them, and can listen to them speak about their difficult issues, you are then able to truly relate to them. That’s when you begin to experience a profound change in the quality of your relationships. In time you begin to know them for who they really are, your friendship means more to them, and your relationships become more meaningful to you.
Life Is Honest, Open and True: When you can acknowledge and accept others’ experiences in accordance with how they see them, not as how you wish they would see them, you are being honest, open and true in your relationship with them.
Have you given honest and open support to someone in need? How did you feel afterwards? What happened to your relationship because of it? Tell me about it in the comment box below.
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