can we speak in flowers?

Tiana recent­ly shared this great arti­cle with me. It’s writ­ten as a guide for per­son­al growth with­in one’s rela­tion­ships, but I find myself well famil­iar with the con­cepts it cov­ers; being account­able, empa­thet­ic, grate­ful, intro­spec­tive, and respon­si­ble are all things that tend to come nat­u­ral­ly to me. I’ve also been active­ly work­ing on (or strug­gling with) being more patient, for­giv­ing, resilient, autonomous, and opti­mistic in the last few years1.

Instead, I use this check­list as a reminder of the qual­i­ties I should be seek­ing in oth­ers. If I’m going to invest any of myself into some­one else — whether that’s time, ener­gy, or feel­ings — they should have a gen­er­al com­pre­hen­sion, if not a cer­tain lev­el of com­pe­ten­cy, in all these areas. I’m no longer in a place to teach some­one how to be hon­est about their emo­tions, take respon­si­bil­i­ty for their actions, or lis­ten with intent.

It’s dif­fi­cult to let go of this basic expec­ta­tion when I’ve already done a fair amount of work on myself to under­stand and prac­tice these ideas. Spending time with any­one who reminds me of the per­son I used to be makes me feel like I’m regress­ing, and it does­n’t take long before I lose inter­est in their com­pa­ny. At this point, I’m doing every­thing I can to move for­ward, and that means being involved with peo­ple who are already good at rela­tion­ships2. It’s so much eas­i­er for me to let down my guard and give myself whol­ly to some­one when I have a mutu­al foun­da­tion to work with.

  1. Others may have the abil­i­ty to devel­op such skills by them­selves, while I need the guid­ance of a ther­a­pist, as some of my trau­ma is too severe for me to view cer­tain sit­u­a­tions clear­ly. []
  2. Something that gen­er­al­ly requires a fair amount of intel­li­gence, insight, matu­ri­ty, depth, and ambi­tion. I used to won­der why I felt strong con­nec­tions with cer­tain peo­ple until I real­ized this. []


  1. ” I’m no longer in a place to teach some­one how to be hon­est about their emo­tions, take respon­si­bil­ity for their actions, or lis­ten with intent.”

    I often feel this way, maybe about dif­fer­ent spe­cif­ic things. It’s tough because I also feel a respon­si­bil­i­ty to share my knowl­edge to help oth­ers grow. But it can be so drain­ing. Finding the right bal­ance has been hard for me, but I think it has been because I’ve been unclear on my bound­aries. I don’t need to alter­nate between all or noth­ing, but pin­ning down that nuance is chal­leng­ing.

    • You’re right, it’s not a com­plete­ly bina­ry issue, and I occa­sion­al­ly find myself want­i­ng to be a resource for the right per­son. But, I’ve also had too many painful expe­ri­ences when try­ing to com­mu­ni­cate and work with some­one who’s active­ly hurt­ing me, while they refuse to believe they’re doing any­thing wrong. I’m no longer in a place to find that bal­ance or nuance; that’s why I admire your patience and will­ing­ness to deal with dif­fi­cult peo­ple.

  2. Tiana is such a true friend. I envy you for havng such friends.

    These guides in the arti­cle are great, and good com­mon sense orga­nized. The thing is every con­cept (and maybe every word) is sub­ject to inter­pre­ta­tion. When two politi­cians fight against each oth­er they both believe they are act­ing patri­ot­i­cal­ly, that’s becuase they have dif­fer­ent inter­pre­ta­tions of patri­o­tism. How one inter­prets things is a result of one’s char­ac­ter and back­ground. I’ve seen intel­li­gent, well-edu­cat­ed peo­ple believ­ing in absurd things.

    • None of the peo­ple in my life are a coin­ci­dence; they’re all care­ful­ly cul­ti­vat­ed. :)

      I’m still con­stant­ly sur­prised at how two peo­ple can view the same sit­u­a­tion com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent­ly. One of the rea­sons I keep com­ing back to this arti­cle is cause it helps me reduce those kinds of mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tions and dis­con­nects. It may not be pos­si­ble to per­fect­ly in tune with anoth­er per­son at all times, but it’s def­i­nite­ly pos­si­ble to get bet­ter at it.

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