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 I quickly 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. []

2 comments

  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.

  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.

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