Wednesday, January 30, 2013

You Can't Intrude On an Open Door

I've got a bone to pick.  A warm fuzzy bone of love.

When asking for help or advice, I've had family and friends tell me that they don't want to intrude on my decisions.  The decision to stay in Japan or move back to the US is huge for me!!  And it's not a decision just for me;  It's for Knox, for my family in the USA, for my finances, for the future of me and Knox and my family.  I mean, people ask around the table what each other are ordering for dinner.  People don't even want to choose chicken or salad on their own.  People want help, inspiration, encouragement, warnings, other perspectives, support, and advice.  My friends and family aren't just people that are nice to have around.  I need them.  

So, I really want to know when I ask, "What do you think?"  I want to know what you think.  I'm not the kind of person who just wants to hear what I want to hear.  I want the truth for you.  The truth for you might not be the truth for me, but I still want to hear it.  You are my friend or a member of my family and I'm pretty sure that whatever you have to say, you have a good point, a point that I should consider.

When someone says something like that, like, "I don't want to intrude," it makes me sad.  Why do you think you are intruding when I have invited you to participate in my decision making process?  People need each other to work things out.  Otherwise, we would all be more content with being alone.  We seek others to share love and joy because it enhances the benefits, and we seek others to share pain because it spreads out the pain and we are comforted, and we seek others to sort out difficult questions.  In school and work, we are encouraged to communicate and ask for help.  Of course we are capable of doing things on our own, but people are always asking other for suggestions, referrals, examples, and second opinions.  There's not much that any of us really want to do on our own, especially not the really hard stuff.

I need my friends and family.  I need their help.  I want their insights.  Just as people are happy to join in the celebration of a wedding or a birthday, I hope they would show just as much support and guidance, just as many hugs and reassurances if not more, in times of difficulty or sadness.  Just as sometimes I need to be told that I'm doing a good job, that I'm moving in the right direction, I sometimes need to be told that I'm wrong and that I need to look again, and I hope the friends who loved me enough to lift me up also love me enough to make me pause when I'm on the wrong course.

It has seemed lately as though the crowd of family and friends willing to show support thins dramatically when times get tough.  

I don't know where I'm going with this.  I guess I just mean to say...  don't turn your back on family or a friend because the question is hard.  Don't fail to give the advice you believe in because you fear making the person mad or upset.  Don't lie to save feelings:  Learning that my good feelings are based on a lie hurts more than the original truth.  Learning that some advice I got was watered down and sugar-coated makes everything that happened since then a confounded mess, and once the mess is made, it's very hard to clean up. 

I am reminded of Pooh-san, who shares everything with Piglet.  They play together, share honey and haycorn muffins, and have lots of fun.  On a very windy day, when Roo wanted to take his new sailboat to the river and Tigger wanted to fly a kite, Pooh stayed with Piglet and helped him clean up all the leaves that had blown into his house.  In deeds and words, we need our friends and family in good times and dull times, times of smiles and times of tears.  You don't get one without the other.  

That being said, my mom and my best friends usually come out with it in the end.  Good or bad, they tell me the truth, and that's why I love them most of all.  

From Japan,
Tiffany


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