Truth be told, when I outlined this post about a month ago I had a slightly different lead in mind. I was going to talk about how we all want deeper connections, we all want what’s important to us to matter to everyone else. But I reject the idea that everyone can be categorized this way. Not everyone wants the same things out of their relationships.
I want to be understood by my people. I do not necessarily need them to agree; just make an effort to understand why something is important to me. This is my priority yet I understand others are different. Example: My mom is cut from a different cloth than me; we have different personalities; we have different desires. Where I want to be noticed and understood to foster community, she is happy to be in the background as a lone wolf.
I addressed my last post to people who are like me, who want their people to encourage and support them and simply try to understand something foreign to them. Likewise, this post is for you. We are not the same as everyone else, and what we want is not going to be the same as everyone else.
We want to be noticed. Not the surface stuff. With us, everything goes past the skin. It is more important our people notice a mark on our hearts rather than a new pimple on our foreheads. We want not only our jobs, hobbies, opinions, beliefs to be noticed; we want the reasons why behind those jobs, hobbies, opinions, beliefs to be noticed.
We want to be noticed. Not the surface stuff. With us, everything goes past the skin.
I have stated before that often the only thing my thoughts revolve around are relationships. Whether what I am working on at any point in time is focused on relationships or not, something I am seeing or hearing or noticing is relating back to relationships. I will admit not all of my relationships have been successful. I have had heartbreaks, I have had seasons of frustration and losing desire to put forth effort. But both the successes and the failures have taught me lessons I would not have otherwise learned.
Those lessons I will now state—
- I have learned that you must first notice things about yourself if you want someone else to notice them. What special things about yourself do you enjoy, do you appreciate, do you value? For example: If you are a kind person, people should be able to see that in the way you treat others. And if you value that trait, then others should be able to value it as well.
While I want my whole personality and all my traits to be noticed by people who matter—for the sake of giving a full picture of myself—there are some I want noticed more than others.
Above all, I want my sincerity, kindness, determination, adaptability and love to be noticed. If I am being honest I also want my humor to show as well. In order to make these things noticeable to other people, I have to be willing to put them on display without allowing fear a foothold. But how can I do it in a way that feels natural, not forced, not awkward? Because trust me when I say I have my awkward moments, and I cringe for weeks afterward.
I have found an answer for myself. It makes the difference in showcasing who I am. I have to work hard at it every day. Somedays are much easier than others. Other days I go to sleep feeling defeated. But I keep pushing.
- Here is my answer: I have to maintain the truth in my own head and heart that tells me, in this moment, I am exactly who God created me to be. When my confidence is founded on my identity being in Christ, I can actually feel my sincerity making a difference, my joy and humor being appreciated, because it’s making a personal connection with me. It matters to me. I appreciate those things.
Sometimes all I feel is frustration with myself, thinking I am an inconvenience of some kind to another. This does nothing but hold me back. I do not want to be held back; I want to move forward, always. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am loving and kind and considerate, and for the first time in my life I am secure because I know that is who God made me to be—everyone else’s feelings on the matter are inconsequential.
Now that I notice these lessons and learned these things about myself, and you hopefully have begun to notice your own special things, how can we become more proficient in observing special things in another?
Most people want what they give to be reciprocated. If you notice things about yourself that you want others to notice, there is a vice versa paradigm occurring.
What can we notice about others that will reveal their God-given gifts? What noticeable peculiarities can lead to deeper relationships? I work on my relationships using the following four points:
- Look and be willing to patiently dig to find their characteristics. Not everyone is generous right off the bat. It takes time to show that. Be patient.
- Seek and try to find complementary interests and experiences with another person. If you enjoy discussing culture, find people who also enjoy it.
- Ask questions about and observe someone else’s needs. It will reveal much more about their needs than you initially think.
- Last, observe their existing relationships. You learn a great amount about people by noticing who they maintain and pursue relationships with.
Without a doubt, we want to be noticed, but we also want to notice others. And the best way to do this is by knowing who we are in Christ. As you bookend your day with your relationships, you must know who you are and who God created you to be. When you work every single day to build your confidence and your knowledge on who He is and all He does, it makes everything else in your life—especially your relationships—align with His love and His purpose and His will.
Pursue Him, and in pursuing Him, don’t forget to pursue others. You were created to be in relationships, so cultivate them fearlessly.