One of my favorite things about growing up in the country was growing up near the lake. We had family with a lake house, so along with all the things we would do around the farm for fun…trips to the lake were a regular occurrence too.
As a child, I never really understood the purpose of the “no wake” zones. I remember asking my grandfather what that was about as a child. Of course, his answer was to protect the boats and docks. I kind of shrugged and agreed, as that made sense to five year old me. With that information, I went on about my semi happy existence and never thought about it again.
When I took this shot yesterday, I had no idea what I wanted to write about today. I even considered doing something I almost never do and just posting a picture without writing. *gasps* I know! Nobody pass out in disbelief, ok? Well…obviously that didn’t happen. I happened to end up in a conversation today and as we talked, some of what we discussed, at least for me, kind of tired into this picture. Hopefully this will make sense.
A blogger I work with reached out to discuss some things with me. She and I hadn’t talked much before other than occasional business, though I have always admired her work. What I think we both assumed would be about a 10-15 minute conversation ended lasting most of the morning as we discussed not only blogging business, but the conversation turned to other topics as well.
As we kept talking, she suddenly apologized to me and warned me that she didn’t have restrain her thoughts very much before speaking them. I think I kind of shocked her when I was like, “Ok…no problem here. I appreciate the honesty.” At that point, the conversation really kind of took off as we discussed a whole host of issues and shared some laughs. I think with some of the things we have both been dealing with, we needed this kind of conversation.
As we talked, and as we both expressed some fairly strong views in our talk, we also discussed how some people struggle so much to accept feedback, what I think we both believe is constructive criticism and how those people will often slip away into the night from people who challenge them. Neither she nor I could understand that. I mean, obviously I am not perfect in this respect and sometimes the constructive criticism stings. But when someone we consider a friend points out our mistakes or flaws, or tries to prevent us from doing something we may regret, far too many people will think that someone is being mean, unfair or cruel and then think the other person isn’t their friend or doesn’t care about them.
Now keep in mind, I am not talking about moral issues here. Racism, homophobia, sexism, etc…these are moral issues in my book. If you support one of these things, we are going to have a major issue.
But when it comes to things such as someone telling us they hurt us or someone else. When it comes to things like we are making mistakes that are harming our own lives. When it comes to believing that we do everything right and should automatically succeed at things…no one wants to hear it that they have done something wrong. If someone calls you out on your mistake or if someone doesn’t tell you that you are perfect, they get cut off.
There are bad people in the world, plain and simple. If anyone wants to argue that point, I can list a whole host of people from history who have no redeeming qualities. But there are also a lot of good people in the world who just make bad decisions. I know because lord knows I have made PLENTY of bad decisions in my life. What I don’t want around me though, and this other person and I discussed this, is others around me who are afraid to say, “Tiff…you screwed up. Let’s talk about how you could have done it better and how to make it right.” If my friends expect me to automatically approve of every decision they make in life, they are going to be sadly mistaken.
But here’s the other thing to remember, especially with me…
If I take the time to sit down and communicate with you that something you did was wrong or hurt me, it also means I respect you and the relationship we have enough to share those thoughts and feelings with you. It’s not easy for me to do…not because I don’t value the friendship, but because I grew up in an environment that told me I wasn’t allowed to have those feelings. So, with that piece of knowledge…if I communicate to you that I was hurt or offended by something that you said or did, I am saying that I believe you are a good person…who just happened to make a bad decision. If you disagree, we can talk about it. I’m ok with that.
It often feels like too many people expect these “no wake zones” for friendships. It’s like, everything has to be perfect and our friends have to agree with everything we say and do or else they aren’t our friends. It’s like saying when we love someone, we can’t challenge them to be better people. I just can’t grasp that. If I can do better, whether it’s with a skill, hobby, professionally or personally…tell me. We may not always agree…but if we can at least talk about it, we can find some common ground and at least a better understanding of what’s going on in each of our heads.
Look…I may not like being called out on my flaws and mistakes. Anyone who tells you they enjoy that is flat out lying. But it’s important. It’s important for growth. It’s important for the exchange of ideas and developing new perspectives. We all need to be challenged. We all also need to fail at things on occasions. If we know the people we associate with, we can typically tell whether their words are being given out of love or out of some need to prove they are right. When it’s someone who loves you, listen to them. They want to see you be a better version of yourself.
As I said, I may not like everything someone else says or does, but if I care about you…we are going to talk if you make a mistake or can grow in an area. And for my friends, let’s talk about it. Let’s sort it out. Sometimes I wonder if we all hadn’t been filtering our thoughts for so long…maybe things wouldn’t be as bad as they are right now in the world.
So while no wake zones are needed on the water, they have no place in a relationship. And yes…I still need to improve on this myself…but I am working on it.
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Foxcity – Waiting 6m
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