Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Concerning Relationships

Why do we as women tend to be so hard on each other? We are, all too often, quick to judge one another. We sometimes assume we know and understand situations even when it's only from observation or from second or third hand information. We criticize other women - some that we don't even know. We give unsolicited but pointed advice. I just don't get it and yet, I'm guilty of all of the above.

How much better would it be for us to encourage, support, and love one another? Wouldn't it be better to share our burdens without fear of being gossiped about or fear of being judged as a failure? If we truly considered the feelings and needs of others, if we more carefully chose our words, if we made a point of not being critical, I believe relationships would be strengthened and deepened. I believe that it would better enable us to demonstrate true concern for the well-being of a person or family and to offer advice or correction when necessary in others' lives.

It seems that we often try to build ourselves up by tearing others down. How sad. And I think that the online world makes it all the easier to tear one another down - it's so easy to say something hurtful or uninformed in a blog comment or post, e-mail, or facebook post; something you would never say in person.

We must carefully guard against allowing the online world to take the place of real life relationships and of honest and true communication. While I think that some of the connectedness is a great thing, I'm continually aware that my identity cannot be here. We all, somewhat unknowingly, paint pictures of ourselves which may or may not be completely accurate :) and we tend to form opinions of others based on the same. And sometimes we "know" each other without really knowing each other.

Don't get me wrong, I've been SO blessed by the people I've met through blogging and many I've had the opportunity to meet in real life, too. And maybe I'm just being too judgemental and too harsh on women. :) It has been amazing to connect with other families built through adoption - to share stories and to offer support - something that I don't have much around me. And I don't intend to leave the blog or facebook world any time soon - I do love you all! :) I've learned so much about myself and made many friends. I've been challenged and encouraged. I just need to guard against the critical and judgemental spirit that I too often find popping up in my own life.

All that to say, I've been challenged in my own thinking and life of late to:
- Consider what I say, how I say it, and whether it needs said at all.
- Not always offer advice but rather to give a listening and sympathetic ear.
- Be careful about judging other's situations - especially when I really don't know.
- Deepen the relationships around me.
- Pray for wisdom in loving and relating to others in real life and online.

And now that I've said that, I feel thoroughly overwhelmed. I pray that my life may be changed and my attitude renewed. May I encourage instead of discourage and demonstrate love instead of criticism.

Tough lessons. Good benefits. More love. Less hurt. Stronger friends.
More understanding. Wiser words. Less words.

11 comments:

Heather L. said...

Very well said! It is so easy to fall into the trap of saying/thinking the wrong thing about others, even when one really does care for them! I'm sure i'll be working on this one for the rest of my life.

Mama10EE said...

I think those are wonderful challenges....it is nice to be reminded that the best way to build frienships is through love and listening, not criticism. I plan to build those challenges into my daily prayer routine for a while and "have a check-up from the neck up".

Jenna said...

I think it can be especially hard in the cyber world because frequently people ask for advice (and even when we aren't, by having open comments we hope someone will comment thus letting us know that they're reading and reacting to what we've written). It's easy to forget that there is a real person with real feelings at the end of every comment you leave. Good reminders Alaina. Thanks.

Jen said...

Excellent post Alaina!

Courtney said...

Preach it sister! There's a verse in James that God has really been hitting home with me: I think it's James 1:19--Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. Great post Alaina!

Jodee Leader said...

You go girl! I couldn't have said it better!

kitzkazventure said...

Such true words!

Anonymous said...

Funny, these same thoughts were crossing my mind just this afternoon. Then I thought, how wonderful it will be when we get to heaven and not be troubled with these sins which so easily beset us. Evelyn

Monica said...

These are words to live by. I often think of my great grandmother when it comes to women and relationships. She died at the age of 93 and her funeral was a long line of old ladies paying their respects. Almost all of them said, "She was the best friend I ever had." Why? She was not a particularly outgoing or magnetic person. But she did love to serve others and listen and pray for them all. I want to be like her.

The world elevates those who exalt themselves through opinions and appearances. There is no easier place to do this than on the internet.

Muriel and Jerry said...

good post...I can honestly say this because I know you IRL!!!!! lol

alyssa said...

What an AWESOME post!!! I've been on both sides of the critisism and competition and I just wish it wasn't there. I'm so glad you've actually said something about it, what a breath of fresh air!

thank you!