I’ve been wanting to share something that’s been going on in my life for the past couple of weeks, and finally let you in on my take on relationships with others who sometimes look to us for guidance and suggestions, and how we can each work through uncertainty to create such a beautiful outcome.
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p.s. Betsy, I am so proud of you!
It truly is not just about who you know. Tonight’s episode of heavy breathing just before midnight or sometimes a little bit after was going to be about relationships. I just finished reading a very, very good book by Tommy Spaulding called It’s Not Just Who You Know. The stories in this book really come from Tommy’s life and they explain how he has created a network of relationships that serve him in his life. What I really enjoyed about the book was the clarity and simple terms really relationships are put into, and there is a model that comes from the 5 levels of communication that studied in communication theory that Tommy altered and created the 5 floors of relationships.
I am going to talk a little bit more about this, but first I have to go on a little side tangent. I have been wanting to, for the last several episodes, talk about experiences that I have had in maybe the last maybe week, week and a half, when a friend of mine, a really dear true friend has made some substantial life-altering decisions. I first wanted to talk about this when I was from the outside watching an internal struggle going on with this friend when there was something not quite right going on in her life and she knew that she was up against something that was blocking it and objectively could see the right answer of what needed to change in her life, and yet emotionally being in the midst of it being scared, being fearful of making those changes to allow things to clear up and go a little bit more positively, and in this situation with this friend where I am turned to on occasion by her, it is hard to know whether to offer advice, counseling, or just listen, and in judging which one is most appropriate, I had to look at myself and I had to think that this friend of mine has plenty of people in her life that will listen, and I also know that my friend was objectively looking at what needed to happen and when I asked a question about things and needed objective answers, she was answering them in the very clear concise way, and if I was asking questions where it got personal and where feelings came into play, I know that it got a little bit more confusing, so I struggled with this a little bit myself in how to help be the best friend and offer the greatest advice that I could in the situation.
When I am asked for help from people, I truly do not want it to be about me. I want to do what is in the best interest of my friend and I want to be able to offer that type of support, and sometimes, depending on the situation, I think it does call for a little bit of a judgment call when I am being asked the question about what would I do or what advice do I have to give, I think it is sometimes easy for me to be afraid, that maybe my advice is really not the best advice, maybe it is not in the best interest of the person that I am offering advice to, but they would not ask if they didn’t want it was the ultimate conclusion that I came to, so I did my best to offer an ear and then when asked the questions to help make some objective observations and then empower my friend to be able to do what she needed to do, and I think one of the best things that I could have done was empowered her to walk through that fear of making a decision and know that I would be here whether it felt like a good decision at the time, a bad decision, whether she made a decision and then changed her mind, no matter what happened I would be here, I would have her back, and I think that that helped. I can only imagine that it did because about a week later, she said she was ready to make a move and needed help physically moving from the situation that she was in to another situation, and here again is where things can be daunting. You know, just imagine if you, right now, picked up your life and moved it from one location to another location, whether its 30 miles away or 3,000 miles away, just that act of packing everything up and moving and the uncertainty of how everything was going to come out, you know, that can create a little bit of fear and apprehension, and then attach that to the part where you are not really sure if you are making the right decision or objectively you know that you are making the right decision and personally and emotionally it just hurts.
So my friend did reach out say that she would like some help and I helped to organize a moving party to get her from the one situation to the other and all the while continuing to offer as much support as I could, you know, as much unconditional love as possible and the fact that there really is no wrong answer and we are not doing anything that cannot be undone to help alleviate some of the fears that were involved in that.
I just got a note from this friend who has now started a blog about her experiences. In her professional life she does one thing, and she has a blog and a website that pertains to that, and on the personal side of things since making this move, she has decided to start something a little bit more personal which I read and I am thrilled. Of course, in offering my assistance I was afraid. Well, what if I give the wrong advice? What if I give bad advice? What if I give bad advice? What if I am supportive here and, you know, choices are made, and in hindsight they are maybe not the best choices? I was fearful of all of that myself, and now that I have read more of her personal story on this new website, I am just smiling on the inside because she is smiling on the inside and that is just completely coming though.
So that brings me back to relationships and what I thought this episode was going to be about. I thought I was going to explore the 5 floors of relationships, as Tommy Spalding refers to them in his book, and I think I will save part of the intricacies of this discussion for later, but I would like to outline them a little bit for you here. So if you imagine a relationship having 5 levels that it could possibly pass through, the first floor is a meet and greet. This is where you find someone new and have some type of an interaction. Once you have passed the meet and greet, if there is somebody who it makes sense to go a little bit deeper with or have a little bit more of a connection with, then you get to the second floor. It is still a little bit superficial, but you are investing a little bit more time, effort, and energy into this relationship. Third floor relationships are where things begin to get deciphered and you move from the surface level, news, sports and weather, to maybe some inner thoughts and feelings, and at the third level is where you find out if the elevator is open to keep going up the floors or if the door is locked and it is not going to go any further. That can be because of personal belief systems, stances on issues, or if there is not really a compatibility for this relationship to be going on. If the door is open though, then you get to the 4th floor of relationships where you can share the emotion and be a little bit more objective in helping offer guidance, advice, a listening ear whether or not you necessarily agree with what is going on, and then the fifth level of the relationship would be the penthouse where there are some shared values, a high level of openness, candor, and people can be vulnerable with each other.
What the past couple of weeks have helped me understand even more is I am truly lucky with the relationships that I have in my life that I could deem are on that 5th floor. There are people that come into my life, you know people come and go, and maybe a level 5 isn’t a level 5 anymore or maybe certain things happen, and you know, people rotate in and out of those levels, but right now at this point in my life, I have got a whole lot of those high level relationships which I really love and appreciate, and it was a growing experience for me to have somebody in one of those relationships with me look to me for guidance and advice and for me to be able to help them in some way, and I can only perceive it as helping in some way because of the feedback that I am getting and because of the internal knowingness and the internal feelings that I have.
I have been wanting to share with you that there are so many people who bless our lives in so many ways, and we bless others lives in ways that sometimes I don’t even thing we could even imagine. When I started this series of podcasts I explained, I think in the very first one, that I was doing this for myself and if anybody listened and was inspired it would be great, and if nobody listened and was inspired it would be alright too because I was doing it for myself. What I found, especially with this person who has now started their own personal insights story, personal blog about what they are going through, is that I guess my story and my stories and what I am sharing, it does have relevance and it does have influence in some little way, so I am appreciating the fact that in some little way in my small corner of the world I am offering inspiration and there are people that are listening.
So until next time, be grateful for the relationships at every level that you have in your life, and I appreciate that you are in my life having a relationship with me at the level where we are and I look forward to exploring the growth of this relationship as time goes on.