It Meant Something to Me

by on May 10, 2017

It Meant Something to Me

rings-684944_640While the blogs I write are often meant to share thoughts and advice to my readers and clients, I must admit that there is a bit of therapeutic selfishness in the one you are about to read. Today I appear to have lost a ring that was given to me as a birthday present by my wife for my 50th birthday. I don’t know and have never known how much it cost, although I don’t think it was very much given what rings can cost. It will never be as important and hold as much value as the wedding ban that I wear on the ring finger of my left hand. However, I wore it every day. At times I would get compliments on it, (it was a gold ring with an American flag on the face). It would always remind me of Jeanne. And, now unless it turns up, I likely will never have it again.

As I went through my day some thoughts entered my mind. I thought about others who had told me about family heirlooms that they had lost. Or others who had misplaced items that had sentimental value to them. In fact, when I was thinking about writing this piece, I was actually going to entitle it “Sentimental Value.” But, then my thoughts became focused in a different direction. I realized that a lot of other individuals lose far more important things in their life than what I had lost. People lose loved ones, they lose their good health, lose jobs and therefore their means for providing for their family. Still, in spite of all this, losing this ring “meant something to me.”

The magazine “Psychology Today,” defines empathy as the experience of understanding another person’s condition from their perspective. Empathy is something that I believe is greatly lacking from our society today, (at least here in the United States where I live). We’re a divided county where we criticize the views of others if they are different than ours, or will provide nasty comments on internet sites over articles written about a topic with which we may not agree. However, I’ve learned that the only way to really get to know and understand what another is thinking is to take the time and sit down and ask them about their feelings. And, when I say ask, it is not in an accusatory or judgmental way. It is not with our minds already made up about what we want to hear. But, in true open listening mode.

The person who really wants to understand what something means to someone else needs to be prepared to listen at least twice as much as they speak. They want to be prepared to ask questions that allow the other person to talk. Such questions are open ended, and usually begin with words such as How, What, Where, When or Who. When something is said by another, to gain firm understanding, they’ll restate what they believe they heard and gain agreement or validation that they have heard and interpreted the other person’s feelings correctly.

Not every person is going to agree with everyone else on everything they say, see, hear or feel going on around them. Even I myself am guilty of coming to judgments quicker than I should, even with the training I have had as a professional coach. However, when I feel myself slipping into conflict, or perhaps minimizing the feelings of others, that is a sign to me that I’m truly not giving the issue the sensitivity and empathy it deserves.

Yes, today I lost a ring. And, it hurts to have happened. I realize that some will feel for me, some will not, and others will say just let it go. However, maybe the next time I dismiss the feelings of another too quickly, and realize I’m not providing the understanding to them I should, I’ll think back today and realize that whatever is troubling another person at the moment, “still means something to them.”

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Google Bookmarks
  • FriendFeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Posterous
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: