Earlier this week I had a GREAT conversation with someone: it was difficult, argumentative, loud, and with some extended silence.
It was terrific! He is a great friend! We disagreed.
This occurrence reminded me of how very important it is to have people in our lives that want and desire authentic and unvarnished engagement.
They don’t take it personally — they are able to transcend the here and now, and the specific and particular individuals involved. They look at the big-picture — the vision — the over-arching ideas, concepts, and values — and in so-doing you – together – flesh-out the best course. They know and trust your input so thoroughly that they never re-construe it into petty conflict, or negatively characterize your motives.
In many ways I find that I live in this “conceptual” world; never accepting was is, but rather looking for what might be. I LOVE this type of vigorous – and maybe even idealistic – engagement! Dealing with ideals, concepts, and vision that transcends the here and now, and lays the path for both maturity and achievement. For me, is a great joy of life.
Not everyone embraces such engagement — including those that you would expect to due to their position or education. I’ve made this difficult mistake more than once. And, sometimes I’ve repeated the mistake with the same individual.
But, they don’t get it. And, those conversations can be quite difficult and don’t usually end well. “Seeing beyond” and “defending the now” can not coexist in the same conversation. And, I make the mistake of allowing the conversation to devolve to the defensive and the personal. Someday I’ll learn!
I pray that each of you has in your life those few individuals that are able to engage enthusiastically at a high level. Where you can clash your ideals and concepts with great vigor, and come out with not only a better appreciation for each other — but, also a better understanding of the ideals being honed.
I challenge each of you to be that individual to the friends in your life. They will so appreciate it. Rise above the petty. Rise above the immediate. See beyond the here-and-now, and embrace the banter of what might be. Stick with concepts, ideals, and values. Stay clear of the personal and the immediate. It requires a healthy dose of both confidence and contentment.
If you find yourself engaged with someone who just isn’t hearing you — but, is instead simply looking for the next defense hook — just say you’re sorry, and move on as quickly as you can.
They’re not up to it. It won’t end well. Don’t lose a friend.