When you work with people closely for a time, they become like family.
There’s the laughter and the jokes that only make sense to those who’ve shared the stories. There are the nicknames given in love that only those in the room understand. The camaraderie of working together for the same end unites hearts and gives a sense of others on the journey with you.
There’s also presumed freedom to say things that may not be helpful but hurtful, To be teasing and have it misinterpreted or misunderstood.
Families are like that. The closer we let others get to us, the greater the enjoyment of the relationship.
Closeness also enables others to hurt us more dramatically.
Our team has changed over the years, but this group has been together for a while. We’re all very different, with different strengths and weaknesses, and different skill sets, making us broader in our scope and capabilities.
With diverse backgrounds and stories, we’re also unaware at times of how we’re hurting each other.
We’d been in planning meetings for two days, intense times of preparing for next year and the new people who will be joining our program. There’s great anticipation of what these people will be like, how we’ll connect with them, and what responsibilities each of us will have to shoulder to make it work well.
I discovered an area where I felt like I’d been overlooked and sidelined, and my emotions welled up. Being Miss Positivity, I squelched my feelings and tried to move past them.
That night I couldn’t sleep. I was bothered by once again feeling like I wasn’t enough, and at 3 in the morning, I gave up trying to sleep.
The aggravation pushed me to write a text to the one person I thought was responsible for this oversight. My emotions poured out, more accusing than I wanted, but I didn’t even think how it would be received–I sent it.
It didn’t make me feel any better.
There was no time to talk with this person; the meetings were my focus.
I got a call from this friend on my drive home. I hadn’t realized how hurtful my words were, but both of us had the chance to own what we’d said and apologize for it.
Albert Schweitzer–doctor, missionary, philosopher, musician–was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his work in his hospital in Africa, where he treated many with leprosy and sleeping sickness. He stated, “Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”
King Solomon made the same observation.
“A man has joy in giving an appropriate answer, and how good and delightful is a word spoken at the right moment–how good it is.” Proverbs 15:23
At a time when words are spread thoughtlessly over social media, it’s good to remember that kindness spoken to one another often accomplishes more good than criticism or judgment.
Even family members need to remember that “kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy to the body.” Proverbs 16:24
What kindness can you offer someone today?