I live in community – meaning that I live surrounded by many other people of all backgrounds, ages, and nationalities. Living in community can be the hardest thing in the world, but it is also one of the most incredible things. It takes effort to connect and find your niche, but it’s beyond worth it to feel like a part of a family. I am constantly learning new things about myself and the people that I live with.
Something that I’ve been learning about a lot lately is the importance of noticing one another – not just saying hello as you walk past someone in the hallway, but looking them in the eye and genuinely inquiring about how they are doing and what’s going on in their life. A little while ago I noticed that I tend to try and separate my home and work life, which is incredibly unrealistic considering that I live with all the people I work with. If there are issues at home, they get brought to the office and vice versa. It’s easy to get frustrated and irritable with people when we are surrounded by them constantly – you pick apart peoples’ character and notice so much more about them when you work and live with them. It can get easy to see the annoying parts and allow yourself to get angry and become unobservant to the people around you – what they’re going through and what they’re feeling.
Last week, we had a man come and speak to us about the importance of ’emotional intelligence’ – what it means to be aware of and manage our own emotions and those of the people we interact with. When we’re at work, it becomes easier to ignore the personal things and be very business-like, but then we lose the things that make us such a unique and incredible organization. If I’m having a bad day and my co-workers don’t notice or say anything, it makes me feel very forgotten and unimportant, but if someone were to notice me acting not myself and to genuinely ask me how I’m doing, that would completely change my perspective on my day.
We have the ability to change someone’s emotions by noticing them and validating that what they’re feeling is real and important and walking with them as they go through good and bad times. When we choose to actively listen to and feel for one another, a work space becomes so much more than a place to simply get things done – it becomes a place where we care about one another and care about what we do.
This is something that I need to grow in greatly. Noticing others and how they are acting and feeling and caring enough to actually ask them what’s going on and being sincere and real with people. Even with my own emotions, I need to realize them more, manage them and not be afraid of saying, “Hey, I’m feeling this way about this and I need you to know that because…” We need to claim our feelings so that we can hold each other up through harder times and celebrate together during good times.
I want to become more emotionally intelligent/aware of myself and those around me, but more than that, I want to care. I want to be available and approachable. I want people to be ok with sharing things with me so that I can be there for them and share their burdens. I want to actually take time to listen, not just hear. I want to love.