We all know those people. The ones who make everything about themselves. The ones who will one-up you at every turn, even if she’s never experienced anything close to what you were sharing. Even if you didn’t pause long enough for her insertion. Even if you didn’t want to know, yet, how very achy her forever hard working back is on this particular day. For me, there are few qualities in a friend that I find more offensive than this one, so – being ‘self-aware’ – I needed to ask myself, ‘why?’.
Have you ever heard that the qualities you detest most about yourself (and are unaware of), are the qualities you also hate most in someone else?
I remember once, about a decade ago now, sitting around a small backyard bonfire with my closest girlfriends while sucking down a few beers. The later the night grew, the more careless the tongues became. My best friend Laura finally confessed to me that I was one of ‘those’ friends. Me. A one-upper. She said that I never even asked about her.
I remember feeling crushed. I also remember knowing that she had nailed it. Feeling like the worst friend on the planet, I vowed to change that very annoying quality, and become instead a listener & a sympathizer. It wasn’t that I didn’t love her, or any of my friends for that matter. It also wasn’t that I wasn’t curious. I am just not a natural conversationalist. I talk to myself all the time (very quietly, and yes, I do attribute this habit to onliness). That tends to be one-sided, if you catch my drift.
So here I am, 10 years later, and still battling that silly tendency. It still troubles me deeply when I see it in others, but that’s a good thing, because I am constantly reminded of what I don’t want to be told ever again. I don’t want to be that person. I am passionately curious about people, and I need to reflect that by asking questions & listening. Listening and loving go hand in hand, I think. And who I am to one-up anyway?
Since I have removed as much stress as humanly possible from my life, I have found that my patience, my conversation, and my ability to focus on others has greatly improved. I had no idea how much fuller life could feel with just a little more consideration, and lots more listening. When we overflow, we have more to share. This is true in all aspects of life – be it money, love, care, consideration, trust, respect, or passion. I don’t want to clean up any spills, I just want to keep absorbing, keep sharing, and let the love flow.