I do not have a problem talking about myself, or at least, I didn’t before becoming a working professional. I moved around quite a bit as a kid. When you move, you end up sharing the same stories of your life over and over again. It’s the process of meeting new people, sharing and exchanging information, and hopefully becoming friends. It’s necessary when you enter a new school, a new church, and a new neighborhood. In childhood, there are no bounds to what and when you say things to your friends and their responses back. It’s just kids talking about what’s on their mind, asking questions, and getting answers. There’s not too much shame and it’s fairly factual.
Enter Adolescence and Adulthood…
Growing up means learning when to speak, what to speak, and how to speak. Yet along with learning how to manage ourselves, we learn how to read other people too. Some people are eager to listen to us, but we also find out that some just don’t care to know us or care about what we have to say. Still others will listen politely, but then abruptly forget everything. These can be painful experiences in the transition from child to adult. It’s even more intensified in the places that we spend the bulk of our time (often the workplace), especially if it’s not our core community. We can find ourselves operating like: get the job done, appear to have it all together, and, oh yeah, play nice with others (pretend if you have to).
But What About Being Known…
Well, if you can’t or don’t want to find deep relationships at work, then find something outside of there to make friends. Although I had a few close relationships at work, my core community was the church. This is a great place to make new and lasting relationships. Find a small group, attend a class, volunteer, and you can be known and know others. It actually is true and I’m really thankful for those early years. It was so amazing to meet some of the people I did, almost like going to a new school and meeting all those new soon-to-be-friends!
The truth is that to be known, you have to be willing to know others too. Talking only about ourselves puts a disproportionate amount of focus on us and not enough on the others. We need to listen to and remember others’ stories too. We need to enter into the joys and heartaches with these relationships. One of the many groups I had a privilege to be a part of was a married women’s small group. Together we shared in the heartache of infertility in some of our group members and together we rejoiced that through prayer, treatments, and friendship, God gave each of us a baby within one year!
2 thoughts on “Being Known”
Thanks Brittany. I love your thoughts. I moved around a lot when I was a child also. I was always making new friends over and over again. That was great practice for adult life. The skills learned during those years has served me well. But I hadn’t thought of it that way until I read your blog. Thanks for helping me realize the benefit of those years. I remember this new moms group you talked about. That was such a blessing for you. Love seeing Baby Kayla in the picture!
Mom, it really is a good skill to have – making friends. I’m so glad that through this story you can see another level of benefit from those early years. Childhood really is incredibly formative and looking back it’s quite interesting to see the points (big and small) that formed me to who I am now! I’m glad you remember that small group. It truly was just what I needed at that time. I love those women!