Thursday, February 9, 2012

Soft Skills

Do you have that soft know, the one where when people come to you to talk you are open arms and accepting?  In some circumstances, I hold my own well with this, but in most circumstances I don't.  I am a natural born problem solver.  My attention immediately goes to "fixer" and not "feather-pillow"...

I have received several reviews over the years asking me to work on my skills in this area.  Essentially, the thought is that being a softer, listening, patient person will make the other party feel better and want to help me.  I have been told that this will help others feel a need to support the work I am trying to accomplish with them.  I will look more like a team player, etc...

At home and with family, I am softer than at work, but not all that great at it.  I want to be a good listener.  I don't cry for the most part unless I am fed up with trying to be able to have a compassionate heart and it just isn't happening.  I want my family to know that I care, but I just don't show it in conventional ways. 

I am not saying that I don't want to or have to work on these skills.  I do, everyday!  Sometimes it is just plain exhausting though.  Sometimes I get frustrated that I don't naturally gravitate towards this softer side.  I feel like not being able to connect emotionally with others at this level somehow diminshes their acceptance of me and that I am not a good enough person (friend, wife, co-worker, daughter, sister, leader...). 

The problem is two-fold (from what my analytical mind is telling me).  First, I have to want it bad enough to make the changes.  This means, for me, that I have to see the value of changing.  It sounds cold to say, but maybe I am not changing because I don't want it bad enough.  I might just be okay with one or two cry outs each month with frustration because a close emotional connection with too many people doesn't exist.  Second, I have to figure out what I need to change.  I frankly just don't know what specifically I need to do to make this happen.

I am asking God for help on this and I ask you all to pray for God to show me the way in this.  Generally, I am happy with life.  I am happy with my existing relationships.  I want to go the step further...I want it to work...Like parenting, there is no guidebook on how to gain soft skills.  There is no guidebook on changing the natural response.  It takes dedication and discipline.  So for now, I review each opportunity to connect with people and try a little more each time...if it is God's will, it will happen, but perhaps, just maybe, God made me this way for a reason...and whatever the case, I am willing to live with that.


(Liz, I don't have the whole "Pour Your Heart Out" image and link stuff, but if I did, this definitely would qualify, don't you think?  :)  )


Eternal Lizdom said...

This is definitely a poured heart.

You know... some people have soft hearts and some have strong spines and some have big back sides. We are all who we are, who we are made to be.

Not everyone is supposed to be soft and mushy. The soft and mushy people need the strong and steady people.

Love comes in many different forms. Crying isn't a requirement. Compassion comes in many different forms, too.

I don't think of you as lacking compassion, I don't think of you as not being a loving person. Granted, I'm not in your home or in your workplace. But the Ashli I know is someone always quick to offer a hug, someone that I know understands me, someone who has sensed my pain and been able to reach out to comfort me. That person isn't lacking anything soft or compassionate.

Nancy said...

Ashli, I agree with Liz. You have always been there to offer me a hug if I have needed one. God made us each the way we are, maybe you are already the you that you are supposed to be!