Bull’s eye Print E-mail
News - Final Word
Sunday, 30 April 2017 17:20
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Ever felt friendless, girlfriend? Ever moved to a new town or started a new job where you felt so isolated that you latched onto the first smile you saw? Cultivating connections is a basic human need, but you have to seek it from the right place. You can’t walk into a hardware store to buy shampoo.

In her book, ‘Daring Greatly’, Brené Brown explains that we’ve all been disappointed, hurt or downright scarred by trusting the wrong kind of people. As a matter of fact, many of us keep turning to a person who hasn’t earned the right to hear our story.

Life coach Catherine Bruns says that trust has been coming up a lot in the work she does with clients. She mentions examples, such as the client who keeps calling her mother for comfort when something bad has happened to her, but instead she gets the cold shoulder and hears how she should have acted differently.

Maybe you share the soft underbelly of a shameful event with someone, only to hear it repeated to others at a later stage. Or you tell a friend about a mistake you’ve made and get the one-upmanship: ‘You think that’s bad? Let me tell you what happened to me.’

So, how do you know who would be able to hear your story with empathy and without running you down or betraying your trust? Brené uses the idea of a marble jar to help define the people you can trust and the limits to which you can trust them.

When you meet someone new, see the potential friendship as an empty jar. Whenever this friend turns up on time for a coffee date, follows through, demonstrates care or shares deeper thoughts, you add a marble to the jar.

Marbles come out of the jar when that person disregards your private space and treasured possessions, disrespects your time by constantly being late, breaks promises, gossips or rarely asks about your world. Naturally marbles would go in and out; trust evolves over time.

You cannot have a trusting connection with someone when more marbles keep going out of the jar than those going in. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if you can see it for what it is. Actually, you’re not supposed to be super close to everyone you are acquainted with.

Catherine uses the idea of a dartboard to explain your relationships with people. Think about all the people in your life, from your neighbours to fun friends, nodding acquaintances, family and your besties. Now put them on your dartboard with yourself in bull’s eye position.

The bull’s eye is small for a reason. Not everyone belongs in there with you and there’s nothing wrong with keeping a person you like at the first or second circle. The first circle contains the people you are close to, and would share things with, yet they are not close enough to let into the bull’s eye.

In the next circle are those who are less connected to you, but are important for various reasons. And outward it goes to the end of the dartboard. All the circles are important. The outer circles aren’t necessarily filled with baddies. You need small-talk neighbours and superficial fun friends as well. Depending on what kind of person you are, you may have many people in your outer circles and only a few in the inner ones, or vice versa.

You just have to realise that you cannot expect any one person to meet all your needs. That’s asking more than anyone could ever give you. It is your job to make yourself happy and in the process you have to forget about how much you might or might not be liked by others.

What is important is whether you like them or not. We let people get away with too much because we are so focused on how they would feel about us, instead of focussing on how we feel about them.
Neale Donald Walsch said that the goodness in your life does not come to you from someone else.

There is no need to ‘play up’ to another or try to remain in their good graces. Remain in your own, by not betraying yourself. Let no one hold you hostage.

Girlfriend, you train others how to treat you. When you see this, you’ll be free.

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