Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness (c)2015 Nancy Virden
Jack is a nice guy who owns a business of utmost confidentiality. He replaces hair on balding heads. This mums-the-word occupation supports the wishes of clients who do not want their bosses, co-workers, customers, or even friends to know the facts behind their thick locks. Yet even Jack does not know their whole stories.
We tend to be vaguely aware of the people around us, and that everyone is going through something. Rarely do I see anyone doing a double-check and looking for answers beyond the superficial.
A professional relationship had frustrated me. Numerous attempts to contact this person went unanswered for months. I was paying for a resolution to an issue, and while my money kept going out, I was unclear as to any progress made on my behalf.
There was just enough communication from his office to keep me believing I was being tended to, until finally an email Tuesday afternoon indicated that a decision had been made to pursue a compromise and not the solution I thought I was paying for. His given reasoning was that he had not heard from me.
Weeks of frustration guided my tone in the voicemail message I left. I demanded answers and questioned his neglect. I felt cheated, lied to, scared, and desperate for a resolution to the original problem I had hired this person to solve. I didn’t know where I was going to turn.
This morning we finally connected and I was not surprised to hear a voice as tense as mine on the other end. I was surprised to learn he had not seen my emails. This explains why, although I sent my phone number multiple times, he continued to call the wrong number and fail to reach me.
I suspect neither of us had paused long enough to double-check why this was happening. Each of us perceived the other to be dismissive, and hence the frustration for us both.
This lack of successful communication clearly led to miscommunication until the deal, relationship, and my money are gone. This hurts me at deep practical and financial levels. Emotionally, it is a good-sized distraction from what is going well in life. I’m ready to pull my hair out.
Despite this upset, my responsibility at this juncture is to consider what to do next.
There were two famous brothers, Jacob and Esau, who had a falling out (in mild terms). Jacob later wanted to pursue an agreeable arrangement and so sent multiple gifts and an apology to his brother prior to meeting with him. I want to follow Jacob’s example in my situation.
(1) I will apologize for my negative assumptions which must be as frustrating to the other party as his are to me. I will also own the questionable tone I used in the voice mails.
(2) I will snail-mail copies of the emails to him so he can realize the scope of the problem for his own sake.
(3) I will thank him, genuinely, for what service I did receive.
(4) I will finish immediately paying up all he has earned.
(5) In light of what actually transpired and the miscommunication, I will ask him to reconsider finishing the job..
(5) I will show respect. If he doesn’t react, or in a way I would like, I will not pursue it any further.
Ah, communication. It’s the glue that holds business relationships and marriages together, and quite possibly hairs to our heads. Misunderstandings are a challenge to clean-up. They are always regrettable and worth carefully preventing.
In the face of this loss, I may have to invest more emotional energy and money starting over with someone new. Ouch. I’ll double-check all communications this time.
Comments are always welcome (see tab below). NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.
*pictures from qualitystockphotos.com