Dunno about you, but it takes a significant experience or change for me to really understand things in life. Not all but some. I recently started reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. He put forward his analysis of ‘paradigms’ and their shifts. Without giving too much of a summary, paradigms are essentially our individual perceptions of life – how we see the world. In order for us to change how we see and understand life requires a paradigm shift.
I’m hoping you’ve heard of the line “you never know what you have until its gone”. The true understanding of this (in my opinion) is result of a significant change in life or as Covey would suggest – a paradigm shift. In this case relating to a loss of something or someone. Very interesting phenomena of life really – losing something to truly appreciate its value. I wouldn’t say I’m someone who takes things for granted – seeing how far my journey called life has taken me, I’ve always been appreciative of where I am today and of those around me. But in this life, things happen. For me, it was the loss of a very close friend that brought the significance of the title to reality.
So what led to this change of perception? Nothing too crazy – just a situation of an easily avoidable relationship breakdown with a close friend. In order to get into it, let’s name her Alicia. Me and Alicia had only known each other for just over a year now, still we quickly grew to be very good friends. I’m not one to claim that I have a best friend – but it’s safe to say this is what she was even if she didn’t know it at the time. The dynamics of a good friendship often interest me, especially since every relationship is unique. What I really loved about me and Alicia was how much we clicked, as in the relationship just made sense.
Where did it go wrong? Hate to point fingers, but I have to bear the brunt of the blame here. Be it my immaturity at the time or inability to understand what was happening – I put to end a good thing. Something I didn’t realise until a couple of months after the break down. At that point the paradigm shift of not knowing what I had until it was gone became explicitly clear. It quickly became apparent the huge role Alicia played in my life. Something I, at the time, did not see the immediate value of. Having set off into our different ventures in life, the odd happy birthday message was as far as communication went for a period of two years. Considering we used to speak almost every day – I’m sure you can understand the huge difference in dynamics of the relationship.
What this experience has taught me is the whole point of this post. I’ve been able to use this mistake as I would call it to change the perception of my current relationships. Appreciating those around you is essential to cultivating growth in your relationships. At no point should you see doing something for someone in your circles as something that’s long or a big ask. Nor should you allow someone to walk out of your life simply due to pride, immaturity or an inability to tackle problems head on. I’m very fortunate to have the people I have around me. Without them I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. And for that I must say thank you. There are those that have supported my hustle since bootcuts were cool (as Tion Wayne would say) and there are those that have been around to push me through the highs and lows of university.
‘There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother’ – Proverbs 18:24. I’ve learnt that it is not hard to be that friend. Whilst I’m writing this with the intention to change someone’s perception of appreciation – it is not with intent to instruct. Each relationship is different, it’s onus on the participants of it – in this case you – to know what’s best for it. The facets of a human being are numerous and equally as difficult to understand. So regardless of the type of relationship; they are hard work. People can be mad. For me, I like to say I try as much as possible to ensure that my people feel and know they are valued. Be it a simple text every now and then, a spontaneous visit or even supporting their hustle.
What happens with Alicia? Funnily enough there is a bright side to the story. Me and Alicia started talking again. Wouldn’t say it’s gonna be as it was, but something is better than nothing. Without trying to sound excessively eager – I’m lucky to have the opportunity to rebuild what was lost. Looking forward to hearing about all the missed events and sharing future ones (cringe I know but entertain me).
“You never know what you have until its gone”. I couldn’t emphasise enough how important the realisation of this is. Don’t wait for a dramatic experience or change to help you see this. Don’t wait for the next birthday or celebratory moment to come round before reminding your friend, sister, parent or even your cat that you love and appreciate them. Be the friend you would want.
Big thank you again to all my peoples.
The RealTalk Team