A talent for relating

Everyone I meet shows signs of some talent for relating to others. For many, their talent is hidden for good reasons. Yet, in the presence of some authentic connection to them, their ability to relate in their own way comes into play. When I'm using my own talent for relating, it's apparent to the others and myself that they have a hidden talent. They discover they have what it takes to relate in a way that's enjoyable, fulfilling and even natural for them.

I've realized that our talents for relating are designed to be unique. We have our own ways of showing how much we care and what we naturally connect to in others. We feel capable of understanding other people in uncommon ways . We get inspired to serve, support and nurture relationships on different bases. We respect and admire others with our own passions, priorities and values. We see others within our own frames of reference that gives us different ways to respond and relate to their concerns. When we actualize our own talents for relating, we are one of a kind and inherently kind to others.

Many of us lose sight of our unique talent for relating. We are not really getting related to and forego our ability to initiate authentic relating. We develop defenses and pretenses to manage our misery and keep interactions superficial. We realize a typical situation calls for getting some control of others and putting some distance into the pseudo-relationship. It seems obvious that acting understanding, caring and respectful will backfire. The entanglement appears to be on the brink of losing control and compromising our own values. We cope with getting blamed, bribed and told what's right for us by people we feel wronged by. We assume our hidden talent for relating is useless while we're getting consistently manipulated, misled and betrayed.

When we've been damaged by pseudo-relating, we're bound to have trust issues. We will not make commitments easily or let our guard down anytime soon. We're living in fear of more mistreatment of our needs, more misunderstanding of what we said and more misconstruing of our intentions. We're prepared for repeats of what we don't want to happen. We soon attract more proof of how right we are about the dangers.

When we utilize our unique talent for relating, others feel understood by us on some level or in some way. They feel safe around us and respected by us. They experience permission from us to be themselves and trust their feelings. Their tolerance for ambiguity increases. They allow the relationship to become more mysterious as they "expect the unexpected" to occur. They welcome us into some private dimensions of their lives because of the feeling they get from our ways of seeing them. We see beyond the mask they show the world and value the resulting depth in our relationship with them.

I've learned, from my experience with mentoring, how bringing out others' talents for relating is a slow process. Most people are disoriented by getting understood and respected. They are accustomed to being taken hostage by other's neediness and dominated by others control needs. They are familiar with commiseration and manipulation, not validation and fascination. It takes time for people to get their bearings in a context where their own talent for relating will emerge. They need to experiment with how they respond to getting someone "in their corner watching their back". They eventually find within themselves their unique talent for relating.

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