A colleague, “Jody," was complaining that her out of town nieces never send thank you notes for gifts. Despite her careful words, she seemed quite upset. “Pat” began offering advice such as, “Don’t feel bad, that’s how kids are.” Eventually Jody changed the subject and left. The problem with asking for (or offering) advice is that we miss the deeper messages of emotions.
Our reactions are based on a complex mix of our history, psychology, and the minute unconscious signals we perceive. Knowing Jody, I’d guess her reactions illustrate a desire for closer ties to her nieces. The thank you notes are only symbolic of that longing. If she examines these feelings, she can learn more about these underlying desires and what they reveal about her life.
© 2009 Laura Lewis-Barr all rights reserved