You finally did it! You took the leap, said the things and had all the feelings with saying yes to pursuing your dream! You are now among those that have made the bold choice to allow their gifts to live outside of themselves. No more denying, shushing or hiding. Whew! Let me tell ya! That took some courage and bravery my friend. In fact, I’m sure it still does. There’s so much to say about it but here’s my one thing for our “Hey, ya got 5 minutes?”. I’ve learned there are different types of encouragers. Two of those types are Passive and Assertive. Now, this isn’t about wrong or right. This is more about knowing what’s what, who’s who and letting them be in their place.
I’ve come to know the Passive Encourager as someone who is a good listener and encouraging when YOU bring up what you’re doing. They’re not negative and in fact may even lend some good ideas. The Passive Encourager though is not the person who’s going to ask you how things are going or how you’re doing in your pursuit. It’ll only come up if YOU’RE the one bringing it up. Even if you’re asking about their own pursuits.
The Assertive Encourager has a different approach. They’re good listeners as well but they assert their encouragement by THEM asking YOU about your pursuits, how things are going and how you are doing. They don’t wait for you to bring it up. They’re more…assertive. They ask. It may not be every day or every week but you know that at any given time in your interactions with them that they may ask you specifically about your dream.
Again, this isn’t about wrong or right. It’s about knowing what’s what, who’s who and letting them be in their place.For me it’s been helpful to understand the differences so that I can shift my expectations or hopes. Before this, I’d get in my head wondering why they never asked how things were going. Even though I would ask about their roles, jobs, and dreams. I’d start to feel unseen and feel as if maybe they didn't think my pursuits were valuable enough to acknowledge. But that’s the sort of negativity that can become a disease to our dreams. Both our Passive and Assertive Encouragers play a role in our lives. Some of my Passive Encouragers are people that I know that if something huge went down, they’d be there for me. My Assertive Encouragers keep me accountable because I know the questions may come and I feed off of that accountability. I’m seen by both, just in different ways.
But Bren, I really wish they’d ask me how things are going.
It’s one thing to recognize what’s what and who’s who. But may a question is, what do you need? And yes, it’s okay that you need something! Maybe you’re okay now that you understand there are different types of encouragers. Great! But if not, if you need something different, may be consider speaking up. This is where you’ll have to do the work of understanding what you need and what it does for you. It’s also helpful to learn how that need is best met for you. No matter how close someone is to us, they can only guess at what we need and how that need is met. After you’ve given space for your own personal discovery journey, it’s time for the conversation. It’s always good to start with hearing the other person out. Share what you’ve observed and allow them to speak into that. Maybe they didn’t realize it was okay to ask. Maybe they don’t feel comfortable asking what seems to them to be a personal question. Hear them out. That will help you navigate the conversation and how you can share what you would like in the relationship. I’d also add, be willing to hear what they can give and what they can’t give. I mean, you can’t be everything that each of your friends want or needs, right? Neither can they.
No matter what, don’t let anything take away from the brave step you took in allowing your gifts to breathe life! You are courageous!