“When you shake someone’s hand, do it like this…” She turned her thumb up towards the ceiling, slicing the air with her freshly glued acrylics, matching the metallic of her realtor pin. She curled her fingers into a fist. “You don’t need to shake up and down, but you want the other person to know that you mean business. And, one day when you’re a business woman like me, you’ll remember I taught you that.”
My daughter politely grinned, turned around and we walked out of the door. I was taken aback not only by her abrasiveness, but her inappropriate, terse tutorial on hand shaking. We had just met her five minutes before; we were the curious neighbors who watched the renovation from start to finish and wanted to check out the open house.
“Mom, that was rude of her, to correct me like that. That really bothered me. Besides, I will not be a business woman like her!” I raised my daughter to trust her instincts. She reluctantly shook the woman’s hand, because, she could tell, there was something off about her and she was right.
This isn’t an article entirely about trusting one’s instincts: it’s about walking away from people who think they have a right to fix you...
When a person decides to love another person, they first must lay a foundation of trust. And, the only way to build trust, is to help the other person feel that they are in a safe zone, to be completely themselves.
There’s this concept of tough love that I’ve made the mistake of trying out over the years; it fails miserably and leaves both people feeling angry and betrayed. I’ve been that realtor before, in business and in relationship. It’s a destructive and soul-crushing way to be. Reprimanding and criticizing another’s character or actions is a surefire way to lose trust, and lose the opportunity to love and be loved.
Honesty doesn’t always need a voice; people don’t need their weaknesses and insecurities broadcast over the loud speaker of judgment. We’re hard enough on ourselves!
The thing about people is that we’re viscerally and subcutaneously aware of our own fallibility; we know what’s weak within us. What allows us to heal our fractures is to have an accepting place to rest; on the shoulders and in the hands of others who are willing to love us, every piece of us. In that, love has an eternal opportunity to be of service.
We’re meant to caress each other’s hands: cracks, spots, reluctance, fear and all.
We’re worthy of holding hands with another no matter how strong or weak we are in that moment. There’s no need for fixing, because, what one of us has, the other does not, and in relationship we balance each other out. No words are necessary, simply an acknowledgment of our existence, of our way of being.
And, if someone does not take your hand, accept it and embrace it for everything it is and isn’t, let go and walk away.