As I get older, I am truly recognizing the value of having good people in my life. And not just good people, but GREAT people who aren’t afraid to challenge me and call me into my greatness. One of my favorite passages of wisdom is Proverbs 27:17 which reads, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Nothing shows me how sharp my irons are more than when I am stewing in a hot mess.
Last week, I was in the throes of a significant disappointment. I was trying desperately to communicate my commitment to something I really cared about with someone whose communication style did not match my own. The more we tried to see eye to eye, the worse the experience became for me. On the third day of our miscommunication, I was yelling and crying into my iPhone for nearly an hour. By the end of the fourth day, I was like, “Eff this! I’m OUT!” And thus spawned The First “Ya’ll Don’t Respect Me” Debacle of 2015.
The Ya’ll Don’t Respect Me Debacle was kicked off with a marathon of phone calls with friends spreading from the DMV to New York to try to make peace with why I felt so terribly misunderstood. But what awaited me on the other side of every phone call wasn’t a Synclaire James “Woo, woo, woo.”
More often then not my iron was being sharpened by friends who called me to the carpet and challenged me to look at the situation from another vantage point, take responsibility for my actions and my emotions, and recognize that my discomfort and anger weren’t punishment for any wrongdoing but a golden opportunity for me to learn.
Over the course of that week, I had one of my favorite big brothers in DC stop me in the middle of my ranting and say, “Leah, what is your COMMITMENT behind this complaint?” Another one of my favorite Maryland girls got super straight up with me and said, “Look, you are taking this way too seriously. Get off the phone, get you a glass of wine, and go to bed.” One of my new Brooklyn girlies was like, “That conversation was just a missed high five. You can’t fault yourself or the other person for not getting your intention.” And yet another great friend in New York called me at midnight and stayed on the phone with me until 2:30 am so that I left our conversation empowered and not defeated.
I realized how incredibly blessed I am to have friends that don’t pacify me and tell me what I want to hear. Having people treat me like a wounded, helpless five-year-old is the perfect condition for my iron to get rusty in the shed. Instead I now recognize the value of having outstanding human beings around me that sharpen my ability to listen more, be less reactive, take things less personally, accept constructive criticism, and stand tall into the woman I know that I am. My life only gets better when I am challenged to sharpen my iron with people who call me to aim higher, stand taller, and BE BETTER.
I’m still working through the process of The First “Y’all Don’t Respect Me Debacle” of 2015, and I’m really honored that I have razor-sharp irons in my life who are committed that I get to the other side of this experience with nothing less than absolute GREATNESS.