Updated: Oct 10, 2021
Pouring Into Others What They've Poured Into You
The spring days have begun humming with the still, warmth of summer. Dandelions invade the flat fields, filling in the void between the yellow, red, blue of the flora. The chirping has grown familiar around me; birds have made a home within the fruitful trees, they dip in and out of my crops, and nest between its shrubbery. The grueling labor of planting has transitioned to a joyful gathering of a long awaited harvest-- I have constructed an ecosystem. Like my crops, nature is drawn to equilibrium: I have worked, so now I receive; but, now that I have received I must give back. Back to the people that have helped me along the way, offered grace and encouragement. Remind the ecosystem, the community that I have toiled for, why they support me and celebrate my victories together.
Fulfillment has a way of sweeping people up; of taking them out of the moment with excitement, overwhelming the logistics of success. It is dreadfully easy to get wrapped up in the satisfaction and relief of completing a big project, especially in observing the emotional growth made through the process. Yet, losing sight of how you got there, and with who, is far more threatening than any endeavour faced thus far. Think about how you build up your friends, colleagues, family members; the way in which you urge them towards their goals regardless of the circumstances: you worry with them, you hurt with them, problem-solve and strategize together. So, recognize how imperative it is to remember to share the good with them as well. Consider how much energy it takes to uplift others, to show up for others amidst your own crises and obligations. The relationships you have developed throughout this journey require fulfillment too; they must be tended to and given back all the love you have taken from them.
While the parallels between relationship management and planting are abundant, the metaphor must be put aside momentarily because, unlike your relationship with nature, your relationships with people have two sides: your friends, family, colleagues have a life of their own. The wind will blow whether you’re there to feel it or not; but, the people in your life stop their own to support yours. Now, it is all fair and good to remember that this is an active choice on their part. Your achievements and ambitions are deserving of support, and thus, will continue without any support at all; yet, that does not grant an omission of gratitude for the people around you that work to make your dreams a reality. Be thankful for them and show it.
Implementing this appreciation into how you interact with your support system does not have to amount to gifts or verbal recognition; the means of incorporating thankfulness through relationship management are copious. Being open to their ideas or feedback, acknowledging their feelings, explaining your decisions, and working in conjunction with their circumstances are all strategies that promote a healthy, mutualistic relationship. Not only will these methods strengthen your relationship management skills, but they will show your support system that you care as much for them as they do for you and your dreams.
Most people with a support system can understand what it means to support others; if anything, we are all a support system for someone in some way. This perspective of relationships accentuates the necessity of appreciation because it is all what we want in supporting others: to celebrate the victories, to be considered in decisions that impact us, for our lives to be prioritized too. It is not selfish to want acknowledgement for the support you give; it’s human and it’s how all relationships operate-- with a give and take. I know that I would not be as successful as I have been in new ventures without the dedication and consideration of the people in my support system. Showing gratitude is something I struggle with; I am not great with communication, expressing myself and my needs; but it isn’t something to just give up on. A failure on your part does not, and should not, constitute any future attempts as failures. It’s never too late to show the people that love you some love, and it’s never too late to grow and give back.
With an emphasis on human emotion, memory, and reliving experience, Nubia is a Chicago-based short, fiction writer. As a working-class, black woman their life experiences within hegemonic academia have informed their writing, pushing their interests towards the representation of the Other while capturing the varying perspectives of those deemed unworthy of empathy. Follow her on instagram @nubiapharah