The Gift of People

Hello, my people! My own community in whom I am well pleased and honored. Big smile and e-hugs!

How was the last week for you? Let me tell you a bit about mine. So, in the spirit of identifying opportunities as shared few posts ago and maximizing them; I took a road trip back to my secondary school, which is in Ota, Ogun State to facilitate a session for the graduating class. Now, all things being equal, this trip should have taken about two hours. Alas, it took us 4 hours! I left my home at 7:05am and didn’t arrive at the destination until a few minutes after 11am. Don’t ask how long it took us to get back home. Our behinds were sore from sitting and we were exhausted from the traffic, and dynamic road adventures but that’s a story for another day. As I write this, it’s 60 years of my country’s independence and despite the challenges, I choose to remain positive. I believe in you Nigeria, and I’m honestly proud of the resilient and tenacious nature of the Nigerian spirit!

Despite the arduous journey, there were so many blessings in this experience. One of which was connecting with a classmate who I hadn’t seen or spoken within fifteen years. We rode together and had interesting conversations that I wouldn’t trade for anything. On the same day, as I sat with my best bud (my husband, wink) we started talking about “purposeful relationships” and the benefits we had enjoyed from them. These two conversations sparked this week’s blog post.

As the term goes, I am consistently reminded that “people are gifts”! I know that some of you may not completely agree for several reasons. Perhaps you’ve had challenging relationships with people in your life, feel like people are consistently taking from you and not giving back, are overburdened with those you nurture, etc. While these are valid reasons to doubt this concept, if you honestly reflect on your life, I want to believe you would find at least one instance of a person who has helped you in some way. Think of it as that one silver lining during the respective challenges you’ve had.

You see, I’m quite introverted, so for a long time, I used to say I didn’t like people. Well, I’m still not the most extroverted kid on the block but I find that I love good conversations and good company; both of which are impossible to have without people. Now, if you throw good food into the mix, you have my heart! I’m sold! Realizing this, I started to ask myself why I ever thought I didn’t like people and I found that I had experienced some unhealthy relationships earlier in my life that significantly impacted my perception of people and the terms of relationships. After identifying the root cause, I intentionally started making effort to acquire new knowledge on relationships and rapidly test them. I found the result surprising but exhilarating.

I found out the following:

  1. Not everyone would like me – and that is okay.
  2. Not everyone would understand me – and that’s also okay.
  3. Not everyone would agree with me – and I had to be okay with that.
  4. I wasn’t wired to do life alone. God created me for community.
  5. I needed to be more accessible. I couldn’t stay in my corner to build relationships.
  6. I didn’t need to be validated at every turn. I needed to deal with that!
  7. I didn’t need to fit in. That was liberating.
  8. I am loved unconditionally by God and certain people. That is reassuring.
  9. It is my responsibility to decide the span and boundaries of each relationship. Without this, there would be “scope crepe” – unrealistic expectations and unnecessary hurts.
  10. Everyone has their own tribe – i.e. people who would value and appreciate them. Another liberating discovery.
  11. Some relationships are tenured, they will churn in respective seasons – and that was okay. That gave me peace.
  12. Relationships can evolve. They can change and be repurposed. Light!
  13. Relationships take time and thrive on trust. Be patient!
  14. Understand the nature and purpose of each relationship, so it’s not abused. Not everyone is to be “my friend”.
  15. Relationships thrive on value. No value, no relationship. Simple and short.

With these nuggets in mind, I had new lenses to view relationships through and what did I see – people are gifts – shiny precious stones way better than rubies and diamonds! In the past year, I cannot count the blessings and benefits I’ve enjoyed from being intentional with relationships. Let me try to just outline a few: new clients from referrals, new partnerships, and collaborations making it seamless to achieve my goals, access to networks, new knowledge, new opportunities for respective expressions of my life, mentors, teachers, encouragers, volunteers, and support systems, etc. The list is endless! I have taken on new projects that I have had professionals guide and assist me without any fees on the back of relationships. It’s amazing!

The truth is, “there is value in everyone”. The nature, expression, and level of it will differ from person to person; but it’s our responsibility to adequately spot the value, cultivate it, appreciate it, and celebrate it; all before we can exchange value. No one would exchange value for rubbish; so, if you don’t see the value in someone, it would be difficult for you to even engage with them. The mindset that underpins this truth is simple – every human being is an extension and expression of God. If my Father made them, there is good in them.

This value exchange process starts with a heart of love and a discerning spirit. If you see people only in their current state, you’ll miss out on all they are, and even can be. No one is a finished product; we are all work in progress. Also, so many things may be colouring their responses and your reactions when you meet each other for the first time. So, be patient, be kind, be sincere, and be true. It takes time, intentional effort, and consistency. After all, you don’t build a bridge just before you need to go over it, do you? That’s the same way it works with people. Nehemiah in the Bible is a great example to us of people relationships. Please check out the book of Nehemiah. I’ll also try to share some more about him on our Instagram page this week; so follow us @gro.wingtogether.

One thing that often discourages us when we start out with the value mindset and engagement is that we sometimes don’t get back the value we give. Sometimes, you may invest time and resources cultivating a relationship expecting a certain kind of return and that’s not what you get. It’s painful but it’s okay. You can reap your rich reward in another relationship. Don’t focus on what you can receive; people usually know when you’re in it for what you can get, and when they are being “buttered up”. I heard this recently and it stuck – The Bible doesn’t say you reap where you sow, it says you reap what you sow. Focus on lavishly giving the love that God has so graciously given to you knowing that everyone is an extension of Him, have value to give, and are gifts – without allowing for scope crepe.

Cherish the people in your life! Let this thought guide your engagements this week – people are gifts!

Never forget;

Share Post :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *