WordFood - how we feed or starve our realtionships

- Julia Hubbel

Julia’s ability to get this group of type-A executives to engage in true networking was incredible. She is truly skilled at motivating the group to engage and interact with each other, and her openness and honesty really come through.

— Shelley Stewart, Jr.,
Senior Vice President of Operational Excellence and Chief Procurement Officer, Tyco

December 18, 2012

WordFood of Truth

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Julia Hubbel @ 10:27 am

Last week at a lunch with a long term dear friend and mentor, something truly significant happened between us that was long overdue. We’ve known each other for more than thirty years, and she is in her nineties now. This is a woman I hold in the highest regard, someone I try to emulate in many ways. She is a lifetime athlete, and her no nonsense approach to healthcare and her brain have ensured that she is active and engaged at a time when most people are sitting in a wheelchair and given up on life. In fact, this past year she got involved in a brand new nanotech company- quite a statement for someone in her ninth decade.

As we sat together, she made an offhanded comment that was quite cruel in its impact. In fact it hurt me so much that I broke into tears. The implication of her words made it clear that she had no idea of how much I invested in our relationship, how important she was to me, and the regard I had for her.

In many cases, we run for the bathroom, take care of business, get things under control and finish lunch. Don’t talk about it because it’s just too hard. In this case the remark hurt so much that I found myself crying hard – but I stayed at the table. My friend didn’t quite know what to make of it. What happened, once I was able, was that I told her. And there ensued the kind of honest, heartfelt exchange that simply doesn’t happen often enough between people.

This woman and I don’t see each other often, and while I’ve tried hard to communicate my feelings and respect, it apparently landed on deaf ears. Until her unkind remark, she simply didn’t understand her importance in my life. The impact her words and advice had on me. While it clearly made her uncomfortable to hear what I had to say, it opened a door between us when I explained that I recognized that the time we had was short and that was the reason I was scheduling a monthly lunch to make sure we had exchanges. I took nothing for granted any more. She sees things very differently now, and it means a great deal to her.

Sometimes it takes a moment of real emotional discomfort to create the kind deep connection that we truly want. It’s never too late. Had I left the table, “gotten myself under control” and not said what I truly felt, this woman and I would not have moved to where we are now.

True emotions are frightening, terrifying, hair raising. But like any rollercoaster, ultimately they take us somewhere, often to a greater understanding. When we feed each other WordFood of truth, how we truly feel, without accusation or anger, we reach another shoreline. It may be a new land, but it is often the land we’ve always wanted to live in with this person. Certainly for me with this wonderful woman it was worth the deep discomfort of sitting with my tears and speaking the truth to her. Having her understand my deep and abiding love for her was an extraordinary Christmas gift for us both.

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