I’m on holiday in Thailand as I write this. I’ve been out for an early morning walk on the beach with my husband. Each time we do this, we remark on how the tide has swept the sand around since yesterday. Each day the beach looks slightly different.
There is also a stream running down to the beach. The place where it joins the sea is the area most affected by the tide. Water rolls the sand into deep gulleys until suddenly one breaks and blocks the flow. The water finds a new path and carries on.
In this way sea and sand reshape each other every day.
And it got me thinking. It’s actually through interaction with others that we reshape ourselves. Being part of a team, being in a relationship, working closely with others, that’s what generates our greatest personal growth. Sitting alone and contemplating our beliefs, values, behaviour, experiences and emotions is all very well, it provides us with insight and self-awareness. But it’s interacting with other people that moves us forward in our development.
Think about it, when have you made a breakthrough in your own development that had nothing to do with anyone else? Often it’s our relationships with others that motivate us to learn something new, address a problem or try a different approach. Frequently, other people are involved in the learning process with us. And when we put our new skills into practice, it’s the feedback we get from others that lets us know how well we’re doing. People don’t always know they’re giving feedback, mostly they’re just responding to what you do.
So, enjoy your interaction with other people. They are helping you to learn and develop as a person. Even the tricky situations. No, especially the tricky situations involving other people are an invitation to raise your game and discover something new about yourself.
Just as sand and sea shape each other, we are all shaping each other every day.