A few months ago, my husband and I had an all night visitor in our house from one of nature’s finest creature – a bird! We did not realize that behind our wreath on the front door that we had a nest full of future birds.
After 30 minutes of back and forth disagreements about the best way to get the bird out of our house, we were nowhere near a successful outcome. Victoria, our 20-month old daughter, kept laughing and pointing up in the air as the bird was flying from one room to the next saying, “Mommy, look a bird!”
After reviewing Dr. Google for best ways to get a bird out of your house, we decided to leave our front door wide open with our lights off while hoping the bird would leave before bed. Unfortunately, at bedtime, the bird was still in the house. We decided to leave the door open all night thinking that eventually, the bird would fly out of the house. Victoria’s room was about 10 feet from our front door, and I immediately started to imagine all sorts of scary monsters, robbers or terrible things that could go wrong with our front door remaining wide open all night. So, I decided to camp out on the couch for the night.
I lay on the couch staring at a bird in our entryway chandelier; and the bird stared at me. We had a mom to mom stare down.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to do if a one-eyed purple evil scary monster came through the front door. We continued our stare down.
I did not understand why the bird would not fly 2 feet to be with her nest. All of our problems would be solved if she would only just take this small action. It was the perfect solution – what was she waiting for – come on mamma bird!
It was then that I realized how many people watch their friends, family or co-workers and have ideas of a perfect solution based on what can be seen in front of our eyes or what we have experienced in life.
It is easy for us to lay out a road-map or a decision for someone else and expect immediate agreement or alignment. How much harder it is to stop, ask questions, listen and to understand what is really driving a person’s decision making or behavior?
The bird probably didn’t want to move because I was a threat to her future babies and she didn’t want to give up their location. Or a host of many other reasons. The solution couldn’t have been that simple or Dr. Google would have returned only one website link for ‘how to remove a bird from your house.’
Sometimes what we see isn’t all there is – relationships, jobs, family, and friends come with effort, and require many conditions to be happy and healthy. Each deserve consideration and support before deciding for someone else a perfect solution.
A quote I reference when talking about understanding another person’s situation is: “Empathy is trying on someone else’s shoes. Sympathy is wearing them.” – Anonymous
Maybe…just maybe…we should all be a little less quick with advice and do more listening, more being there and find out what is really going on in someone’s life to understand and ask how you can help when someone appears to be stuck!