I recently took care of one of my grand dogs for a few hours. My daughter and son-in-law only needed me to check on him, but he likes to play with my pup, and I thought he might be alone for too long after they had recently been gone several days, so I picked him up to hang out with me at my house.
He gets super excited to see me, but when it’s just him and me, he settles in quickly. He played with my pup for a while, then we went inside to watch a movie. He paced for a bit, looking out the window often to check on my pup. I tried to make sure he had just a couple things he was familiar with to help him settle in and be comfortable. It didn’t take him long.
He reminded me of how important it is to find some familiar, comfortable things when we build relationships or reconcile with people. We’ll have some struggles, challenges, worries, and anxieties. We won’t always feel comfortable, but we can help put each other at ease by considering not what makes us most comfortable but what is helpful for the other person.
It seems like common sense, the basics of hospitality, but common sense is not so common anymore.
Instead of focusing on your own comfort so much, consider someone else’s. What does someone need in order to heal or work through a relationship challenge with you? Be humble and honest enough to go there with them. What does someone need in order to take a step toward seeing the truth of a situation? Step there with them. What does someone need in order to feel as if they belong? Shift enough to sit with them in that place even if you know you’ll need to shift again soon.
Finding some comfort isn’t just about yourself. It’s about others, too.