Blog 13 The Things we want in others

Over the past few weeks I have been returning again and again to a common theme. As I look at the people we serve at Elegant, I watch individuals struggle to get the things they desperately need from us. Yet it has become more and more clear that what they want and need is love. How do we provide something so precious?
Among other things our program strives to get people working and make them productive members of society. In order for this to happen, we must go through the process of talking to employers about the benefits of hiring our individuals. Meanwhile we are working to build better relationships with local employers to overcome ignorance surrounding what people with disabilities can do. More importantly we strive to develop a strong sense of commitment from the individuals we are attempting to place. In most cases, due to mental illness, we are not able to get full work days from them. Yet we must keep going, getting better job coaches for them, along with many other things they need. But in reality, we are all working for the common goal of employment, independence, and of course, fulfilled promise. A critical missing element is often that we need to find a better way to achieve success. It is not just a good resume, better training, or improved job coaching methods. We must assess what our individuals really need to succeed.
For example, we have an individual who came to our program who works hard, inside or outside. Most individuals have a preference. And she is willing to do almost any work. But as good as she is, to find employment for her we need to do something different. We need to focus on what SHE needs. What she needs is love, to feel a sense of belonging. We all need that feeling as much as she does. However, sometimes she swims through a world where others have no idea how to give love and are themselves struggling with a sense of belonging. So how do they provide that necessary love? We all need to look deep within ourselves and recognize what is missing within us to fulfill ourselves and be able to find the love that is so necessary for success in what we do.
I really understand this dilemma. I have searched my whole life for many things and, more often than I like to admit, I have been let down. If you are never taught how to love, how do you love deeply? Unless we are able to find fulfillment ourselves by truly loving ourselves, we do not have the capacity to love others. Certainly not in the way our individuals need.
So maybe we are all looking to be saved by someone, or something. The toughest part is that we are the only ones who can save ourselves and be free to truly give love to others. So, sometimes what you want to give is something that you do not possess. When you hear a person say, I need trust, I need loyalty, I need love, I need intimacy, a little reflection may be in order to look within yourself and see if you possess those qualities yourself. They may not be there no matter how badly you want them. So I advise you to go back and nurture your soul. Then 2016 can be a year where you find the happiness and love you need to help and nurture others.

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