Reading WordPress Reader yesterday was helpful. I linked across to a new blogger (to me). In an article about remaining compassionate in the midst of turmoil I took inspiration for this re-work of an image from our trip last fall with our daughter to South Carolina. If you want to see the blog that triggered my thinking, here it is: Everyday Gurus! That blog also inspired part of this entry’s content.
I realized something about myself through that blog….
My middle name should be “Antecedent”
I’ve always been a problem solver. It’s who I am. Mostly, I solve problems was because those who preceded me failed to look for causes: antecedents. That which went before.
My co-workers (in those early years before I discovered self-employment) would get angry with me. They would schedule meetings at which little or nothing ever changed. Too often I’d sit through an entire meeting thinking about the first topic under consideration — also the first topic to be tabled till the next meeting. About the time the meeting was ending I would have worked through the details of the first agenda item, diagnosed the cause, formulated a solution and just when the boss wanted to gavel the meeting to a close I’d suggest returning to that first item….. (and at least we took that item off the agenda for the next meeting.)
The blog I referred to was about compassion. I don’t hear that word very often. But it reminded me of things I’ve forgotten. And of the fact that compassion is (at least in my mind) linked irreversibly to “Being.” It’s easy to lose compassion when we aren’t in touch with our own humanity. If we don’t see other people as unique personalities who hurt and laugh and ache then we don’t realize that we can, or have, hurt them. That happens for most of us when we are pressured, stressed, under duress. But the definition of compassion also includes a sense of superiority/judgment — that we have a right/ability to determine what is suffering or misfortune. As if we can decide what is good for them. Or what they need. Or should have. And sometimes when being compassionate we forget that someone else has the right to make their own decisions — good or bad — and that we don’t have the right to interfere with them being them.
COMPASSION: Sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others: “the victims should be treated with compassion”.
I came to realize that the antecedent in this housing delay is my pacifism. I believe in peace. At my absolute core is a dislike for anything confrontational.
Furthermore, I believe that people buy from people — a boss several decades ago taught me that and I believe it to this day…. we tend to connect with people in ways that we don’t connect with machines. (Whether that will still be true in 20 or 30 years with the insinuation of computers into our life has yet to be seen. Heck sometimes you can’t even get a hold of a human on a phone line anymore.) The point is that for millennia the decision to purchase has been a function of two people interacting between themselves.
Perhaps that dislike for confrontation is why I dislike lawyers: they presuppose that any two parties are at odds. It is an essential assumption of superiority. I realize now that my dislike for lawyers oozes over onto real estate agents too! Real estate people have a reputation for not wanting buyers and sellers to meet face to face. That is diametrically opposed to how I think.
I can see some of their reasoning. But only some.
Not everyone is honest. Sellers might say too much. Buyers might expect too much. One party might tick off the other party. If buyers and sellers talk all sorts of things could happen to screw up a sale. And we can’t forget that a salesman’s prime directive is in closing a sale, not in making friends. They may make friends as a side effect of good service but who likes a friendly real estate agent who can’t sell a house?
This old geezer (me) who genuinely likes people (in carefully controlled doses), believes that two people can work things out if they sit down together and talk things through. I want to sell the house and get a fair price. The buyer wants to buy the house at a fair price for what they are buying. There is nothing wrong with what either side wants. But show me any situation where two people who want to communicate — but are forced to do it through the interpretation of two additional people — will have an easier time understanding each other than they would if they just talked face to face. Somehow it just seems that adding people to that communication chain makes things harder.
I think that our two agents have finally figured that out. They now agree that the seller is acting in good faith (that’s us) and the buyer is acting in good faith. Hooray! A conversation today seems to have sorted through the remaining sticky details. We are willing. He is willing. We have two people who want to do a deal — I’m hopeful we can get this sorted.
Tomorrow we leave for Elkhart: to deliver Journey for her new floor and sofa — I’ll have to work on the sticking points next week. But we’ll do our best to get it twigged!
Twenty-Seven days till closing? Let’s hope so.