Have you ever met someone who was by nature a very pleasant person? They are well spoken, polite and kind in all they do. They are complimentary and remember to say “please” and “thank you.” When you leave that person, you have a sense of calm and well-being. You feel better for having been in their presence. It’s like the feeling you get when silk glides over your skin. It leaves you feeling somehow happy just to have experienced its softness.
In contrast, have you ever met someone who seems to be naturally negative, pessimistic and sour? They rarely have a positive word to say about anything or anyone. They are critical and can be harsh. If you are wrong, they will be the first to point it out! It’s as though sandpaper is being rubbed repeatedly over the most delicate part of your skin. You will avoid them at all cost.
We all know people who fit both descriptions, and if we are honest there are days when we could all fall into the “sandpaper” category! Most of us try to surround ourselves with “silk” people. They’re more fun, and they actually like us. They let us slide when we make mistakes, and praise us for every small accomplishment.
The problem is, we actually need the “sandpaper” folks in our lives too. I’m not suggesting we spend all our time with people who bring us down and drain us of our energy. What I am suggesting is that “sandpaper” people give us opportunities to build our character. They teach us tolerance. Often, they are the only ones in our lives who have the nerve to tell us the truth about ourselves. Sometimes they are strategically placed in our lives to help smooth out our rough edges.
Next time you encounter a “sandpaper” person, don’t run the other way. Take the time to listen, and really try to hear the message behind the gruffness. Maybe they are hurting. Maybe they need someone to care. Perhaps this is your opportunity to be that “silk” person they need. Remember, it takes both the “silk” and the “sandpaper” to polish us to perfection.