Recently, I experienced a particularly trying week, ridden with a disrespectful enquiry, customer service operators who could have done better and the passing of an old friend, amongst other things.
The amazing thing was, even as I went through the week, the opportunity to tutor some NUS students in the art of interpersonal communication gave me the platform to process and share my reflection on the various experiences.
I told them about how a customer would see and expect things (e.g. enjoyment, problem-resolution) when a student shared about his internship's customer-related experience. When exploring if facial expressions can be managed, I shared on how we need to give ourselves time to sit with our true emotions after putting up a professional front in the day so as not to choke up our system. I cautioned them against taking personally someone who is a vulture and exhorted them to be an upper in their lives to others (c.f. Julia Woods of "Communication Mosaics"). At the end of the day, my hope for them is to be able to see things from the other party's perspective and to be an uplifting presence to people around them.
The week's proceedings also allowed me to see how I can work on the social enterprise further. Handling a particular enquiry made me realise as much as we seek to serve our customers well, we do not have to allow ourselves to be abused. Encountering a certain situation helped me to see I need to set some healthy boundaries in what I can do for a client. This is especially hard for me, as I don't see the relationship as transactional, but transformational, in that I desire that the product will make the lady feel better about herself than before.
I'm thankful for the space and time to recover from the week, the presence and listening ears of close ones and how sewing heals me too. Dear friends, let's continue to mine the good in what we go through and grow stronger and wiser through it all.