I Want To Be A Balcony Person

I Want to be a Balcony Person

A year or two ago, my friend, Suzanne and my sister, Anita recommended that I read a book by Joyce Landorf Heatherley, entitled Balcony People.  I finally bought the book and have read it through twice.   It is a small book, only about 60 pages but it contains a very powerful message.  It deals with two types of people in our life, Evaluators and Affirmers.  My personality and nature makes me a natural Evaluator.  I tend to immediately pinpoint the problem, and then offer solutions to fix the problem that make absolute sense to me.  It doesn’t matter if the solution seems totally foreign to the person I am evaluating.  I am convinced that if they will follow my sage advice their lives will improve and they will become a better person.

As I mature and realize life is not all about me, I have started observing and evaluating behavior in a totally different manner.  I have observed that one of the most important needs in a person’s life is affirmation.  We all need and desire to be affirmed.  Affirmation means what I do and say has value or meaning.  It means you acknowledge that my opinion is valid and worth consideration.  Too many times I have listened half-heartedly to an opinion, my mind distracted with the need to insert my own thoughts, which of course I feel are much more intelligent and well–thought out than what I am hearing.  Naturally, I expect the recipient of my wisdom to fall at my feet in awe that one person could utter such profundity.  Instead the person leaves feeling that once again their opinion was dismissed and probably wasn’t valid anyway.

How different the situation would be if I took the time to really listen what the person was saying.  I could still evaluate the content according to my set of core values and then express my views on the matter.  However this time, I would be acknowledging their insight, seeing the similarities, affirming their thoughtful opinion and preparing them to hear a different view and hopefully open their mind to consider new possibilities.

A Balcony Person is an Affirmer.  This person sees the positives that outweigh the negatives in every situation.  The Balcony Person emphasizes the positives and cheers you on toward them.  The Basement Person, on the other hand concentrates on where you went wrong and how it can be fixed.  In other words, the Balcony Person lifts you up while the Basement Person pulls you down.  Although it will take a lot of effort on my part, I am striving to become a Balcony Person.

I have been fortunate to have some Balcony People in my life.  The number one person in my Balcony is my husband Steve.  For 33 years he has been in the front row cheering me on.  Steve has always believed in me and encouraged me to grow and pursue my dreams.  Because of his support I was able to go to college and earn my degree.  When I felt like I didn’t have what it took to apply for certain jobs, I heard him whispering “If anyone can do it, you can.  Go for it.”  Last night, he sat quietly supporting me as I taught a Bible Study Series to a church group.  You see, Balcony People, do not feel threatened by your success.  I want to be a Balcony Person.

God has strategically placed other Balcony People along the path that have urged me on, cheered my victories and offered a helping hand as I sat mortified in the midst of my failures.  Some of these Balcony People have been put there for a short time or on a temporary, as needed basis.  Others have walked beside me every step along the path of life.  I want to be a Balcony Person in someone’s life.  I can think of nothing I would want someone to say at my funeral than, “She loved me, saw my positives, cheered me on and was one of my Balcony People.”

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