Relationships, personal and organizational, are the currency of life. They are both comforting and confusing at times. They are fueled by conversation. In conversation sometimes we hide who we are, other times we share who we are. But we rarely ask how well did we listen? How well did we understand what was said?
Did you ever stop to think
that everyone’s experiences are so different….even yours and mine?
We will understand things differently when the same words are spoken. We can’t help but see the world differently because we have experienced the world (our lives) in different ways. So conversation may not always lead to communication.
Conversation is difficult because it involves more than ourselves.
For something to be communicated well in conversation, we need to care and think about the other person. Did they understand? How well did I listen?
Do we stop to listen long enough to the other person to clearly understand their confusion before we decide what words to share that might help them?
We don’t seem to take the other person into account many times when we email or tweet our thoughts or feelings. Why is that? (Could it be that they are not truly conversations?)
Interacting with others is necessary in order to grow as a person. There is good in the fact that the other person has had different experiences than we have had. Always seek out people with different experiences than yours to learn more about yourself and how your circumstances could change and improve given their perspective and their life experiences.
Be we must be patient in this process. It takes time to become a good listener. It takes time to be confident enough to show others that we are confused. Be prepared, for what we are told may even hurt even when it could very well be most helpful.
Be cautious, though, when we rush to take in thoughts and ideas as if they are always truths. Truths given to us may not always be helpful. Their certainty sometimes blinds us. Their emphasis sometimes deceives us. Their timing may no longer be relevant. And the limitations, biases and imperfections of the speaker (that we don’t understand) may make a truth given to us somewhat “off-target” without us ever realizing it.
Test the truths in conversations with others. Live the truths given to us in small steps to confirm their value. Change really does happen more slowly than we would like!
Do we ever take enough time to stop and reflect on a truth given to us to see
“if it fits” where we are or where we are going
before lunging at every truth we are given?