All of us can feel when we are super happy, grumpy, angry or frustrated. We go so far as to characterize our day based on this type of generalization. What is much harder to see is how we act towards or with everyone we come in contact with throughout our day.
Everyone says feedback is good. It may be, but not in the moment. Reflection is what makes feedback effective. There is no time to reflect while we interact with others.
The dynamic nature of our interactions with others, especially when they are brief, gives us many opportunities for misteps and mis-interpretations that were not really intended.
Was I truthful in my answer to someone or guarded? Did my tone seem short and impatient or was it soothing and interested? What you said, did I fully understand or simply jump to a conclusion that you did not intend? My regret is that I did not ask more questions to better understand what you were telling or asking me. And so on………..
Compound this with what I need to accomplish may be different than what you need to today. So I understandably look at things differently but never stop to think that you might not. Collissions occurring without ever seeing ourselves in a mirror. Our famous excuse of “no time” is both expedient and common. Giving us forgiveness without realizing the need for reflection to improve.
Our mood may be different today than last week. As a result I could anwer your questions differently depending on the day. If I am happy I will be more joyful and optimistic. Stressed and I will try to share this pressure with you. Different answers with different nuance most likely will be the result.
Was somone with us when you asked the question? Most likely I did not want the third person in this conversation to hear all of my answer. So you will only hear bits leaving you less informed even though your question was a good one. Did I just finish a call full of bad updates and now I need to quickly shift gears to answer your question or discuss an issue that is important to you? I will but most likely my mind will be elsewhere focused on my last call. Making my attention and value in answering your question suspect without you even knowing it.
All this uneveness and we don’t even know it. It’s not only us, but it’s the same for every person we come in contact with during our day. The messiness of life. What joy we create in exploring our own individuality. Sadly, thinking we are the same every day when we are not. Never stopping to judge how well we are interacting with others by exposing our imperfections through reflection.
Forgetting the responsibility we have to be respectful and thoughful with each new conversation or query we encounter. Too often allowing our moods, biases, attitudes, pressures and beliefs to bend what we are about to say or what we heard others say. Often leading us astray.
Listening takes on a much great importance given all of our imperfection — on both sides. Demanding us to explore better – understanding seeking clarity – before adding value to each of our conversations throughout our day.