I often hear people complain about other people. Both in personal, as well as, organizational conversations. These conversations focus primarily on the person rather than the issue.
“They did this or they didn’t do that.” “They are so dumb.” “I couldn’t believe they said this.” “I told them a hundred times but they did not listen.” “They are wrong.” “It’s because of them that I failed.”
The imagery in my mind that occurs is that of quicksand, when it comes to becoming entangled by personality. Conversations and situations rarely go “anywhere” when we spend hours talking (and complaining) about personalities.
They take on a life larger than themselves when we focus on the quirks of others and why we believe they are roadblocks to our progress. Both persons injure each other when doing this. Great harm occurs because it shuts down listening. We and they become more defensive and less trusting of each other.
No resolution or breakthrough of substance will ever occur when we make the mistake of making things personal. Our emotions always get in the way of our judgment when this happens.
I have found that we have a much better chance of moving in a positive direction when we raise our conversation above personality and into the world of issues. The pros and cons of our actions are not to be debated by what I or you did but rather we should ask what effect our actions had and were the results the ones we expected.
Telling me that the result of my actions did not yield a good result is much different than telling me “I told you so, you are the reason we find ourselves in this mess”. This declaration comes across as “I am mad at you”. Being mad at me is ok, but look how it stops us from exploring what we should do next.
So many times I have seen groups waste so much time on blaming each other. I have seen so many friends, stuck in messes, because all they do is continually complain and blame.
Don’t continue to make the same mistake over again. Embrace the differences in each other’s humanity that make up who we are and is described as our “personality”. Accept each other for who we are, with our weaknesses, and stop complaining about who we are not.
And continue to raise each of our conversations above “personality” for a more productive, engaging, and interesting life.